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DigitaLee 12: Poetry vs Prose

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DigitaLee 12: Poetry vs Prose

This week on DigitaLee, David Shifrin and Lee Aase talk about a potential reset in the startup economy, some of the digital apps and therapeutics that are making care more efficient regardless of the economic outlook, and then notes for healthcare provider organizations looking to implement or partner with those digital health tools.

Listen and subscribe to the podcast, or read the transcript below.

Read the Transcript

David Shifrin: Well, it’s no surprise to anybody that we are likely, or at least potentially, staring down the barrel of an economic downturn, possibly recession. And that has huge implications for everybody, of course, but also the investment community because when money is cheap, when interest rates are low, it’s easier to invest. And so there’s an interesting article in Fierce Healthcare titled “Here’s why some VC investors say an economic downturn can be good for digital health.” The general point of this article is that when it’s harder to build something, better things will get built. It’s the cheap and easy stuff isn’t as likely to be built. And so I think it’s exciting and also challenging because it means that innovators and entrepreneurs and startup founders and all the rest, people who are looking to make change, they’ve got to work harder and really find that product market fit, make sure it’s sustainable and all that. But talk a little bit about, you’ve got so much experience in the startup world as well as the digital world. What do you think about this idea that a downturn may be helpful in resetting the market?

Lee Aase: Yeah. Oh I think it’s, I think it’s right on because it really does impose a discipline on the startups to be having a product that people are willing to pay for that is meeting a real need that they’re eager to have. And it’s not just built on fluff and hope and hype, given what the project that I’m personally involved in right now, we’re focused on providing real value to patients. And as I look at it, we have concerns about a downturn, but we’re also saying, if you’re a low cost provider of a good service in a down economy, that actually creates big opportunity.

Because if you’re able to do that and then to scale, that’s meeting a real need, people will need healthcare, they will need health-related services. That’ll be something they’ll be likely to prioritize.

And what’s remaining to be spent after the doubling of gas prices and all is something that will be probably disproportionately skewed toward healthcare. But so then it makes the value delivery proposition really all that much more important.

You know, you don’t want a downturn, you’d rather, you’d prefer there not be. But given that’s a reality, and I think it’s everybody’s pretty much saying it’s a foregone conclusion that this is going to happen, so you might as well embrace that and understand what the new terrain’s going to be like.

And that really is putting constraints on an enterprise, causes it to need to be much more resourceful and need to make sure that everything you’re doing is contributing toward value for the customer. And it’s like in poetry versus just prose, okay? Poetry puts a limitation on it, and that’s why poetry and music, songs, can be much more meaningful is because it sets rules around you, that in terms of how you have to present your thoughts and your ideas versus rambling on a podcast like this.

David Shifrin: That’s so interesting because somebody I was talking to a couple weeks ago used a similar analogy. He was actually talking about a wedding toast that he had heard, and he made the point about the difference between being contained or having a container, rather than a cage. And those can seem very similar, but they’re not. And the guy I was talking to referenced it and said it’s like poetry and prose.

Lee Aase: Yeah I mean, I’m about to have the sixth of my children get married at the end of July. And what I’ve done for the others is that the father of the bride, father of the groom always, often, gives a toast or gives a speech. I’ve always done a poem, you know, it shows some thought going into it and a caring, actually, about – not to hammer on anybody who doesn’t do poetry in their wedding toast – but it’s just a way of showing that, yeah, I spent some time thinking about this and so I think it’s that same way with an enterprise that those kind of constraints, those rules and the rules of cash flow, as well as profitability, are things that impose a discipline that will, that can be very constructive.

David Shifrin: So let’s focus specifically then, Lee, on some areas where it does seem that there’s great value. And you’re talking about being able to deliver care more efficiently and cost effectively.

And so as you and I were prepping for this, bouncing some articles back and forth about the rising value of digital therapeutics and mental health apps, and then you also sent over a couple of ideas around digital diabetes treatments.

Lee Aase: Yeah. Well, when you’re talking about the things that affect the healthcare system, diabetes and diabetes related illnesses are just massive in terms of the impact on mortality, on morbidity, on just the finances of the healthcare system. And so Virta health is one of those startups based out of San Francisco.

And they’ve had about 50% of their patients be able to reduce or eliminate medications and get blood sugar normalization through dietary intervention, but it’s a real, it’s a high touch by high tech kind of approach. At Indiana University, Dr. Sarah Halberg led the research on this, where they did, it’s not a randomized control trial, but it was a targeted intervention where they were able to take patients who had type 2 diabetes give them this app-based interaction where they’re getting coaching and support from professionals who are able to help them in the behavior change, and to give them advice and help them to make these changes. And when you look at the amount of money that’s being spent on diabetes, medications and complications of diabetes, there’s a reason why I think the last I saw was that the market valuation for Virta health was $2 billion.

And so it’s all…the point is there’s a lot of opportunity there and that’s one in particular that I’ve seen. is another really interesting one. It’s more on the…the idea behind it is providing a way for people who are interested in blood sugar control, interested in their metabolic health, to be able to get a continuous glucose monitor, which ordinarily is only prescribed for people with diabetes as a way of monitoring their blood sugar day to day.

But a lot of people are becoming convinced type 2 diabetes doesn’t happen overnight. And by understanding better how our bodies react to different kinds of foods, we can maintain better blood sugar control for a lifetime and avoid the type 2 diabetes.

David Shifrin: So it becomes proactive rather than responsive.

Lee Aase: And there’s a, they’ve set up really an elegant platform.

A couple weeks ago that I went and signed up on their site, they have a waiting list. Okay, you sign up and you’re on a waiting list, which seems really weird for a company that’s selling the ability to have continuous glucose monitors, but then I think the point of that is that it’s membership based. So there’s a couple hundred dollars annual membership fee for this, then you go through a health questionnaire and then they do have a physician or medical licensed medical professional who’s able to prescribe a continuous glucose monitor. And anyway, I just got notification that my unit is shipped and I’m going to get to use it, but they did a really…I think there’s some interesting parts of this, by having the waiting list, it does create a scarcity sort of a feel. Also helps them monitor or make sure that they can manage a really good experience, that they’re not going to get overwhelmed with it.

David Shifrin: Just considering what we were talking about earlier, I mean, if you’re going to do this, you’ve got to do it, you can’t just pull in a bunch of money and then grow and then realize that you can’t sustain it. This has to be done well.

Lee Aase: Yeah. And then I think the other part of it is, by creating that scarcity, once you sign up, then you’re on their list and you get emails, and they get educated about it. Because I could see how some people might have misgivings at first when they say, oh, there’s a membership and that’s before I even get a CGM. And so giving people a little time for it to marinate a little bit is like a sales funnel, an extended sales funnel, for this that is creating an aware, a better understanding of the model and how their system works. So by the time, you know, it was like last week I got the email saying you have a chance to actually get into this, now you can get off the waiting list and get into it. And I was ready to do it, but I also wanted to experience what this platform was like.

So that I could have a better understanding of what’s happening in these in these startups and how they are. Really I think it’s a really interesting way, and we’ll have a really high impact on people being able to take charge of their own health.

David Shifrin: Yeah. And again, so much of this and so much of digital therapeutics and digital health in general is avoiding problems before they become problems. and that lowers costs down the road. That improves the economic balance in healthcare and society in general, so it makes a ton of sense.

So then Lee, as you think about a potential reset in the market and providers of all types are always looking to partner implement new software solutions, digital options, to improve care delivery all the rest, what does the process look like for that right now to make sure that you’re improving the patient experience and delivery of care, keeping costs down and frankly, picking a solution that’s not going to vaporize in two weeks because they ran out of money?

Lee Aase: Yeah. So I think it’s important for the clinical folks to be really bought in on “this is something that will be good for patients.” This really makes sense, from the patient care perspective or from the prevention perspective that this is something that they believe in.

And then being able to evaluate it in the context of so what are the costs of this? Is this going to add to us being able to provide this kind of care? Where can it save us money and some of the other things that we’re doing that will enable us to deliver a better value?

And then yeah, right, looking at the financial situation with the company itself and saying, does this model look like something that is not going to be gone tomorrow? That it’s something that if we’re going to go to market with it with our patients, that this is something that’ll stand the test of time, or at least make it as far as we can tell. Like stand the test of time sounds way…first of all, it’s a cliche story about that. But that it will stand the test of the current turbulence. And that this is a company that is likely to be able to sustain the value and sustain the services to our patient.

David Shifrin: Cool. Thanks, Lee.

Lee Aase: Thank you. I always love this.

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DigitaLee 11: Crypto Scams on LinkedIn and Tracking Pixels on Hospital Websites

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This week on DigitaLee, David Shifrin and Lee Aase talk about digital security in two forms. First, the general trend of hackers and scam artists constantly finding new ways to snag your info…and money. These days it’s a cryptocurrency scam on LinkedIn costing people tens of thousands of dollars. The second thing is the recent news that many hospitals have tracking pixels placed not just on their websites but on their patient portals. That’s bad news and a bad look when it comes to healthcare marketing and, most importantly, patient privacy.

Listen and subscribe to the podcast, or read the transcript below.

Read the Transcript

David Shifrin: All right. So a brand new topic today, Lee, something that nobody has ever talked about before, ever. We were digging under rocks and found this. No, it’s not true. I wish it was true, but it’s not. Conversation today about cybersecurity and protecting our own personal information, and this really started with an article that we found – I think it’s from CNBC – talking about a LinkedIn scam where people are creating fake profiles and then pulling people into cryptocurrency scams while they pose as financial advisors and bilking people out of a lot of money.

So that kind of raised the issue of you always have to be wary about what you’re dealing with online, and then led into sort of a wider conversation about just personal information online in general, which brought up this other new problem that has been revealed recently, where tracking pixels have been placed on not just hospital websites, but in some cases on patient portals. And that is allowing for the transfer, the sale of private health information and other personal information from patients to be sold.

Lee Aase: Yeah. the LinkedIn article – the article about using fraud on LinkedIn, people setting up fake accounts and enticing others into investing in cryptocurrency – and then the story the one person featured was that that they had been directed into, a reputable site, and then building that relationship and then over time having it being migrated or being encouraged to migrate into another site owned by the other, by the bad guy. So I think it’s just good for us to know that people who are wanting to do us ill are restless. Restless. They do not rest and they’re very eager to exploit opportunities.

I see it all the time with text messages that I get saying “an AT&T message: your bill has been paid and please accept your gift” with a link to click, there’s all sorts of just shady things like that are happening. And just I guess eternal vigilance is the price of liberty, as the old saying goes, or the price of yeah, economic liberty. Because the person in this particular case had lost $280,000, had been swindled out of that. And I guess what we’re seeing with these digital platforms is just a lot more opportunity for people to have a broader, for the bad guys to have a broader range, broader scope in terms of an audience that they can try to exploit.

