Top Healthcare Trends for 2016

Four advantages of open access scheduling

In 2015 we had the switch to ICD-10. It looks like there will be more changes in 2016 with patients becoming customers/consumers and driving more personalized medicine. MediGain has been searching through various newsletters and websites to bring you these top trends developing in the healthcare sector for the upcoming year.

1) Mobile and remote healthcare:

This may be the year that telemedicine comes into its own. PricewaterhouseCooper’s Health Research Institute (PwC HRI) reports that consumers will use their smartphones and tablets for health monitoring more than ever. The devices will soon be used to provide anywhere, anytime diagnosis and treatment in 2016. From “bedless” hospitals to smartphone medicine, care can and will increasingly be delivered remotely. PwC’s HRI found the percentage of consumers with at least one medical, health or fitness app on their mobile devices has doubled, from 16 percent in 2013 to 32 percent in 2015. In addition, 60 percent of consumers surveyed are willing to have a visit with their physician using their mobile device.

 2) The “second wave” or is it a ripple?

Forbes says that the second wave of digital health disruption is coming in 2016. “Wearables, nearables, apps and digital diagnostics will start to leverage the streams of health data made possible by the connected consumer to create powerful health platforms that move beyond trendy apps and trackers. Vertical and point-solutions have paved the way for more robust horizontal innovations that will deliver proven outcomes with compelling business models. If you’re going to compete in 2016, the price of admission just went up.”

However, Healthcare Business and Technology does not think it will happen this year. They wrote, “The technology hasn’t caught up with the promise of what can  be, and that won’t change in 2016. Not only is the technology not yet able to deliver, but the incentives and processes to support wide-scale deployment aren’t in place yet. Although all signs point to wearables becoming an integral part of delivery of care, this won’t happen next year (2016).”

3) The acronym for 2016 – PGHD (patient-generated healthcare data)

Trends #1 and #2 have led to the latest (another) acronym, PGHD (patient-generated healthcare data). InformationWeek Healthcare interviewed Patrick Everett, founder of Digital Doctor and an independent consultant in healthcare informatics, about this upcoming trend. “There are many challenges to address before a patient will be able to automatically send their blood-glucose, blood pressure, and heart rate to their physician seamlessly.” Among the issues to be resolved: financial disincentives, workflow disruption for providers, physician worries about liability and workload, incompatible technologies for patients and providers, a lack of technical standards, and an underdeveloped case for change. “This is a trend on the horizon worth monitoring, because solutions are a decade away,” said Everett.

4) Mental or “Behavioral” healthcare coming to the forefront:

PwC’s HRI predicts behavioral health will be a key issue in 2016, as one out of five American adults will or may experience a mental illness issue every year. Mental illness and behavioral issues cost businesses more than $440 billion annually. Employers and healthcare organizations may start to focus more on preventive behavioral healthcare to keep costs down, productivity up and consumers healthy.

5) Artificial intelligence (AI) coming to healthcare:

Forbes predicts that numerous startups focusing on artificial intelligence will gain traction in 2016. With “super cloud computing” like IBM’s Watson Health in 2015, the concept of AI in healthcare is beginning to be adopted. In 2016, many innovations may move out of the lab and into the spotlight.

6) Look for more mergers in healthcare in 2016:

By mid-year 2015, nearly $400 billion in agreements in healthcare deals had been announced, breaking records set the previous year. Trine Tsouderos, a director in PwC’s HRI said, “I think going into 2016 we do see [consolidation] continue due to the fact the entire industry is changing and shifting and capital remains cheap, so it’s advantageous if you have plans to do it now. We also see a domino effect that could happen after several mergers in one part of the industry leading to others to do the same and start scaling up.”

7) More companies will be branching into healthcare:

In additional to an increase in mergers mentioned previously, the line between “consumer” and “healthcare” companies will start to blur. An increasing number of retails stores will start offering services previously only offered by hospitals like CVS, Walgreens and WalMart and their quick in-and-out healthcare services. In 2015, we saw Novartis and Qualcomm launch a $1 billion partnership. StartUp Health partnered with Aurora Healthcare, GE and Finland to build healthcare startups.

8) Drug pricing may have reached its peak in the U.S.

With the rise of high-deductible healthcare plans, consumers are likely to become increasingly frustrated with those high prices, according to PwC’s HRI. The firm estimates that under threat of strong government action, pharmaceutical companies may contemplate new models in 2016. Overall, the drug pricing by pharmaceutical companies will continue to be a high-profile topic.

