100% agree about the remote employees - particularly in health care. If you think you can 100% work from home…
I’m still recovering from HIMSS22. Between the Daylight Saving Time change and a couple of weeks of hopping across time zones, my sleep has been disrupted for days. After experiencing the new normal of conferences, I wonder what healthcare IT marketing budgets will look like in 2023 and beyond.
A recent Medical Marketing and Media article notes that medical marketing budgets increased by 15% in 2021, although they were still below pre-COVID levels. The data was drawn from pharma, biotech, and medical device companies. It looks like money is being funneled to digital channels as opposed to personal promotion. Those strategies include paid digital advertising, content marketing, social media, websites, and microsites. Physicians should be happy that paid traditional TV advertisements have dipped to around 5% of marketing budgets overall and more than half of respondents aren’t using any paid traditional media, such as TV, print, or radio.
Roughly half of the companies’ marketing budgets were being directed to engage healthcare professionals. While 46% of marketers trying to reach professionals used meetings or events in 2020, this dropped to 40% in 2021. Nearly 37% of respondents said they decreased their meetings and events budgets, and fully a third said they spent nothing on that channel. Those surveyed were positive on using social media to reach healthcare professionals, with 39% increasing their paid social media budgets. Consumer-focused marketing represented 31% of expenditures, with more than half of companies relying on social media.
Speaking of marketing: Anthem plans to change its name and rebrand to Elevance Health. The company says the new name will represent the non-insurance services it offers, including digital health, pharmacy, complex care, behavioral health, and more. It also notes that the new name highlights its “commitment to elevating whole health and advancing health beyond healthcare.”
I’m not a big fan of smashing words together to try to come up with something new, especially since using either word – elevate or advance – doesn’t really say anything about what the company stands for. Fortunately for consumers who are often confused by these rebranding efforts, the names of the Blue Cross Blue Shield health plans it owns will not be changing. Shareholders have to approve the name change at their May meeting, and if I had to vote, I’d want to know how much the rebranding effort will cost and what the company believes the return on the investment will be. Even if the ROI isn’t good, it will still stimulate the economy through countless print orders, website design efforts, and creation of promotional items. As a healthcare consumer, I’d rather see payers spend money on reducing administrative burden and compensating care providers fairly versus buying a bunch of new travel mugs and business cards.
I do a lot of consulting around patient engagement and getting patients to do many pre-visit tasks electronically prior to appointments. There’s always pushback from individuals who feel that patient questionnaires are too long and that they’re not worthwhile. A recent study in JAMA Network Open shows that patients prefer sharing sensitive information electronically rather than in face-to-face encounters. Disclosure of domestic violence, depression, and other conditions was twice as likely when inquiry happened in a tablet-based app compared to questions from a person. The app used in the study was integrated with the EHR, allowing clinicians to better follow up on positive responses to screening questions.
Hopefully this will help solution designers understand that pre-visit gathering can be useful rather than an annoyance to patients. I think more patients would be apt to participate with pre-visit questions if two things happened. First, patients deserve a better explanation of why the provider needs the information and how it can improve quality of care. Second, providers have to actually use the information the patient already provided and make it clear that they’ve reviewed it and might have a couple of follow up questions, rather than just proceeding on autopilot like they may have done for years.
I was interested to read about Amwell making its telehealth platform available through LG’s healthcare platform. It made me instantly think of a Jetsons-like interaction where one could be standing in front of their smart refrigerator having a healthcare visit. On the flip side, integration with smart appliances might be invasive, especially if my healthcare provider can get information on how often I restock the vodka in my refrigerator or how many vegetables are in the crisper drawer. No release date was available, which means either it’s still early in development or they’re just playing coy. If it’s the former and they’re looking for provider and patient opinions, I might know someone who’s interested.
I ran across this article while flying last week. Payers are apparently shelling out $979 million in excess healthcare expenditure due to turnover in the primary care physician ranks. The underlying study estimates that for each primary care physician who leaves practice, there is $86,336 in additional spending the following year. This may be due to patients going to the emergency department because their primary physician left or choosing more expensive specialists to manage problems that could be handled by primary physicians. More than a quarter of the spending was linked to burnout-related turnover.
From Jimmy the Greek: “Re: buzzword bingo. Check out this word salad masterpiece found in a Gartner report.” Gartner says:
Hyperautomation initiatives focus on ensuring that businesses and IT process workflows are as frictionless as possible. This task-level digitization is the foundation for process-level and cross-functional enablement of decision making for business agility and resiliency. Well-architected hyperautomation initiatives demand standardization of processes, which enables improved quality and cycle time. Additionally, digitalization enables accessibility and transparency, which catalyze both human and digital workers.
I’m still trying to wrap my brain around the idea of how one catalyzes a nonhuman worker. For those of us who were educated at a time when the art of diagramming sentence structures was still taught, this paragraph is a masterpiece. Thanks for sharing and for a bit of distraction during a busy day full of conference calls.
What’s the most obtuse thing you’ve read this week? Leave a comment or email me.
Email Dr. Jayne.