DS: What’s interesting about that article too, I thought, was that it highlighted that LinkedIn is a good place to scam people because people look at LinkedIn as a relatively safe professional place to go. And I think your point is exactly right. They just have to be wary and can’t, frankly, can’t trust anything.

LA: Yeah. They also post that they work at a given institution or for a given company. And there isn’t any verification of that. That’s they’re alleging that. And I’ve had that back before, in my days working with Mayo Clinic, somebody would say they were a Mayo Clinic employee, and they were reaching out to me, and I’d look them up in the directory, in our online directory, employee directory to say, so is this even really a…I don’t recognize this person, is this a Mayo person? But it’s so easy to just say, oh this is somebody who works with me. Yeah, I’ll accept them, whatever.

DS: And then I don’t know if you want to talk about this here, Lee, but you had mentioned too that you had a recent experience with some bots and spammers that fits in with this.

LA: Yeah, it was just crazy. It was right along these lines. And speaking of AT&T, I got a call from AT&T that someone was trying to purchase a phone using my phone number and they had, they were calling to confirm that it wasn’t me, or to check that it wasn’t me. And I said, no, that’s not me.

And when I hung up, I opened my email and I had about 200 different email list subscription things that were coming in saying thank you for signing up for the Indiana Department of Labor list and for the US Agency for Economic Development. And so I did a Google search and said, so why am I getting all these emails for subscription lists?

And I guess this is a scam that’s happening now, where people do some kind of a hard, they were trying to get a free phone, and what they’ll do then is use your email address to subscribe to email newsletters that don’t have a captcha on them, you know, prove-that-you’re-human kind of thing, so then the idea is that when that, AT&T notification comes that it’s swamped by all these other emails that you’re getting as well, and you end up deleting it and not recognizing that it’s happening.

They’ve harvested the lists of all these places where they can push one button and put in your email address and subscribe you to all of them through a bot, and then it’s just a matter of creating chaff, creating counter measures that prevent you from seeing what’s going on. So yeah, that’s just one new wrinkle about the relentlessness and restlessness of the bad guys in terms of figuring out new ways to cover their tracks.

DS: Lee, let’s flip this then from sort of our responsibility – it’s always our responsibility to be vigilant – but to think about this in terms of what we actually give permission for and our expectations around privacy. Our information, as everybody knows, is out there everywhere; we sign up for Facebook, we sign up for Twitter, we sign up for anything, and with cookies we’ve just signed our whole lives away. And yet at the same time, there’s still an expectation, right, that certain elements of our life should be private, particularly when it comes to health.

And so that is a concern now with these, the exposure of tracking pixels being placed on provider websites and on patient portals. So talk a little bit about how social media is collecting information, how these pixels work and why it is possible.

LA: Yeah. When a pixel gets placed on a website and whether in this case that we’re talking about here, you’re talking about patient portals, I think that’s just amazing to me that someone would think that was an okay thing to do. It’s one thing when it’s a regular hospital website, when you’re into the patient portal, then you’re looking and you do events that trigger capture of information.

And they were talking about that; the name of the patient, the time of the appointment and the doctor…so if it’s a specialist in gynecology or in other, whatever specialist, whatever specialty it is, it can be pretty revealing of what kind of interest or condition that the patient might have.

I think hospitals and health providers that are dealing with pixels at all on their sites are really setting themselves up for pretty a big privacy concern blowback, that there will be some episodes like this that will come in the future where information gets disclosed, that somebody will raise a major issue and people and organizations that are using these within their sites are going to be not in a good spot. They’re going to have reputational risk. And I just don’t think…they have reputational risk now, they will suffer reputational damage and there will be concern about it that’ll be hard to erase.

So I would really recommend that hospitals and other providers be super reluctant to engage in that and maybe be very careful. And I don’t know, there was the old Ronald Reagan saying “trust but verify”, but I don’t know, you know, I don’t think you should trust. I think it’s just, it’s playing with fire to be messing with that.

DS: So it does put a little bit of a crimp on marketing plans, because if you just say, look, we’re not going to mess with this at all, we’re not going to mess with pixels, then that does – and talking on the main website, not talking about patient portals, that should just be a given – but if you say we’re not going to even go near the fire much less play with it, then yeah.

That could have potential implications for how you’re doing retargeting, how you’re setting up your advertising campaigns. But I think that the challenge then is, or the call then is just to find other ways to reach people, use other tools. But don’t put yourself in a situation where you’re unwittingly violating all kinds of patient confidentiality.

LA: If you’re the gateway for information getting out about your patients, and even your prospective patients, getting shared with others and sold to others, that’s just not…marketing is something that’s done in healthcare, obviously needs to be done, but that needs to be put in and it needs to be in a very circumscribed place so it’s not doing harm to the people that we’re trying to serve.

DS: So then Lee, for the tip, I think that kind of is it, but more specifically, what are a couple of things digital teams should, after listening to this, should go and check, or that an executive should ask their team to make sure everything’s okay?

LA: Yeah, they should just be definitely finding out what the organization is doing and has done with pixel placement and use of these, and if they’re going to go into it, going with eyes wide open and really understanding in what limited respect they might consider using something like this, but it is playing with fire and likely to get burned.

DS: Okay. And then the other piece of this, again flipping it back towards the patient then, is so often we’ll get emails from different service providers saying whatever, “Xfinity will never call you requesting your password or your social security number,” something like that. And I think that ends up in the material that we get from hospitals or doctors’ offices in that sheaf of papers that we always have to sign in the privacy practices. But I think it’s also important just to, it’s one more responsibility on the providers, but to take the time to explain to your patients how you collect information, how you ask for information, what you’re doing, and to really give them the resources that they need to protect themselves and their personal health information.

LA: And in a way it’s like the survey fatigue that we all have because you get this “American Express wants to know what your experience was like with your most recent person” or Delta airlines or whoever. And with all these disclosures of privacy practices as the consumer, it is bewildering.

It’s just, it’s a snowball. And so finding ways to, as healthcare providers, to be clear about that and eliminate the jargon and try to be plain English communication. But mainly don’t do bad things. Use the mom test: what would you want happening with your mom’s information? And golden rule: doing unto others is you’d have them do unto you, that if you wouldn’t want your information used in that way, you probably ought to not be doing it. Especially given that many of our, many if not most, of our healthcare providers are nonprofits, so you’re supposed to have a charitable public service orientation. I think that weighs very heavily on the level of caution that you should be exercising when engaging in any of this kind of stuff.

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DigitaLee 9: Marcom’s Role Helping Healthcare Providers Address Gun Violence

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This week, former head of social and digital at Mayo Clinic Lee Aase and Jarrard’s David Shifrin talk about recent mass shootings, including those in medical facilities in Dayton and at St. Francis in Tulsa. We’re horrified by what’s happening, and there’s so much to deal with here, but because this podcast is focused on helping healthcare marketing teams in their roles as the voice of the organization, we talk about some things that digital marketing and communications pros can do to help guide messages around the issue of gun violence. And, maybe reduce some of the criticism that often follows any kind of difficult situation.

Listen and subscribe to the podcast, or read the transcript below.

Read the Transcript

David Shifrin: So Lee, good to see you again. Last couple of weeks have been a challenging time in society and healthcare. So many national headlines across the past couple of weeks and the numerous headlines around gun violence. We were looking at this issue with the mass shootings and Buffalo and in Texas.

And then just as we’re sort of trying to process that, then we see gun violence come to healthcare facilities in Dayton and Tulsa. We see healthcare providers in the middle of this issue and in this conversation for multiple reasons, and so in all of that, marketing and communications and digital teams are having to craft messages around challenging issues. And in this case today, specifically around gun violence, and do that in a way that is meaningful and addresses the issue in a meaningful way.

So I wanted to spend some time with you thinking about how we can support marcomm digital folks at healthcare providers, and just give them some things to focus on very practically as they are dealing with all of this input and trying to craft messages that are productive for the community.

Lee Aase: I would just say, first of all, it’s just a gut-wrenching time when you’re faced with all this stuff, and when we’re seeing just the devastation that comes from this stuff, and people immediately want to say “We got to do something. Okay, we gotta have a response,” and that’s totally understandable.

It’s commendable, that people would say “we want to do something about this,” but it’s like, what’s the thing that you do? And these are the kinds of issues on which reasonable people disagree. They have different solutions, and nobody wants to see schools get shot up or healthcare facilities get shot up.

And so how do you deal with the environment that we have? How do you deal with the constitutional issues that we have? As well as then some of the things like the mental health crisis, which is obviously behind a bunch of this, when you see especially in some of these mass shooting events.

And we were talking a little earlier about how for children that gun violence is, like, just inching up as the number one cause of death now. And that’s not just mass shootings, but it’s the day-to-day kind of mayhem that’s happening. And so it is, it does put us in a tough position to try to…because the desire that people will have is to have some kind of response. And then they say our thoughts and prayers are with them, and people are like, thoughts and prayers don’t do anything! And then you get into, yeah, we’ve all lived that. We’ve all lived that.

DS: It devolves so quickly.

LA: Yeah. And so I think from my perspective, the thing is as marketing communications, people working on behalf of organizations, our job is to help the leaders accomplish what they’re trying to accomplish, and what is the goal that they have by doing this thing? And thinking through what the implications are and how they might say this and, you know, put together messages that aren’t accusing everybody else who’s on the other side of, who has a different opinion or bad faith, and to try to create an environment of respect. And I realize I’m saying this in the context of online discussions, how’s that going to happen?

But starting within the organization, probably, that’s where there is more decorum perhaps, starting the conversations internally, close to home and talking about as organizations, what concrete positive steps we might take.

And some of it might be around mental health and that they’re really addressing some of that, but it’s a vexing time and it’s really a time when, for people who are in that, in the public eye and kind of feeling like there’s a need to take a public stand, it does make it complicated to try to say, so if we take that stand, what are going to be gaming it out? What are the follow-ups that are going to come out of that? And what are we prepared to do that would make a difference?

DS: Yeah, I think that’s such a good point because putting a statement out about gun violence, it has to go beyond saying we’re against gun violence. That’s basic, that’s a default position, right? Nobody is for gun violence. So then what, where do you go from there?

LA: And then I guess the other thing to think about with that is that okay, when we’re making this statement, what action are we prepared to back it up with from our organization? How are we going to constructively contribute toward this, other than saying these guys should do this or these guys should do that.

It’s like what, if leadership means leading, means doing something that is helping to solve the problem versus pointing fingers at other people and saying that the problem’s with them. But for a healthcare organization if you really are seeing it as a public health crisis or public health emergency, public health issue at least, then what can the healthcare organizations uniquely contribute to it that other organizations can’t?

DS: So yeah, I think it makes a lot of sense. And so for marketing and comms folks, it’s helping to guide those conversations. You’re saying supporting leadership in kind of helping to push leadership towards those specific actions and commitments.