9) Consumers are concerned about “healthcare hacking”:

The cybersecurity of medical technology is becoming a real concern of the healthcare consumer. We may see medical devices such as insulin pumps getting hacked in 2016. PwC’s HRI found half of consumers surveyed would think twice about using any connected medical device after a hacking incident, and 38 percent would be wary of using a hospital associated with the hacked device.

10) “Do-It-Yourself” (DIY) Healthcare Creators will cause regulatory challenges:

Forbes says that with advances in 3D printing, material science, virtual reality, Healthkit, Researchkit, personalized products such as casts, prosthetics, and wearables, that a variety of patient-designed solutions will “be made to order” using software and could be printed/produced at home. This category of DIY inventions will become available to more and more patients/consumers. This will create challenges for regulators as people make their own niche health and wellness products as consumers search for customized healthcare.

11) Health consumers look for convenience and value:

According to PwC’s HRI, in 2016, consumers will begin to manage their health spending like they manage their retirement savings. Companies may try to find new ways to solve payment problems. This could include bundling innovative financing with other offerings. For example, healthcare payment and billing will be embedded into broader consumer experiences, similar to the way other industries link spending to rewards, offering frequent flier miles, discounts or points. These models will cater to what consumers want — convenience and value.

12) Growing experimentation with ‘healthbots’

The New York Times recently ran a story about using robots as health aids for the elderly. Increasingly, people are opening up to the idea that robots and similar devises can help them with their healthcare needs. As the aging population grows, so too will the use of robotic health aids or ‘healthbots’.


PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Health Research Institute (PcW HRI), Forbes, InformationWeek Healthcare,Healthcare Business and Technology.

Social Media Marketing for ASCs (Ambulatory Surgery Centers)

Many ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs) across the nation have turned to the Internet for their marketing efforts. Some use social media in an effort to draw in patients, as a high volume of cases is crucial for healthy revenue cycle management. Most ASCs do market on some level, but many may be missing out on the possibilities the Internet affords, especially social media. Social media advertising isn’t cost-intensive, and it can reach many viewers. Here are some ways to leverage a Facebook profile or a Twitter feed to draw in patients to an ASC:

Post links patients will find interesting
Many ASCs that maintain a social media presence make a point of finding and posting articles their patients are likely to find interesting. Centers that concentrate on sports medicine should post articles about that particular branch of medicine and about wellness and other sports subjects, for example. Those that work with pain management might want to curate a continuous list of good resources on how to manage pain and where it comes from. It’s often quite difficult for patients to find reliable information online about their medical conditions, so ASC social media feeds that can help them do so will be perceived as very useful to them.

Of course, it’s also a good idea to post less serious articles as well. Posts about lifestyle news or healthy recipes may be well received, as might the occasional stress-relieving picture of scenic vistas or animals. Anything patients can use or enjoy is likely to be something they’ll want to share with friends of theirs on social media, which can lead to more traffic to an ASC’s own page.

Post information about your achievements
ASCs that receive accolades, do good work in the community or both should publicize these things on their social media pages. It’s the best way to get information out to patients in the digital age, far surpassing press releases or direct mail campaigns. Patients and prospects can’t get excited about an ASC’s high quality of care or commitment to social good if they don’t know about it, after all.

If physicians at an ASC have achievements like awards, publications or their own medical blogs on the side, the social media page of an ASC is a great place to post them, with permission of course. These can help patients get a feel for who they would see at the center if they decided to schedule a procedure, and humanizing doctors can help take some of the fear and trepidation out of scheduling an operation or consultation.

All of these strategies have the potential to increase new-patient volume at an ASC. In turn, this high volume ensures a steady stream of revenue for the ASC. With the help of a revenue cycle management firm, ASC professionals don’t have to concern themselves with trying to get the best reimbursement rates or busying themselves with the business of collections. Their partner firm can handle these aspects instead, leaving ASC administrators to focus on attracting more patients and giving them an experience of the best quality possible.

Music in Advertising

Music and scent/smell are very powerful.  They can transport you through time, pull on your heart strings and make you smile or cry. I predict a day when advertisers will be able to target ads especially for you by picking songs from your playlist, as the sound track for those ads, to elicit emotions with their messages. You heard it here first!