And so making sure that the words and the actions match up, and I think there is a unique responsibility and opportunity for marcomm folks to be able to do that; to look at what is being said and then say are we, how are we going through this? And working with operations and clinical and finance to say let’s get everything lined up so that when we say “here’s our statement,” we can also then come in and say “here are the things that we’re doing next.”

LA: Yeah. And we’re prepared to deliver and we’re going to execute on it and yeah. And to do it in a way that doesn’t inflame the situation more, as I said assumes good intentions on behalf of the people that are engaged in the conversation so that it doesn’t devolve, as you said.

DS: Let’s look a little more specifically now at an individual incident.

What about on sort of the backend of a situation that’s going to inevitably, unfortunately, lead to people criticizing your response?

It’s just, it’s what happens. People want something different than what they get by default. And so is there anything that folks should think about saying or not saying in response to potential criticism about what they said, how they handled it, et cetera, et cetera?

LA: I think just humanizing the people who are involved in the response, just emphasizing that we’re all torn up by what’s happening here and we’re doing the best we can in the moment to be able to give people the information that they need and deserve and want, while also protecting the privacy of the, we’ve got HIPAA, we’ve got all these other issues that we need to deal with as well.

And I think the big problem we’re seeing in society in general is just a lack of empathy. A lack of being able to see from the perspective of those involved. And so by humanizing, even this might be a place where the people who are involved in telling the story, maybe even featuring them in some of this, telling that story of what it’s like to be dealing with a situation like this. Because especially on a, if you’ve got a social platform where they see the organization’s icon is the response to you and it’s not coming as a real person, then it feels disembodied. It could be an AI bot on the other side that’s responding to you. So creating that more warmth, more personal bonding there, I think is something that yeah, particularly in the aftermath that you might help people understand that nobody signed up for this, this wasn’t part of the…yeah, you signed up for it and you handle things as they come in, but it’s challenging for everybody involved.

DS: I love that advice for just humanizing and bringing the people who are behind those accounts, the admins, putting their names and faces potentially behind it. I think that’s really cool.

Okay, Lee for the last segment this was a question that we got sort of through some of our client-facing folks here at Jarrard and I thought this was actually a little bit tangential, but it’s really, yeah, an interesting, the different types of crisis response.

And I thought we could talk about it here a little bit, you know, call it the question from the community, is when do you activate a response to something that’s been said on social media? And again, kind of goes back to what we’re just talking about when people come after you verbally. Not thinking here about a negative review or, oh, I wish this had been better or the parking was crap, but just somebody who’s really upset, getting a little bit loud, you know? So is there a framework or a rule that should inform when you stay quiet, when you go public, when you respond to people directly? That mini reputational crisis.

LA: It’s a sort of a mini Hippocratic oath for political, for communications, for online: don’t make it worse. So first you just need to make the judgment: is this going to amplify, is our engagement with this going to amplify it and spread it to a broader audience than if we tried to deal with it in another way?

I think always, if there’s an opportunity to reach out and connect with a person to try to take that discussion offline, to try to identify if there’s a way to face to face, human to human, be able to work through it, that’s a win. Or if you’re able to.

There’s sometimes that’s just not going to happen. There’s just a level of animosity built up. That’s where blocking comes in, and on some platforms that’s not available, but you see that happen sometimes on Twitter. I can say I’ve never blocked anybody, I’ve never had to block anybody, but you see sometimes that with muting conversations on Facebook or whatever, that sometimes people have had their say, you haven’t muzzled them, you haven’t stopped them from being able to express themselves. So it’s not de-platforming them, but it’s also saying, you know, if somebody is determined…there was a, I think it was Winston Churchill says a fanatic is someone who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject, but if you’ve made the judgment that there really isn’t any winning this person over, that at some point you just need to politely agree to disagree and disengage from it. And then where of course there’s, if it’s a patient concern, there’s always the patient privacy HIPAA issue. You don’t have the full ability that the patient has to be talking about the situation because that’s their private information and they can be, they can disclose whatever they want and you’re limited on what you can do.

So that’s where you have to be very cautious in where you’re going to engage. Always trying to deescalate if you can. But at first, just making sure that you don’t add fuel to the fire.

DS: Okay. And so that really does tie in, I’ll retroactively tie it into the second point that we were talking about, where you saying just humanize it, try to make those personal connections and talk about what happened.

LA: Yeah. It’s amazing what people will say by email that they wouldn’t say face to face, and if there’s…and just offering an opportunity to say hey, could we get together and talk about this? And I think that face to face communications is an underappreciated and underutilized tool.

DSh: Alright. Thanks, Lee.

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DigitaLee 8: Netflix, Rent vs Own and How Health Tech Personalizes Healthcare

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Welcome to DigitaLee, the podcast for healthcare marketers, where we look at the digital news, tools, tips and tricks for effective healthcare communications. This week, David Shifrin and Lee Aase talk about the news that Netflix is cracking on their long-standing policy of going ad free. Then Lee gives an update on the rent versus own debate – and that’s with regards to blogs and social media, not the housing market, although that might be an interesting discussion too. Finally, they close by talking about Lee’s latest venture the HELPCare Clinic as an example of how digital tools can help personalize health care.

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David Shifrin: Well, hey Lee, going to kick off this week with the story about Netflix and streaming platforms. I almost bypassed this story because when I was looking around for digital healthcare marketing and saw this story about Netflix, I thought it was going to be just riding the coattails of all the discussion around Netflix.

And then I realized that it was from MM&M – Medical Marketing and…now I’ve forgotten what it is. What?

Lee Aase: Medical Marketing and Media.

David Shifrin: Medical Marketing and Media, they also rebranded not that long ago, I like their new logo. Anyway, despite the fact that I can’t remember what the 3 Ms stood for, it’s a solid site. They do some really good work. And so I thought it’d be worth clicking into it. The upshot of the article is that with Netflix now considering advertising, that could potentially change the game for companies looking about, looking at advertising in particular. I thought the really interesting point was that with economically thinking about this potential recession that we may be looking at, that is going to change sort of the ad spend and may open up some opportunities for smaller and mid-sized businesses to get in the game.

Lee Aase: Yeah. I just think it’s an amplification or it’s a multiplication of the number of places where advertisers can be, you know, and that as the continual fragmenting of the audiences, I mean, previously the Netflix audience has been inaccessible. Once somebody’s locked into Netflix, once they’re watching it, they’re uninterruptible and that’s actually been part of, a big part of the appeal as well is that people are able to watch things without being interrupted.

So, figuring out how that works within the Netflix platform will be interesting. But so many of these streaming services that are…Netflix had its 200,000 subscriber loss, and I think some of the others, being so many of these services that’ll supply demand. And especially if there’s an economic contraction that may open up space for smaller players to be able to get access to get their content into some of these niches that might fit really well with what their strategic goals are.

So I think it’s, yeah, the technology that the evolution of these platforms and their being ready to explore the ad supported, or at least partial ad supported, element is going to create some opportunities.

David Shifrin: How much do you think healthcare organizations should pursue this? And I don’t have numbers on this, but just thinking about my own viewing habits, which are primarily streaming, but I do watch regular or cable TV, I see…I can’t think of really any healthcare. I see some, I do see some pharma ads on streaming.

But you know, if I see an ad for Vanderbilt, my local hospital, it’s going to be on a local channel or on cable. It’s not coming through on an ad on Peacock, for example. So you know, how much value is there, and you’re talking about the audience fragmentation, is it worth a local hospital trying to get hyper-local targeting?

Lee Aase: I think that just depends on it might relate to what the initiative is. And is there a particular type of program that aligns really well with, we talked in the previous episode about some of them, diversity inclusion topics and initiatives.

There may be some places where if you’re able to get hyper-local targeting within these platforms, in addition to then content targeting, that you could find… I’d say there’s some opportunity. I’m not saying stop everything else you’re doing and pursue this, but it’s definitely something worth watching.

And I think the folks that have the most money to spend on it—the pharma folks—they’ll be the pioneers in that, I think. And as we in the provider space, in the hospital space, see what’s what they’re doing, I think that’ll spur some thoughts and some innovation among some of the marketing leaders to say, Hey, yeah, we could, this might fit for this particular initiative.

So it’s worth keeping an eye on.

David Shifrin: For the trend, I wanted to ask you about the current state of play on renting versus owning. And as I produce the content for Jarrard, we have a blog, we have a LinkedIn presence, and thinking about how we balance all these different platforms and where to focus.

So I think conventional wisdom for a lot of years is that organizations that are producing thought leadership and content want to own the platform. So that algorithm changes, any other kind of rule changes, aren’t affecting your ability to get that information out there, which is something we see with social media sites all the time, right?

Facebook changes their algorithm about every 10 minutes and it constantly changes the ability to be visible. But at the same time, there’s a lot of people on LinkedIn. There’s a lot of people Tik Tok. So how are you thinking about reach versus SEO, renting versus owning, website blog versus social media, et cetera.

Lee Aase: Yeah. I actually think of it as renting and owning. I think it’s like, you need to have the home and then you need to have the apartment in the, in the downtown or whatever, you know, it’s like, you need to be in both places and that’s actually a really helpful thing to be thinking about.

Because my bias has been toward having the control, that you need to have a home base. It’s important to have that, but I also recognize that the—like LinkedIn, for instance—with the thought leadership when you’re posting long form or longer form content, instead of just a link to your blog post you get readership there with people who don’t want to leave the app, and so you’re getting some impact from that. So I think being able to have maybe different versions of things that are in LinkedIn versus on the home base, maybe it’s an extended excerpt that you’re doing on LinkedIn or some content that is bespoke, as they say, for LinkedIn…I wanted to use that word, cause I’d never gotten it before and it’s…

David Shifrin: It is. It’s a very, it’s like a, it’s a sort of a…

Lee Aase: A super fancy word.

Yeah, exactly, yeah.

David Shifrin: You’ve got turnkey and you’ve got bespoke.

Lee Aase: Yeah. Very good.

David Shifrin: Yeah. And something that we’ve been looking at recently on LinkedIn is their newsletter feature, which is not new, but it’s been slowly rolling out, and so we recently on our Jarrard account got access to it. And so I’ve been cross posting a lot of our content there, and it is effectively a secondary blog that people can subscribe to. It does seem to hit some folks who aren’t necessarily always seeing our content otherwise.

So I think it’s a good thing.

Lee Aase: Right. Yeah and you want to go where the people are. And if to the extent that you’re putting content in a place where it can be liked and commented and shared…in addition, just the convenience of reading it on platform versus having to click off to your website.

We have goals that we want to get people to our website; that is part of our core ideas. That’s how people sign up and like, they join with us and having a blend I think makes a lot of sense.

David Shifrin: Then finally for this week’s philosophical tip or philosophical discussion—philosophical might be little bit too lofty of a term but whatever—

Lee Aase: Yeah.

David Shifrin: I’ve been thinking about navigating the intersection of digital tools and channels with the really personal, intimate nature of healthcare. You know, there was something in the article that we just talked about, the MM&M article, about how advertising isn’t really meant to be hyper-customized because you’ve got to reach a broad audience, it’s got to be general. But healthcare is ultimately the most personal thing that you can have. It’s literally somebody touching you to help you through difficult times. And so I was thinking about this and then thought this is perfect because you’ve opened a clinic. You are doing this, you have an extensive career in the digital space and are now in a very personalized clinic. So how are you thinking about that balance of personal with something that’s a little bit more hands-off through a screen?

Lee Aase: Yeah, a big focus is that we want to make it so that technology is the facilitator for the personal, the technology isn’t a barrier technology, isn’t something that just enables us to scale. It does enable us to reach more people, does enable us to target to a community.

But also, we don’t want the technology to be something that gets in the way of those human interactions. We want it to be the enabler and facilitator of those reactions. And a lot of that is if it’s convenient for the patient to use video conferencing, if it’s a way that we can see them more easily, like they’re feeling sick and they don’t want to come in, that’s telemedicine: in the post-pandemic era, isn’t a like, ooh, that’s a whole new thing, but is an application of digital technology in a way that is more human because it is more individualized. It’s about that intimate relationship. So I’ve been blessed, pleased at how the technology, used in the right way, can be really that facilitator to make some of the things that would have been more difficult to do previously, much easier.

And so it’s been an exciting time to be starting something new because of the way that…well we talked earlier in, maybe it was in the previous episode? about some of the transcription tools and things like that that are able to be harnessed and used within a practice to just take it to that… take away some of the grunt work, where technology can take some of that effort out of the way that would enable then the human, the more direct human interaction at a higher level.

David Shifrin: Yeah, just the grunt work. That’s literally what you just said.

Lee Aase: Well, yeah, let me just, just let me just throw in another thing. So one way that we’ve used this is…so I mentioned previously Dr. Dave Strobel is our our medical director, our founder of the clinic, and one of the things he does is go into depth, great depth in describing conditions.

He’s an educator, he’s a teacher at heart, he loves to help patients understand what’s going on in their body and why and how all of this stuff works. And that’s part of the reason we have a one-hour appointment as our basic unit of seeing patients. There’s a lot of stuff that he says a lot of times, and so if we can use the vide to capture some of that stuff (and that’s part of what we’re doing), our production is like, this is the thing that you’ve said dozens of times, hundreds of times to people as you’re describing metabolic syndrome or the various other conditions. He’s got a video that we did on baby table manners, things like that in terms of how to get your kids eating solid food and kind of the right order to introduce foods.

You know, he could go through that every time. And he has done that for 30 years with patients, but if we can capture that and then say, okay, these are online video modules that are of specific, can be a specific interest to different elements of the practice, members of the clinic, then when they come in, they can have watched the video and they can go deeper and they can probe on the questions and we can say, what didn’t you understand? Or what could I explain better? And that helps us make the next, maybe add another module. If we find out that another video to the series, if we’re finding out that it isn’t communicated as clearly as it could be.

So I think that’s one way that if you can take the broader topics where there is some, it’s still pretty specific, it’s still pretty focused and in-depth, but then enabling to go even deeper within the individual patient visit.

David Shifrin: That’s where you go from a turnkey video series to a bespoke one hour appointment.

Lee Aase: Exactly, there we go!

David Shifrin: How do like that?

Lee Aase: Great stuff. Oh, how about that? You are a trained communicator and a PhD to boot.

David Shifrin: I’m just writing my notes here, getting my points in. All right. Thanks, Lee. It’s fun as always.

Lee Aase: All right. Appreciate it. Talk later.

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DigitaLee 7: Diversity in Healthcare Advertising, Accessible Content and Supporting Healthcare CEOs

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Welcome to DigitaLee, the podcast for healthcare marketers, where we look at the digital news, tools, tips and tricks for effective healthcare communications. This week, David Shifrin and Lee Aase look at an article from Fierce Pharma that describes a marketing and ad agency building out a dedicated team to work on diversity in advertising. Then, they check in on the conventional wisdom around ways to ensure that content is broadly accessible and close by talking through the role of healthcare marketing teams and supporting the CEO.

Listen and subscribe to the podcast, or read the transcript below.

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David Shifrin: Well hey, Lee, good to talk to you again. We’ll jump in here. And episode seven, we’re about to have seven of these things, what do they say, in the can? So, for this first story here it’s from Fierce Pharma. The title is “CMI Media Group launches new practice to help pharma reach out to diverse audiences.” And of course this is coming in the midst of what’s really at this point a two-year elevation of diversity, equity, inclusion, health equity. And really rethinking how healthcare as a whole and how we as society approach equity.

It’s a really important push and all the social change that we’ve seen. And so this is just another thing, inclusive marketing. The quote to latch onto here I think for me was that… it says, “With new technology that’s allowing brands to target messaging to specific audiences like never before, there’s a big opportunity for pharma to be more inclusive and equitable in its messaging, said the chief media and innovation officer at CMI.” And so again, this is focused on pharma, but I think the ideas here apply to healthcare providers as well. So you know, what’s your, what are you looking at in terms of inclusive messaging when it comes to any new pushes or new technology, new campaigns?

Lee Aase: Yeah, I think the newer technologies that we have just make the content production much more cost-effective, much more inexpensive than it’s been previously. So I think spending some time on listening to people coming from different backgrounds and perspectives and better understanding what sort of message will pull through with them better. It’s like an online focus group, kind of using social and digital as a way of gathering intelligence in terms of what kind of messaging is going to have impact. And then just being really focused on, okay, what are some of the broader initiatives that we have and where can we specifically reach out in a particular area of need?

So for instance, colorectal cancer is something that affects everybody, like affects all races, all ethnic groups. The African-American community has a higher incidence and a need to potentially get screened earlier, typically. And so being thoughtful about how you can be doing that messaging, how you can be finding the right platforms to be able to reach the particular audiences I think is something that has been a priority and should continue to be, and not just pharma but provider groups as well, to be really proactive in that outreach.

David Shifrin: Do you think this is new? Or is it just that we’re in a moment socially and technologically where people are thinking about it in a slightly different way?

Lee Aase: Yeah, I think it’s just becoming more easy to execute on this kind of outreach. I mean, there definitely is a heightened awareness and a heightened interest and wanting to be very proactive in reaching out to people. And one of the top things that was mentioned in the article is a particular genetic disease that the founder of this group, this innovator, had, that his wife was Cambodian and there’s a particular disease that affects Asians more and some members of his family had been diagnosed with it.

And so just a recognition that more than ever before, there’s an opportunity to achieve business goals that are important and are sustaining to the enterprise while at the same time being able to target messaging to a particular audience in a way that’ll be more attractive to them and resonate with them and cause them to maybe even collaborate and share in spreading the message.

David Shifrin: Yeah. Okay. I thought what you said at the beginning of that answer was interesting, where you said it’s easier to do. And I don’t want to put words in your mouth; when I hear tha,t my reaction is okay, if it’s getting easier, then there are fewer excuses to not do it. So let’s do it!

Lee Aase: Right. Yeah. I mean the cost of production of this stuff and being able to tailor things is getting easier. The cost of listening. With the way the ability is as AI and other tools are enabling you to get… at least to bird dog some insights, that for them, the humans, to come in and say, okay, how do we do this in a genuine way versus just what the borg would say in response to this that we’re gathering.

David Shifrin: Okay. So for our trend this week – I created an awkward transition here, but I don’t know, maybe it’s not that awkward – but then thinking about another type of inclusivity, I was thinking about this actually producing our content for Jarrard recently. And it’s making sure that content is accessible for folks who may be visually impaired or have hearing impairments, or whatever it might be.

And so we hear a lot of things about…it’s stock at this point, I think, ensuring that you have all texts on images, that you have an opportunity for having subtitles on videos. And I think that’s not only for folks who may be hearing impaired, but just if somebody is in an office and they want to watch a video, they need to be able to see what people are saying. Anything that you’ve seen or you’ve thought about in terms of making content as broadly accessible as possible, or is it just keep doing what we’re doing?

Lee Aase: Yeah. Yeah, I think that’s a good, so it is keep doing what you’re doing and maybe expand it a little bit, and I would also say that it’s one of those things where you’re doing well by doing good, because it isn’t just that it’s more accessible for the visually impaired or hearing impaired.

That’s all true, but also the fact that it’s helping you with your SEO, as you mentioned, as people are doing the…if you’re doing captioning on videos, for instance, not so much the SEO side, but the captioning of videos, a lot of people are in a place where they can’t, they don’t have the liberty to play the audio.

But also just stopping the thumb as people are scrolling over something in the feed. If they’re seeing the words that’re there, it’s more likely to draw them in, so it’s about effective multi-sensory communication. And if you do that for people, so it’s multisensory communication for people who have access to all those senses, but for those who lack them, it’s at least making it, or giving them an entrée.

I’d also say the overlooked thing is the extended captions on videos, not captions, but descriptions, particularly on YouTube because that’s part of the whole SEO process. And also then the ability to include links within the videos. That’s not exactly the undiscovered territory, but maybe the forgotten territory.

It’s one of those things that people could put more focus on and get for a relatively small investment of time. Especially when you have the ability to do natural language translation of… an AI translation of audio. If you can get that converted to text pretty reliably, then using that not only in the caption but in the description (or good substantial sections of it) to the extent that the character counts allow is a good thing.

David Shifrin: Okay. Yeah, we just ran a survey of the U.S. population, 800 adults, about communications preferences and found that… we asked people, what do you prefer? Written texts, audio, video, or no particular preference and consistent with what I think the conventional wisdom is people largely preferred video.

And so it was just a reminder to me that we gotta make sure that, one, we’re producing content in ways that people want to consume, but then also making each piece of content as accessible as possible.

Lee Aase: Yeah. The other thing related to that is, yeah, people prefer video and some people prefer text, and some people, and also would like to be able to zoom through it more quickly, because one of the things people do is the 1.25 or 1.5 speed on the video sometimes to just get through them more quickly, videos and podcasts. Not this one, of course they’re going to want to catch every second of it and totally enjoy all of it, but…

David Shifrin: Pull your car over, pull up the car and get the notepad out. I think this is gold here, folks.

Lee Aase: Yeah.

But the other part is that people like to…and there’s something about, especially if you have an extended video or an extended audio it isn’t, yeah, that taking notes part is a little more complicated. So that’s why we put timestamps in, lots of times, in the podcast to say hey, this is where this was talked about.

And so incorporating that I think in some of the video descriptions is a winner.