Ok @Google #Google @Apple #Apple @iTunes #iTunes @GooglePlay #GooglePay @ariannahuff @spotify #spotify @pandora #pandora – I bet one of you announce this is reality by the end of February.

Now – let’s talk more about strategy!?!

The B2B Marketing to Sales Flying Trapeze

This is the second post I promised Arianna Huffington @ariannahuff after we bantered back and forth during the @Vocus #Demand 13 conference in Washington D.C.

The B2B Marketing to Sales Flying Trapeze

Under the Big Top of the corporate circus the most breathtaking act is the Marketing to Sales Flying Trapeze.  First, Marketing and Sales get on their swings and begin to rock.  While Marketing is building momentum through various advertising channels, Sales builds momentum through product knowledge training.  When they get in sync, close enough, the act can begin.

As a potential customer stands on the platform, Marketing swings close enough to grab them, if only for a minute, so they can swing closer to Sales.  With planning and instinct Marketing let’s the customer go flying towards Sales…now here’s where it gets interesting.  We must consider the dynamic of human interaction.

In today’s eCommerce digital world a B2C marketer can find, attract, nurture, lead and close the customer without any human interaction.  With shopping cart abandonment we can even catch those who have fallen from the trapeze into the net and bring them back into the sales funnel.

In the B2B world Sales takes the leads and swings them onto the platform of a closed sale.  With the dynamic of human interaction the number of possibilities is endless.  A phrase, a look, an email just about anything can make the Sales funnel sticky or slick.

But, in the B2B world you want your Sales team to get to that personal human interaction as quickly as possible.  The ease and speed of the sale will be directly proportional to the amount of  informative and motivational materials Marketing can get in front of the prospect.

The Marketing to Sales Flying Trapeze is getting more sophisticated with tools like, lead scoring and lead nurturing. Marketing can track and retarget, Sales can resurrect cold leads and ask for referrals from existing clients.

Circus performers on the flying trapeze don’t climb to the apex of the Big Top without first practicing.  Marketing and Sales must communicate every step of the way. I’ve always made it a point to carry potential clients throughout the process, taking on the role of the salesperson. I believe this provides greater insight into the type of tools and collateral materials the sales teams will need to overcome objections and close the sale.

To use another analogy – the Sales people are the gunslingers, Marketing supplies the horses, the saddles and the bullets.

The 3 R’s of Marketing: Recognition + Repetition = Revenue

The 3 R’s of Marketing: Recognition + Repetition = Revenue

This is the first post I promised Arianna Huffington @ariannahuff after we bantered back and forth during the @Vocus #Demand 13 conference in Washington D.C.

Call it a Rule or a Law but it has been working since the time of the Pharaohs:
Recognition + Repetition = Revenue

Recognition – back in the days of Mad Men it was easy, buy a spot on The Ed Sullivan Show and Bonanza and you could reach just about everybody with disposable income. Now there are billions of websites, hundreds of TV channels and everyone is a broadcaster through multiple social media networks. So how do you get the Recognition?

During the @Vocus #Demand13 conference it became more and more clear that the lines between Public Relations, social media networks, journalism, blogs and customer service are blurring. You can get recognition from a great review for your great product from a trusted source on their blog or from a bad review about your poor service that goes viral because you didn’t address it on your customer service hot line in the first place – either way you get recognition. You only want positive messages of your product/service reaching the masses? Well, not everyone can buy a 30 second spot during the Super Bowl or The Oscars to get their product or service in front of the masses in a positive light.

You now have to engage in an Omni-channel “Ontegrated Marketing” approach. Ontegrated Marketing is the integration of all possible online channels with all possible offline channels. Because your potential customers are so fragmented you have to be out there where they are looking or listening when they are looking or listening – and there is no telling when or where that will be. You’ve got to do a little bit of everything all the time. Everyone in your company can be a broadcaster of your message and you can widen your reach and circle of influence.

Repetition – Shotgun to Sniper. Think of every possible channel of communication as a pellet in your shotgun shell. The more pellets and the wider the pattern increase the likelihood of a hit. Once your analytics show reaction and action to your message, begin your repetition. Studies have shown that over 80% of people will have forgotten your message after only two weeks – understandable because we are hit with thousands of messages daily.