David Shifrin: Cool. And I’m taking this section a little bit long, but I will mention, because you mentioned transcriptions, and two platforms that I’ll highlight…actually three, and let the secret out. One is It’s great for meeting notes. You can sync it to your calendar, and it does a really nice job. It’s more for just general meetings rather than content production, but it does a nice job and it has live real-time transcription. And the other one that we’re recording this on right now, the platform that we use for remote video and podcast production at Jarrard is

And ask my colleagues, I talk about it probably more than I talk about my own family, which is concerning, but it’s a great platform and not too long ago, a few months ago, they now have an option with some of their packages where you can get a transcription of your videos.

And so what we’re doing, everything you’re hearing right now is recorded remote with really high quality, and we can pull transcripts. So there’s that. And then the last one that I’ll mention, which is what I use to edit these podcasts, also has a video editing feature, is Descript that and has an outstanding transcription service that’s built in.

And that’s what I do. But it’s a really nice way to scroll through, both for production and then taking that, converting it to subtitles, whatever it might be.

So the tools, to your point, Lee, are out there, and they’re not expensive.

Lee Aase: Absolutely. Yeah, that’s great stuff. And that’s application for me just in our clinic that we’re starting cause I’m the chief administrator, CEO plus the social media guy, for now. And so being able to have some of these tools that can make that production more streamlined—that’s stuff I’m taking away, too.

David Shifrin: Alright Lee, so for the last section, we also in a previous episode talked about how executives can think about their personal presence on social media, both as individuals and as representatives of the organization.

And I want to think about how marketing and digital folks and healthcare organizations can come alongside their leadership, their executive teams, to support them. So I guess the question here is, what is the role of healthcare marketing in first supporting CEOs, and then helping the organization through leadership, transitions, things like that?

Lee Aase: Yeah. I mean, I think, so part of it is, the CEO is one of the chief assets of the organization and, as the face and the voice of the organization and obviously as a driver of the strategic direction. And being able to harness that voice and being able to accomplish what the strategic goals of the organization are is what being the CEO is all about.

So there are some who are naturally inclined toward that, and then there are others who are obviously good communicators in business communication and active and being able to accomplish their work, their will through the organization, but they might need a little help, might need a little handholding in terms of how to be most effective in their use of these social platforms to represent themselves and the organization.

And so I think just making, considering the CEO communication as a pillar of the overall strategic plan and then figuring out how to harness that by, for instance, video, we talked about how video’s been a big part of the topic, but in our experience with our clinic, we’ve got Dr. Dave Strobel, who’s a 30-year physician. Does a great job explaining things to patients, but if he were to…I don’t want him to be on social media, like I don’t want him to be personally doing it, but yet if I can capture video of him doing descriptions, explaining things and then do some post-production, it’s really good work, but you know, really elevating the value that they can contribute.

Really harnessing that and then adding the right people to do the editing to present that authentic voice, but then also to do the bird-dogging to say, hey you’re getting some reaction to this and calling them in to be able to comment as necessary so that there is that authentic level of engagement that’s meaningful instead of it…if it feels too polished, then it’s not going to have the effect, either. I mean, most of the reason people get into these CEO roles is because they’re good with people. They’re good at communicating. They can help move things along. And the digital and social is just a way to supplement that.

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DigitaLee 6: NFT or WTF, Healthcare in the Metaverse & Digital ROI pt. 2

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Welcome to DigitaLee, the podcast for healthcare marketers, where we look at the digital news, tools, tips and tricks for effective healthcare communications. This week, David Shifrin and Lee Aase are both confused by CVS moving into selling virtual healthcare goods. Once they get past that, they look at provider organizations planting the flag in the metaverse, and then it’s the second of our two-part digital ROI miniseries, this one on how healthcare marketers can position digital programming to justify the ROI.

Listen and subscribe to the podcast, or read the transcript below.

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David Shifrin: I’ll be honest. I’m confused by this story today. It’s from Healthcare Finance News and it’s, you know, I’m confused, but got to talk about it. I want to talk about it. “CVS Files Patent to Sell Goods and Healthcare Services in the Metaverse.” And when you read through the article, it’s not exactly clear exactly what CVS is going to be selling, because if I fall and slice my hand open, I don’t need a metaverse stitching and bandage, I need an actual emergency room. But this is continuing with this rapid rise in stories that we’re seeing about what the metaverse is doing and can do. And of course, Facebook has rebranded to become Meta and virtual reality is here and expanding.

So yeah, what is your take on digital goods and services?

Lee Aase: Yeah, I thought I was confused by it as well, because it says, you know, “CVS Health wants to trademark its logo, establish an online store, create downloadable virtual goods ranging from prescription drugs to beauty and personal care products.” I’m thinking, are we going to have a virtual opioid crisis?

Or what’s the deal? Just like, how does virtual work in that? So I’m not really sure. I think there’s, I mean when it really gets down to it, I think some of the telepresence stuff that was talked about in the other article that we’ll be talking about, and I apologize for jumping ahead with it, but it seems like the, it seems like the immersive experiences for really making that virtual connection be much more like face-to-face.

And perhaps even in some ways because you can have some digital measurement sensors attached with them, I think there are some opportunities to really enhance that experience. I think the main thing, the main thing out of this story is something that does relate to what I’ve advocated for a long time, is that when a platform comes out that it’s really important for big brands to be staking their claim, you know, that they don’t want somebody else to be squatting on their name.

We had an experience when I was at Mayo Clinic that we had, there was a British rock band that set up a page on MySpace called Mayo Clinic and the band’s name was Mayo Clinic from County Mayo in Ireland. And they thought that was cute, I guess, but so that gave us some impetus for being able to say hey, we should set up… This was back when Facebook pages were the new thing. We said let’s set up a page on Facebook to make sure that nobody else claims that. So I think this is just sort of taking that next step on the legal front, that where CVS is saying, okay, metaverse is going to be a thing, so let’s at least stake our claim here, and set out the stakes that we are CVS in the metaverse and nobody else can use that.

David Shifrin: So it’s protective as much as it is proactive.

Lee Aase: I kind of think…so, I mean, that’s what it looks like to me because I have a hard time wrapping my head around how virtual goods can be. I can see virtual services totally. But virtual goods seem a little bit disconnected.

David Shifrin: Yeah. Well, and the article also mentioned that they’re talking about potentially selling NFTs, non-fungible tokens, which is a whole other Pandora’s box that we’re not going to get into right now, but that’s the other big thing. And again, personally I don’t see the value in buying any, I don’t know what kind of NFT CVS is going to offer me that’s going to make me want to spend the money, Bored Ape Yacht Club isn’t even enough to get me interested. So I don’t know what CVS is, but…

Lee Aase: Yeah, I think there’s, you know, NFT and then there’s another acronym that uses both T and F as well, but maybe kinda…

David Shifrin: I think we found the title for this episode.

All right. Before this goes off the rails Lee, let’s move into the second section which, as you telegraphed, is more on the metaverse, again not really a platform specifically, but a digital place. This is from a Forbes contributor named Bernard Marr who writes on enterprise tech. The title is “Amazing Possibilities of Healthcare in the Metaverse” which got us thinking again, the metaphor as a place, as a platform of sorts. There’s sort of three areas that Marr references: telepresence, which you’ve mentioned, digital twins, which is really interesting, and then blockchain technology, which we hinted at there with talking about NFTs, but you know, some of this stuff is pretty immediate—I think like the telepresence of being able to offer telehealth visits in the metaverse or simply just by good old fashioned Zoom call. And then some of it like the digital twins is incredibly fascinating and I think promising, but a much longer play. This is mapping people’s genetics, so they can, we can experiment virtually and to see how we’re going to respond to treatment. So what are you looking at as the metaverse continues to get more, more traction?

Lee Aase: Yeah. I mean, I definitely think the telepresence part has a lot of application right away. And I think that’s where organizations could, especially in things like counseling and therapy sort of approaches, be able to have that much more immersive experience; to have it be much more like being there would be I think that’s a no brainer. And then, and finding…so I’d suggest that for organizations, finding someone, finding an advocate within the organization, within the clinical areas, who’s really interested in applying this, coming around them and helping them to prove the concept and show the value I think is really a good opportunity.

The digital twinning does sound fascinating. I just think it’s hard to…I think it’s problematic in just even as you note, as you map the whole genome, how do you know exactly whether you’re taking into account the right factors as you’re fast forwarding through 10 years, about what happens with, you know, the whole idea of like, you take a twin and you say, okay, maybe you could run a thousand simulations and be able to then come up with a… Actually as I think it through, I think that might be it, the Monte Carlo simulation with digital.

So it’s not just digital twins, it’s digital…you’re creating a population out of the twins. So just as with Moore’s law and the power of computing increasing exponentially, probably eventually at some point you’d be able to run those sorts of simulations that might give you a better sense of what the range of possibilities would be, given a different intervention.

David Shifrin: Okay. In the meantime of that while the scientists and the data folks are trying to figure out how to do all of that – and we just talked about kind of staking a claim in wherever you are as an organization – the metaverse becoming a more powerful place for brands to engage.

And so any other prep work that folks should be thinking about? Whether that’s with HIPAA compliance, training clinicians to be thinking about one day possibly entering virtual reality to deliver telehealth, anything along those lines?

Lee Aase: As I alluded to a little earlier, I think the key is to find the champions, to find the early adopters who are willing to experiment and learn. Willing to help sort out what the issues are going to be, so that then the organization can apply it on a broader scale.

So it’s part, and this kind of relates, probably segues into our ROI discussion for this time, that, as I mentioned before in my thesis, that as the I approaches zero ROI approaches infinity. One of the big ways that you keep the I low is by getting people to volunteer—by getting people who are already on staff to say wow, this is really cool and I want to focus my energy on this. I’m willing to dive in and put in my own effort on it.

And so that’s that kind of makes the organization more like a startup, you know, even an established organization where you’ve got a lot of people that are psychically betting on exercising options, so to speak. I mean, they’re trying to, they’re creating some psychic ownership in a new trend and because of the personal satisfaction that they get out of leadership in an area like that. So I think finding, identifying and recruiting people from within the organization that you already have to say would you like to play? would you like to be involved in this? is a way to be able to demonstrate that the potential to demonstrate the return without a major outlay of additional resources so that you can prove the concept and then hopefully make the case for a broader adoption.

David Shifrin: Okay, in our next conversation, we may, maybe we’ll talk about kind of setting up how you set up a sandbox with enough guardrails to be careful but also giving people the freedom to test that out.

In the meantime: digital ROI part two and talking about how healthcare marketers position digital programming to justify that ROI.

And you’ve talked about it last time, and then just before this is the last thing you said there was hopefully take the results on to the rest of the organization and leadership and show the value. What does that look like? How should digital marketers think about helping to get their leadership teams bought into these programs that they’re testing out?

Lee Aase: I think the first thing is they have to be solving a real problem that the organization is either spending money on now or creating new opportunities for generating income. So it’s either, how can you concretely save money through some of these digital innovations?

So for instance, if it’s telepresence, okay, you’re saving time on travel in between meetings and you’re enabling people to be able to be more…have less overhead in terms of those face-to-face relationships and interactions. So figuring out ways that you can measure and make the case for that, for the savings that are coming there. But then also beyond that in testing and learning and seeing where the additional revenue opportunities are, and by trying this out are we able to make additional connections that will lead to patient volume, will lead to memberships or whatever the model is of acquisition?

David Shifrin: Alright, Lee, well, thanks!

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DigitaLee 5: DigitaLee: Healthcare Cybersecurity, Reputation Management & Digital ROI, pt. 1

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Welcome to DigitaLee, the podcast for healthcare marketers, where we look at the digital news, tools, tips and tricks for effective healthcare communications. This week, David Shifrin and digital healthcare pioneer and now healthcare entrepreneur Lee Aase are looking at healthcare cybersecurity, reputation management – should you keep it in-house or outsource? And the first of a two-part miniseries on digital ROI for healthcare providers. The question is how to measure ROI and how that differs between larger and smaller provider organizations.

Listen and subscribe to the podcast, or read the transcript below.

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David Shifrin: Alright, Lee good to see you again. The story that we’re going to kick this off with is from Healthcare Dive titled ‘On high alert’: Hospitals wary of cyber threats from Russia-Ukraine war.It’s a kind of an odd one because you wouldn’t really necessarily expect there to be sort of a healthcare angle to the cyber warfare that we know is taking place.

And frankly, day to day, we don’t even know where this, where the invasion is going and what’s really happening there. So, there’s so much uncertainty, but we have seen kind of similar stories here and there that, Russia seems to be active and you never know where somebody, whether it’s them or anybody else is going to show up.

And frankly, just a week ago, a buddy of mine who’s a PA and he said, you know, we got a ransomware attack and they’re asking for a bunch of cash and we’re locked down and we’re back to paper. It happens all the time, in peaceful times and in bad times. so what should provider organizations be thinking about when it comes to cybersecurity?

Lee Aase: Yeah. I think it just really highlights that cybersecurity should always be a priority because it doesn’t matter where it came from. The Russia, Ukraine conflict might be a precipitating thing. If the United States is involved on the Ukrainian side and if Russia retaliates or wants to find ways of gumming up the American system then yeah, that could be one precipitating event for why hospitals would be under threat, but there’s lots of other threats. There’s always bad actors that are out there. And I think it just really highlights the importance of good processes, good hygiene, good just taking basic security measures. The key one that I think was highlighted in this article and that I’ve felt is really important as well is two-factor authentication. Because anybody can steal passwords or you can guess a password, but with the two-factor authentication, when you have to have a timely provision of that second code, like within 60 seconds, that’s the kind of thing that’s going to be super helpful in heading this stuff off.

I think the other part is just really good training with staff. Helping them to be alert to phishing scams, for instance. I know back in my days at Mayo Clinic, we would have authorized phishing simulations that would be sent out by our IT security team and, you know, it got to be a game where you’d say, yeah, I think that’s one of those when you had forwarded it.

But occasionally you would forward those suspicious emails and they’d say, yeah, that was a real threat, that was really something. And having people be on the alert for it is really important. And yeah, then just the training, the alerting people that this is something that you have to be aware of and have to be careful.

David Shifrin: So you mentioned, you talked about training, Lee. And one of the, one of the quotes that stood out to me in the article was from a chief technology officer at a cybersecurity company talking about how there’s a huge amount of turnover, which is just not…something that I’m not familiar with, the IT world, but anything there when it comes to personnel?

Lee Aase: Yeah, I think it’s really, I noticed that in the article as well, that when there’s…if you have turnover in your key staff that are responsible for these security initiatives that you do put yourself more at risk. And yeah, I think we’ve seen, whether it’s because of people getting terminated because of non-vaccine compliance or whatever, that there have been various reasons for that. But there was the great resignation that everyone was talking about as well. So I think having some lack of continuity among staff responsible in these areas could also put systems at risk.

David Shifrin: Lee let’s use that to roll into the second section which isn’t exactly a platform, but in thinking about both cybersecurity, but then also reputation and the reputational damage that can occur certainly if a breach happens or any other kind of crisis hits.

And we’re talking about the turnover and just the resources that different organizations have. How do you think about what you keep in house? What you outsource, where you draw the line, how do you manage the limited resources that different organizations have recognizing that this is going to vary if it’s an independent community hospital versus a large national healthcare system.

Lee Aase: Larger health systems do have a lot more resources. They also have a bigger footprint. They also have a lot more angles, a lot more service lines that they’re trying to be ranking highly in and where people are expressing their opinions. So it scales up, the need scales up with the size of the organization as well.

I think for any of them, it depends on their stance toward using one of these platforms or doing it on their own, depends on what other priorities they have, where they need to be devoting their resources and what capacity they have. My general predisposition has been to say that people need to have ownership of their online reputation and that the service line folks or individuals who are concerned about what happens when people Google them that the best thing they can do is…

To have an active social media presence. To have an active digital presence that will tend to be over time ranked highly in Google and will show up effectively. So I guess depending on what resources people are willing to put into this they can either outsource it and try to have things managed that way, or they can take a more active and organic role in managing their reputation.

I am just naturally I guess predisposed to the latter solution and to really authentically engaging in these platforms, but can definitely understand how people say, yeah, I just want to write a check or I want to have somebody else take over that day-to-day responsibility because I have other priorities that I need to deal with.

David Shifrin: For our insight this week, Lee, we’re going to have a two-part miniseries. And in talking to my colleagues here at Jarrard, they sort of flagged that they had some conversations with you about digital ROI. And being the content mercenary that I am, I thought it sounded really useful for our audience.

And so this is going to be pivoting away from reputation and cybersecurity and everything, but the conversation is about digital ROI. And the first question for today is what your take is on measuring ROI and how that differs between teams, marketing folks at local hospitals versus at larger health systems or different corporate entities.

Lee Aase: Yeah. I was saying, you know, at the smaller health systems or the local hospitals, you typically have marketers who need to be much more of a jack of all trades, need to be much more nimble and resourceful, much more like MacGyver in trying to get results.

And that has upsides and has downsides. The one of the absolute downsides is the lack of, general lack of resources. But the second then is the priority that puts on and the premium that puts on that resourcefulness, on that creativity, on experimentation.

When I was a…so this would be back in 2009, I published a document that I call my 35 theses on social media. And there were three of these that kind of relate here. And I think that’s what I was talking with our Jarrard folks about is that, number 17, social media freedom, in an ordinary sense of the word.

And that was true back then, anyway. Now, you definitely have to have some money to be on these platforms typically to be able to get the reach. But then the second one that was related to that is that I, as in I in the ROI equation approaches zero, ROI approaches infinity. If you keep getting the I smaller and smaller, that means you don’t have to show as much in terms of benefit for it too be, “Wow. That really works.” So the fact that in all these platforms that if you’re trying to MacGyver it, and that was the 19th thesis is MacGyver is the model for social media success, that you have to be creative and you can get the proof of concept really pretty easily, or at least you can experiment with things to say, So does this work or not?” without risking a whole lot. And that’s actually some of the benefit of the smaller organizations, are in the way they can be thinking about this as that, you know, when you’re working on behalf of a large, resourced organization or with the super-strong reputation, there’s more risk associated with it.

The risk/reward thing in the equation is a little bit skewed in those cases, because what if it doesn’t work? On the other hand, if you’re in a smaller organization you have a lot more upside potential, and also because these digital tools have fewer resources needed to do something that’s actually pretty solid that is a reasonably high quality, like these digital mics, these add-ons that you can get for your phone and to be able to really reduce the cost of production. It lets you try things and then prove their benefit, which can help you make the case for more resources.

David Shifrin: Great. Okay. So next time then we will talk about how healthcare marketers position digital programming to justify that ROI, which is a clear extension of this, and you’ve already talked about that a bit, but I’m looking forward to that conversation next time.

DigitaLee 4: Digitally Enhanced Healthcare, Twitter Alternatives & Execs on Social Media

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Welcome to DigitaLee, the podcast for healthcare marketers, where we look at the digital news, tools, tips and tricks for effective healthcare communications. This week, David Shifrin and digital healthcare pioneer and now healthcare entrepreneur Lee Aase are looking at digital-first healthcare – haven’t we been talking about that for years, now? – whether more obscure social media sites like Parler that tend to attract subsets of wider society are worth healthcare’s time, and how healthcare leaders and execs can balance the personal nature of social media with the value of promoting their organization’s brand.

Listen and subscribe to the podcast, or read the transcript below.

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David Shifrin: So the headline that we’re going to be talking about this week, the news story is titled, it’s from HIMSS Healthcare IT news, and it says, “Like Banks, Healthcare will become Digital-First in 2022.

And there’s a comma and the rest of the title is “Zoom Healthcare Lead Says.” So Lee, I saw this, and thought there’s a headline I have seen in some form or fashion, probably every four months for as long as I’ve been doing this, which hasn’t been that long, but it’s been more than 2022. And it even starts with digital transformation as the topic du jour in healthcare today.

So we’re all talking about it. And everybody’s talking about the digital front door and care delivery being pursued through digital means and hospital at home and all the rest. Is 2022 really the point at which healthcare goes digital first, or is this the optimistic view of a guy from Zoom who has a vested interest in that being true?

Lee Aase: Stock options and stuff, right?

David Shifrin: And stuff, trying to boost things after things have come back down to earth after the pandemic, the pandemic bounce.

Lee Aase: Well, so I think digital first is overstating it. I think digital first is, yeah, it is that thing that a Zoomer would say. I think it’s, there’s no doubt that with COVID digital has made huge strides. That’s just clear. Back when I was working at Mayo clinic, we had some goals for digital going into 2020, and then it was astonishing how quickly things moved because they had to, necessity being the mother of invention. The offspring were a whole bunch of innovations that really were, it made a difference. I think the way reimbursements have changed or did change at least during COVID to say that you didn’t have to be face-to-face to get reimbursed at a reasonable level.

And so because of that it made the telemedicine, made the virtual care much more attractive, much more viable, just economically viable for organizations. I would like to say digitally enhanced is the way of 2022 and hopefully beyond, because I think it needs to be human first.

So the analogy that was used in this article was about banks. Okay. People care about their bank. People care about their money. Not as much as their health and it’s not as personal to them. Banking is much more transactional. And for example, I just deposited a check with my mobile app and that’s perfect.

And like the whole thing about not… just before we were on today, ATMs used to be the big thing. Wow, you don’t even have to stand in line at the teller. I mean, so that the convenience of that, and that’s what it really has to be all about, ‘Is it for the patient’s convenience?’

Is it for the good of the patient or is it just to drive profitability and make it more efficient for providers? So I think from my perspective, I know in a future episode we’ll talk about the other little venture that I’m working on right now personally, but really with that, we’re wanting to establish that human relationship and then use digital where it makes sense for the patients.