This is why companies are trying so hard to engage evangelical customers to continue spreading their message – civilian public relations. With corporate public relations you can’t buy the kind of legitimacy and endorsement that you receive from a positive news story from a respected journalist. Rarely can you drive in a nail with one hit, multiple strikes with the media hammer will nail your message to your customers.

Revenue – ask your Board of Directors or CEO, this is what they want their Marketing Department to generate. NOTE to CEOs – if your Marketing Department does not fail every so often, they are not trying hard enough. You want your Marketing Department to try new things and fail, because, just like Zig Zigler said, “Every no gets you closer to a YES!”

Clint Hughes
‘That Marketing Guy”

The Merging of B2B and B2C

As the marketing world becomes more digital the strategies and tactics used for B2C and B2B become more similar.  If you are in B2B go ask your clients, “If you wanted to find a company that does for you what we do for you – what would you do?” You will find that the vast majority will say, “I’d sit down at my computer and Google….” then LISTEN.  They will be telling you your primary keyword(s).

A couple of decades ago it was easy.  There were just a few TV stations, a few newspapers and a few radio stations.  You would go for reach and frequency and have a good chance of hitting your target clientele – whether it was B2B or B2B.  Now there are hundreds of TV channels and billions of web sites.

Either way, B2B or B2C, you have to be there when they are looking – you don’t that many chances at them anymore.  Either way, you have to find your keyword (what you are, what you do, what you want to be know for) and built your strategy from there.

It seems that the main difference between B2C and B2B is whether they are sitting on a couch or behind a desk.  You still have to adress the big 3:

* Save me time.

* Save me money.

* Make my life easier.


Google AdWords – PPC, SEO and Reality

Do you expect EVERYONE who comes to your site to buy something EVERYTIME they visit your site?  Of course not, that is NOT realistic. 

It’s Google AdWords

not Google GuaranteedPurchaseEveryTime It’sClickedWords.  With billions of web sites out there you have to get people to come to YOUR site and get to know you.  Expect them to shop around, but they will come back to your site if you are competitively priced and give them more for their money.

Until you are the #1 organic search results for your keywords, you need to have an integrated strategy combining all your online resources.  That is what is called Ontegrated Marketing.

You WILL get a “halo effect” from an acquisition/branding PPC strategy.  People may come to you the first time from your PPC ad and then return later to purchase.  Your PPC campaign has done its job – it brought people to your site, maybe not for an immediate conversion, but you became known to the customer and they did come back and convert.

Now that you have them as a customer: Did you get their email address? Did you give them a reason for you to keep in touch with them?

You know it is cheaper to get an existing customer back for an additional purchase than it is to get someone to your site for the first time. 

These principles pertain to “brick and mortar” retail outlets as well as web sites. Even in this world of instant gratification you need to build relationships. 

PPC or TV or SEO or Radio or Social Media or Print or Social Media are not mutually exclusive. With your target market split between hundreds of TV channels and billions of web sites you need a multi-channel marketing strategy to reach your customers where there are.

Let’s talk.

Facebook and Privacy

Posting for Facebook. A lot of people have ben posting a notice on Facebook – it is irrelevant.

This is what is making the rounds.
“PRIVACY NOTICE: Warning – any person and/or institution and/or Agent and/or Agency of any governmental structure including but not limited to the United States Federal Government also using or monitoring/using this… website or any of its associated websites, you do NOT have my permission to utilize any of my profile information nor any of the content contained herein including, but not limited to my photos, and/or the comments made about my photos or any other “picture” art posted on my profile. You are hereby notified that you are strictly prohibited from disclosing, copying, distributing, disseminating, or taking any other action against me with regard to this profile and the contents herein. The foregoing prohibitions also apply to your employee, agent, student or any personnel under your direction or control. The contents of this profile are private and legally privileged and confidential information, and the violation of my personal privacy is punishable by law. UCC 1-103″

SEO and Google changes

There is a LOT of chatter going on about Google’s latest update. Google bragged about the number of changes they made in February  – they may be trying to surpass internally set goals.

Basically it means that you have to get back to basics.  I’ve discussed the elements for SEO that you need in previous posts.  Click on this link to download the latest copy of Google’s SEO Starter kit. 

If you go back to basics and play by the rules you should be safe.

Clint Hughes – Marketing Consultant

Marketing Consultant, Award-winning Marketing: PPC, SEO, SEM, Social Media Marketing, DRTV, DR radio, DR print, email. eCommerce expert.