If it makes sense to do a phone call or a video visit, because it would be inconvenient to bring the kids in for…to be seen, then yeah. But we don’t want to say if you want your lab results, you need to log into the portal and here are the instructions as to how to do that. No, you can actually talk to a nurse. We’re glad to talk, or your doctor who’ll talk to you.

So I think digital can be a, can and will be a huge enabler and can create some huge efficient…in fact, a lot of the stuff that we’re doing with this new clinic that I’m helping my good friend start, my physician friend start, a lot of what we’re doing wouldn’t have been possible without digital, just in terms of being able to get this going. Having electronic medical record that is cloud-based and that we like, don’t have to have the huge IT expenses; it’s pretty astonishing what digital can make happen. But if that becomes first, digital first is a buzzword, and that’s what the HIMSS guys and the Zoom guys are gonna go for.

But if we lose sight of the human relationship then, and if it becomes not just, not a means to the end of more satisfied patients then we’ll be missing the mark.

David Shifrin: Let’s take a look at the platform or the platforms of the week and in the notes I sent over, it’s Parler, but as you’ve pointed out before, there’s a bunch of these, and we’ve some folks ask about quote unquote, that Twitter alternative, which we assume to be Parler, but that could just be a catch all for things that aren’t the Instagram, Facebook, Twitter.

Lee Aase: Yep.

David Shifrin: With a lot of these, and we talked about this in the previous episode, these are coming about because people feel like they don’t have a place to talk about issues that matter to them. So they are highly politicized, and Parler in particular, tend to cater to specific political segments.

And that also does feed into, I think, to an extent into more of a mistrust of institutions of healthcare. I don’t know if you want a say an establishment, but that potentially that’s there too. So, you know, as you look at all, all these upstart platforms, because at one point Twitter was an upstart and Facebook was and everything else – RIP MySpace – do you see any indication that these are places that healthcare providers should be getting involved in? Is it flash in the pan? What are you thinking about?

Lee Aase: I would suggest this is a – to use the medical term – it’s as a watchful waiting approach that you would apply here. But also I’d start by listening. you can create an account personally if you’re a healthcare marketer or communicator. Get familiar with what’s happening there.

You don’t have to speak, you can be one of the lurkers and just see what people are saying. And maybe try some experiments if you think it makes sense, but I think not paying attention to them at all as the wrong approach.

But I also think given the tenor that will likely be there in most of these platforms, running out there with a whole bunch of establishment kind of messages you’re probably getting the equivalent of a ratio there.

David Shifrin: Yeah.

Lee Aase: On those platforms too. But I do think it’s like, you know, in politics you have to get 50% plus one. Marketers are all about tenths of a percent of market share at the lower end of things and making a big difference in their bottom line by how well they’re reaching people. And so, unless you want to say that this segment of the population is just, we just shouldn’t, don’t even want to treat their kind, you know, then you should be paying attention.

You should at least be hearing what they’re saying and seeing if there’s a way that you could effectively communicate there. But I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t rush into it and say okay, everybody has to have a Rumble page, a Rumble channel and put all their videos on Rumble too.

But I think not at least listening is you know, making the problem worse.

David Shifrin: All right. Last one. The tip let’s…we’ve talked about social media policies, and let’s talk here more specifically about good ways for leadership as individuals to use social media. How do folks in leadership positions in the executive suite build trust and credibility and come across as real people while also presenting valuable information about the brand or the organization as they need to?

And I mentioned before we started recording that I’d love to continue on this thread at some point about how almost the flip side of that is how brands can leverage the corporate voice versus the individual voice.

But let’s start sort of if you’re a healthcare leader how do you balance that and come across as a real person?

Lee Aase: Yeah well, I mean I think healthcare leaders who are going to be or have personal accounts on social media need to be engaged with them, need to be paying attention to them. There are certainly…any public figure who has a social media account is having other people help manage the account just because there’s such a volume of messages.

David Shifrin: Sure.

Lee Aase: But it needs to come across as authentic and that there needs to be some level of the person himself or herself speaking and engaging. And that if it’s all, if it’s all managed and not an individual being involved at all, it’s not going to be genuine. It’s not going to feel genuine and real.

And I think that’s part of what people are thirsting for, is that there would be that ability to, that this is a real person who personifies the brand who personifies the values of the organization. So I think one way, I mean, a lot of that can be accomplished through video by having just the CEO or other leader talking about things but I would say much more like a livestream and “ask me anything kind of thing” versus a highly produced thing with the drone footage, you know, where they’re, they’re coming

David Shifrin: Swooping into the CEO suite.

Lee Aase: Swooping into a CEO suite. It’s like, I mean, I understand there, are different brands that have the different fields and for some that might be just the, like maybe for Elon Musk.

Well, I mean, just let’s think like Elon Musk, okay. I mean, another good example of someone who you’re pretty sure that that’s authentic to who he is and he’s done okay for himself mostly.

David Shifrin: Yeah, it would be hard to ghost write for Elon Musk, he has his own style. That’s a good example because it does show and he does say some things that you can really “Wow, bro.” But he, as you say, he is incredibly successful and he has built real products and he has advanced his brand.

So it does show that people are interested in the human behind the brand. And in some cases they might be inextricable, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Lee Aase: Yep.

David Shifrin: Okay.

Lee Aase: So that’s what I have to say about that.

David Shifrin: All right. Thanks, Lee.

DigitaLee 3: Spanish Misinformation, Meta’s Dive & Apple’s Privacy Rule

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Welcome to DigitaLee, the podcast for healthcare marketers, where we look at the digital news, tools, tips and tricks for effective healthcare communications. This week, David Shifrin and digital healthcare pioneer and now healthcare entrepreneur Lee Aase are looking at the Spanish language misinformation crisis, Meta / Facebook’s recent dive and Apple privacy rules.

Listen and subscribe to the podcast, or read the transcript below.

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David Shifrin: Welcome to DigitaLee, the podcast for healthcare marketers, where we look at the digital news, tools, tips and tricks for effective healthcare communications. I’m David Shifrin with Jarrard Phillips Cate & Hancock, and I’m with Lee Aase, digital healthcare pioneer and now healthcare entrepreneur. Today, we’re looking at the Spanish language misinformation crisis, Meta / Facebook’s recent dive and Apple privacy rules.

So for the first section, I wanted to talk about, we’re back to talking about misinformation in the news. This one is a little bit different. A story on Axios about Spanish language misinformation crisis, and I think everybody’s pretty aware of what’s going on. As far as misinformation, it’s not quite as hot of a topic as it was a few months ago at the peak of the vaccine push, but certainly is still an issue.

And I thought that sort of the core point, the thing that really stood out to me in this article, was between the lines and says where platforms are quick to remove misinformation posts in English, some identical posts in Spanish remain online. And just something that I hadn’t really considered is the multi-lingual nature of everything that’s going on and the need to reach out to so many different communities.

What’s your gut when you see this article?

Lee Aase: I have a little bit of a different take and I thought it was actually a good launching pad to be able to talk about some of this. So I think there is a crisis. I don’t think it’s a Spanish language information crisis, and I think it’s a different one. And we’ll get to that in a little bit.

When I started advocating for social media use by hospitals about 15 years ago now, there were definitely a lot of people interested and then I got a lot of objections because people are saying “what about all the bad information on the internet?”

And my response was, there will always be bad information on the internet. That’s just the way it is. If you have a free and open internet, you’re going to have people publishing bad information. So my answer was then if responsible medical professionals don’t engage, we’re ceding the territory to the snake oil salesman and to the people, the charlatans, the people who are putting out bad information.

And so that’s why I was arguing that health professionals had a moral responsibility to put out good information. I have a good friend of mine that a lot of folks listening to this will probably know. Andy was the founder of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association, or was the president of that.

Anyway, he founded a group called the Blog Council—now that’s what it later became—anyway, he had a saying that he said he learned in high school chemistry that the solution to pollution is dilution. You know, that if there’s bad stuff out there, you need to overwhelm it with the good, okay. You need to put out reliable, trustworthy information. And the way that we have thought about it for 15 years in social media is that the good information will drive out the bad, the good information that people like it, they’ll comment it, it’ll get up-ranked. There’s a thing on Twitter called the ratio. The ratio is comments versus retweets or likes, and if your comments are much higher, that’s meaning that people are taking issue with what you’re saying versus what, versus liking it or passing it along.

There’s a quote that’s been attributed to Voltaire: “I may disagree with what you’re saying, but I’ll defend to the death your right to do it.” We’re a long way from that right now. You know, we’re saying, yeah, we need to tamp down, we need to drive out this information.

I think that’s a big part of the problem for the polarization that we have now, is that it is viewpoint discrimination and that opinions that align with the governmental or large entity positions are…are those that are aligned are promoted and others are suppressed.

So, over the last several months, users have been banned from Twitter for messages that today we know are true. Cloth masks don’t work. Posting that previously would get you, could get you banned from Twitter. And if the goal is to prevent respiratory infections, they don’t work.

Okay. Cloth masks don’t work. And they’re saying, ‘No, yeah you got to wear N-95s or KN-95s.’ You know, some messages that previously came from government or medical authorities have been shown not to be true. Okay, Israel has a vaccination rate of about 95% for those who are over 50 and about 85% have gotten the booster, and as of February 3rd COVID deaths were at an all-time high in Israel, okay.

The president of the United States, the current one, not the previous one, the head of the CDC and a whole bunch of others have previously said, and the tweets are still up, if you get vaccinated, you won’t catch COVID and you won’t spread COVID. And there aren’t any warning labels on those. There aren’t any things saying this may contain misinformation.

So I think those messages are still up, and I think another issue in addition to this alleged Spanish misinformation crisis is if you can’t be heard on the normal platforms where everybody’s speaking, well, if you park your truck on a bridge and don’t move it, and it’s a bridge between two countries, people are gonna pay attention. They’re gonna listen.

David Shifrin: Going to get noticed.

Lee Aase: Yeah.

So I think the fact that things are being suppressed, pushing down on that is kind of why we get, and I know in another…in a future segment, we’ll get into talking about some of these other platforms, GETTR or Parlor and others, but the reason those spring up is because the more mainstream platforms are suppressing it. And I think it’s…so that’s where the problem that I see is the credibility. You know, even if you think it’s harmful, then you should speak out against it instead of banning it, instead of banning individuals and banning and putting labels on that feel like they’re putting the finger on the scale.

So that probably wasn’t what you were expecting when you proposed the top.

David Shifrin: But it’s a good note too, that we have to engage. And to do… and this is something that I’ve been really concerned about for a long time, I’m a scientist by training and we need to do a better job of communicating how science works and how the data is collected and how we analyze it, because it does change.

And that doesn’t mean anybody’s being disingenuous or trying to play rope-a-dope or whatever, but it’s just, this is how science works. It’s complicated and it’s hard. And so the guidance will change. And that should be the message. And that gets to your point about diluting the bad information and just being more clear and straightforward about, ‘Here’s where we are today and here’s how we arrived there and this may change tomorrow.’

Lee Aase: Yeah, science, isn’t a person and it isn’t a noun. The science is a process, it’s a verb, and we need to, yeah, and educating people on the scientific method and what we know because of studies and what they can tell us, and then what the limitations of the studies are. And I realize that you get into a pandemic and people say we gotta get some communication out here because there’s all this bad stuff happening and we gotta give them some clear messages, and they want to give a clear message. And I think the risk of that, and I think what has borne out because of it is that we have people that have much less trust in public health than they would previously.

David Shifrin: Yeah. I love it. Thanks, Lee. Let’s look at the platform of the week. Meta, the artist formerly known as Facebook, the artist formerly known as Mark Zuckerberg’s dorm room. A lot of stories going around recently about how the number of active users has dropped for the first time ever, and as a percentage of total users it’s pretty minuscule, but it did drop.

It’s never happened before. Their earnings are down. Their market cap took a hit largely, or at least in part, because of Apple’s privacy rules, which I think a lot of folks listening as marketers are going to be aware of.

It’s something we’re watching here. So is this a big New York Times headline story that’s a big story because it’s a massive company or is this something that digital marketers in healthcare need to be paying close attention to for potential issues?

Lee Aase: Well, I think marketers should always be paying attention to things like that and be looking at performance. So they need to be looking at what’s really happening in terms of click-throughs and business results that they’re trying to accomplish through it. I think being cognizant, at least of the fact that the user base is diminishing a little bit, or at least the active user base, that paying attention to where the attention of users is going is something that just is basic work that marketers should be doing. Marketers, communicators of all types.

I think that, getting back to the previous issue, we talked about when you have the…I think one of the reasons behind, I mean this is a hypothesis, okay? This is a guess even, you know, that 50%ish, maybe it’s 48% of people and maybe 40% that are pretty strongly feeling that way are saying, you know, this is a platform that’s not friendly to me. Or, that is, this is going to put a label on things that I agree with that says this might be misinformation. I think people then maybe hold back and just say, ‘Okay well, I’ll share my family, kid pictures and watch the grandkids.’

But maybe you’re less likely to…it just takes a little bit of the luster off, I think.

David Shifrin: Yeah. And so then if they’re backing away from their engagement, it’s even harder to reach them, obviously, by definition, with good information. So you’re…

Lee Aase: Right. Yeah. And when you’re…I mean the answer isn’t to turn up the volume, okay. It isn’t to turn up the volume and turn down the screws, it’s to engage and to discuss. And I recognize that having been worked in the healthcare system and where you’re posting the messages that you’re, you know, being given to post, and there are definitely, there are unpleasant conversations that are happening there. The way it is right now, for sure.

David Shifrin: Okay, so let’s keep an eye on it and watch the numbers and see what happens next time Zuckerberg testifies before Congress.

For the last piece here Lee, the tip that I want to focus on is Apple’s privacy rules, which I just mentioned. I think, again, I think a lot of folks are aware of this, but the native iOS Apple mail app, which accounts for a huge chunk of email management, somewhere between 40 and 50-plus percent, it now is pre-loading tracking pixels to obscure human opens and geolocation data.

It’s a privacy push. It reduces the ability for us marketers to track engagement and target across different platforms. And again, this bit into Facebook’s revenue. So it’s potentially a problem for pure marketers selling whatever, clothes or widgets. How much do you think this could matter for the types of campaigns that hospitals and other healthcare providers are running?

Lee Aase: Yeah, well, I mean I think the upshot that HubSpot talked about in that article that we, that I think you referenced and you probably put it in the show notes, is just that marketers need to focus on the harder metrics and the ones that are more business-oriented, like click-throughs, like actual, go to the other one we were talking about here, replies. Yeah.

So, I mean, that’s the thing is when people are actually taking some step, you know, I look at shares for instance as well, shares on social, A share is…I used to call it the mother of all metrics, because it’s not just “I like it,” it’s “I want my friends to see it,” and so those are the things that I am typically going to be paying a bunch more attention to.

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DigitaLee 2: YouTube for Healthcare and Social Media Polls on Twitter and LinkedIn

Orange text that reads "The Digital Future of Healthcare" with smaller text at the bottom saying "DigitaLee with Lee Aase" on a navy blue background

Welcome to DigitaLee: The home of digital and social media for healthcare.

We’ve partnered with Lee Aase, formerly of the Mayo Clinic and Mayo Clinic Social Media Network. He’s joining us every other week to look at the role of digital and social media in healthcare. Each week we’ll look at a news story related to healthcare social media, a digital platform healthcare providers should (or shouldn’t) consider, and a digital tip of the week.

Today we’ve got a story on how doctors use YouTube to connect with patients and work towards health equity, the value of YouTube as a platform for healthcare providers, and for our tip of the day it’s whether hospitals and physician practices should consider using Twitter and LinkedIn polls.

Listen and subscribe to the podcast or read the transcript below.

Read the Transcript

David Shifrin: This is DigitaLee from Jarrard, Phillips, Cate & Hancock. I’m David Shifrin.

Twice a month, we highlight the headlines, platforms and best practices in digital and social media that healthcare organizations need to keep up and –better yet – get ahead. Today, we’ve got a story on using YouTube to connect with patients to work towards health equity, the value of YouTube as a platform for healthcare providers, and for our tip of the day it’s Twitter and LinkedIn polls.

The news theme of the day is from an article in Business Insider. The title was, “This Doctor Says YouTube Is a Crucial Way That She Connects with Patients, Here Is Why.” So, with that clickbait headline, the point is that Dr. Lisa Fitzpatrick works in underserved communities trying to improve access and health equity and has found that YouTube is a powerful tool for approaching that work.

So, Lee, what was your take when you saw YouTube being considered as a platform for health equity?

Lee Aase: Yeah, I think YouTube is a platform for health equity and just general health information for people, because we’re talking about doctors who are the well-respected voice due to the fact that it says MD behind their name. People are trying to sort out: “What should I believe? What should I know?” What I found in my career at Mayo Clinic was that sometimes even the longer videos that were going into more depth on a topic could be among the most valuable ones because they’re really reaching people at their moment of need. They’re giving them that in-depth information that they really need about their condition. Being able to address commonly held questions and beliefs and being able to address them authoritatively is a great, scalable way to reach a lot more people who maybe wouldn’t even come into the doctor’s office regularly. But they find someone with whom they identify, with whom they resonate and can build up some trust. It’s a great way to get some good health messages to people who maybe otherwise wouldn’t darken the door of a medical office.

DS: Let’s keep going with something that you mentioned: The value of in-depth medical information, because that runs a little bit counter to so much of the marketing, communications, social media and digital principles where everybody’s talking about how attention spans are shorter than ever.

Normally, you have to keep it tight. What are you seeing when it comes to “in-depth?” How far can you go with that before you start to lose people?

LA: Yeah. I mean, attention spans are shorter when it’s something like a public health message because it’s something that’s intended for a mass audience. But, when you get a particular kind of sick, that’s all you care about. It’s something that you’d really like to hear about from someone who knows about it. Say, “How do I deal with acne?” or, “How do I deal with some other condition that’s affecting me?” So, the beauty of YouTube is that is the place where people can have essentially unlimited time to follow a bunny trail of information that relates to what they’re interested in, since YouTube also serves up related videos on those topics.

One of the better videos that we had in my Mayo Clinic days was 10 minutes, it was on a particular kind of cancer, a blood cancer, and it got tens of thousands of views. It wasn’t millions of views – it wasn’t funny cat video territory – but it was the right kind of patients or their family members who really had that as an interest to help them to better understand the condition.

DS: So that’s a perfect segue into the second part of this, which is looking at YouTube as a search engine. It’s about not just thinking about YouTube and kind of the news and trends, but also as the platform that we want to focus on here. YouTube is owned by Google, of course, and it is a massive, massive search engine – I believe it’s the second largest in the world.

So, when you’re in it, Lee, you just mentioned the ability to serve up related videos and content to whatever you happen to have pulled up in your initial search. Because it’s such a powerful place for people to go and look for information, what should providers be thinking about in terms of their strategy around using video and YouTube in particular, to make sure that they’re serving up the content that people need where they’re looking for it?

LA: I think one of the keys with YouTube is to be sure that you’re effectively using your titles and your descriptions, putting in captioning as you can, both for accessibility with ADA compliance, but also because it makes it easier. Doing so gives more terms to be found within search – so, titles and tags and descriptions.

It’s important to recognize that it’s the number two search engine owned by the number one search engine. When you’re searching on Google, one of the tabs is “Videos,” and for some things, the first thing that’s going to show up is a video.

It’s often geographically contextualized as well. So, some of the things that may be nearby would show up – there’s some geographic preference with it. I think you just need to be sure that you are not only communicating to humans in the video, but communicating to the algorithm by how you tag, describe and title the videos.

DS: Cool. Okay, thanks. Let’s move on to the tip of the day.

We’re going to switch platforms here and look at LinkedIn and Twitter polls. I’ve been seeing more and more of this. I think maybe it’s died off a little bit over the last couple of months – kind of tail end of the summer of 2021 – but lots of organizations and lots of people have been posting quick polls on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Anecdotally, I’ve seen this coming more from the marketing and businesspeople in my network than from the healthcare provider folks. But that said, I think we all have seen those, and we’ve all probably responded to them. Some of them are goofy, some of them are a little bit more serious.

I guess the simple question is, “Is that a useful tool for healthcare providers to be considering, or is it just yet another social media, digital fad that’s going to be gone in six minutes and we’ll all forget about it?”

LA: It all depends on what you’re trying to accomplish. I’ve seen some people use them for education. For example, where there is actually a right answer to the question and they’ll put up a quiz and then they’ll do a follow-up with the right answer, and then they can use it. That’s the educational perspective.

Now, Twitter does not represent the world, okay? It’s a subset of…

DS: Hold on, hang on, hang on. Whoa. Back up.

LA: Twitter is opinions. It’s especially the opinions of those who are posting. There is a distinct minority of people who do so much of the posting that they aren’t necessarily reflecting the rest of the user base and Twitter users in and of themselves. It’s a distinct subset of the country, of the world. And so, Twitter polls are certainly not a scientific representation of what people really think.

However, probably, you get more engagement among the regular lurkers on social media and on Twitter in a Twitter poll. Because it’s anonymous, people can vote what they really think versus what they are supposed to think. If you reply to a comment, your name can be traced to what you’re saying versus on Twitter the poll, where the responses are anonymous.

I think depending on what you’re trying to accomplish, it can be helpful. I also think that LinkedIn polls are probably more reliable because they’re less susceptible to some kind of an organized, “Okay, somebody put up a poll and I’m gonna torture them with the answer that they didn’t want.”

That has been known to happen definitely on Twitter, for sure.

DS: Alright, I think we’ll call it good there.

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