Recap of Legato's Visit on Capitol Hill

Posted on February 14, 2017

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All is normal in Washington, D.C.

Normally chaotic, that is. I recently returned from joining the National Rural Health Association's (NRHA) Public Policy Institute to advocate for the needs of rural healthcare organizations. It was a productive and educational experience.

Of course, the elephant (no political pun intended) in the room was the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Will it be repealed, replaced, overhauled, adjusted?

The takeaway for me is that the words "repeal" and "replace" have negative political connotations. Consensus among rural healthcare leaders and members of Congress is that there are positive aspects of the ACA, as well as areas that need improvement. One concern, of course, is making sure that short-term changes don't take away access for patients. Another is that costs are higher than anyone would prefer. My opinion is that the ACA won't be totally repealed and replaced; that just doesn't seem practical.

The healthcare industry leaders in my delegation (Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative) focused on issues such as making sure the 340B program remains, as well as its impact on sustainability for rural hospitals throughout the nation. Leaders such as Black River Memorial Hospital, CEO Mary Beth White-Jacobs explained how the revenue received from this program helped the hospital meet community needs such as hospice and homecare programs.

Robert Van Meeteren, CEO of Reedsburg Area Medical Center educated members of Congress on the importance of fixing the CMS 96-hour rule and its current impact on rural hospitals. Watching people's responses, I genuinely felt that the real-life stories helped legislators see the true face of those who may be affected by their decisions. They learned how a rural hospital's success is not simply about providing healthcare, but it's also the foundation for the economic stability of the entire community.

Thank you to NRHA and to RWHC, for allowing me to join this important event. And thank you for helping me understand the issues in even more depth, thus allowing our team at Legato to use this knowledge in helping you achieve your business goals and effectively compete in the marketplace.

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Mike's Day 3 Journey Update

Posted on February 8, 2016

 

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Today Mike was at Capitol Hill where Senators spoke about these issues surrounding rural health:

  • Senator Al Franken discussed how rural healthcare is not a partisan issue.
  • Senator Shelley Moore Capito focused on deploying broadband in West Virginia to increase access to care through telemedicine. She also discussed her fight against opioid addiction, which unfortunately also is prevalent in rural America.
  • Senator Shelly Moore Capito says, "We are definitely going to repeal the ACA, but not until we have an even stronger replacement in place."

Stay tuned to hear Mike discuss their accomplishments.

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Mike's Journey Update

Posted on February 7, 2017

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Mike Goes to Washington Part 2

Mike Milligan is at the Rural Health Policy Institute and while he's always a vocal advocate for rural healthcare, he's also actively listening. Here are some highlights from the conference:

  • According to Andrew C. Adair, J.D., Government Relations Representative, American Academy of Family Physicians, MACRA is here to stay. "MACRA is not affiliated with the ACA directly, and has strong bi-partisan support. Legislatively, it's not going anywhere. However, there is some uncertainty regarding how nominee HSS Secretary Tom Price will refine it."
  • According to J.R. Greene, Chief Executive Officer, Psychiatric Medical Care, if Medicare Advantage plans continue to expand, or Medicare is privatized, CAHs will need additional financial support to survive.
  • Heather Dimeris, Deputy Associate Administrator, Federal Office of Rural Health Policy, advocates that telehealth can provide the same quality of care as many inpatient settings.
  • Sen. Heidi Heitkamp states, "We cannot leave rural healthcare behind." She encourages us to think for the future and look at all options:  different payment models, telemedicine, "But CMS needs to get out of the way with its over restrictive rules."
  • Rep. Evan Jenkins encourages everyone to hold Congress accountable, not just on the Hill visits this week, but year round.  He suggests advocates keep the pressure on, invite legislators to your hospitals, and organize grass roots efforts in your communities.
  • Brian C. Tabor, Executive Vice President, Indiana Hospital Association, discussing Medicaid expansion and Indiana's HIP 2.0 program states, "I love to see innovative solutions to finding the delicate balance of providing access to care for all people, while understanding the tremendous cost impact for our communities and our nation."
  • Sen. Cory Gardner touts the merits of telemedicine in rural healthcare, explaining that it provides access to quality healthcare, reduces over utilization, and lowers costs for hospitals and patients.

Stay tuned for more of Mike's updates!

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Mike Goes to Washington

Posted on February 6, 2017

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On Feb 7-9, 2017, NRHA will host the largest rural advocacy event in the United States at what may be the country's most critical turning point. Legato's own Mike Milligan will be at the event, advocating for rural healthcare as part of the National Rural Health Association Policy Institute. Among other topics, attendees will be discussing the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Medicaid program, and the recently passed MACRA. Mike is learning firsthand about the impact on rural patients and providers, while representing the voice of hospitals and clinics facing uncertainty.

Each day we will provide you with updates on Mike's journey.

2/6/2017 National Rural Health Association Policy Institute Update: Mike has arrived in DC! But he didn't wait until landing to begin the conversation. In fact, Mike sat next to Michigan Senator, Debbie Stabenow and Wisconsin Senator, Tammy Baldwin on his flight and they discussed how rural hospitals are the economic engines of their communities.

Mike-Debbie

Stay tuned for more of Mike's updates!

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The Importance of Storytelling in Healthcare Marketing

Posted on December 13, 2016

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By: Liz Paulson, Copywriter

Hi everyone! Liz the copywriter here. So, some of you may remember my post about my favorite part of my job: interviewing people!

I've told you why I love telling people's stories and what it does for me personally, but I'd like to expand a bit on why this kind of storytelling is also good for business: how compelling, emotional narratives can help drive patient volumes and establish your facility as a trusted leader in the community.

Let's start by reminding ourselves why we love stories. Why do we watch TV, go to the movies, or read? Why do children sit in rapt attention when someone is telling them a story? Why did those early humans at Lascaux feel compelled to draw on cave walls?

  • Stories connect with us emotionally
  • They make us think
  • They help record history and shared cultural values
  • They help us process and make sense of a chaotic world

Believe it or not, this is what the right kind of storytelling does for your audience. There are a lot of ways to use storytelling for your facility, and the first we will discuss is testimonials. First person testimonials are tried and true ways to grab an audience's attention and put them "in their shoes." Whether it's an elderly gentleman telling how his knee replacement added life to his years, the mom of an addict gratefully acknowledging the rehab facility that saved her son, or a middle-aged dad who enjoys a better quality of life now that he got his sleep disorder under control, these stories tug at heartstrings and allow your audience to see themselves in these real-life examples.

If you're not used to it, finding these kinds of testimonials can be intimidating at first. Just keep at it! In short order, you will be able to sniff out a good story like any beat reporter.

I know what you're thinking at this point: Wait, what if these people don't want to talk about their experiences?

Don't worry! In our experience, people are tremendously happy to share their success. When you speak to a potential testimonial, assure the person that he/she will have complete approval over their portrayal, and in the case of behavioral health, know that name changing and other anonymity measures are totally acceptable.

Once you have your story, be sure to make the most of it! Don't limit yourself to one iteration of your story. If you were doing an on camera interview for an online testimonial for your website, consider an edited version to use on a TV spot. Take still photography so you can use this in a print ad. Mark what words and phrases stick out that would lend themselves to a radio spot.

It may seem obvious, but telling compelling stories will help you build your brand in no time. If you want to learn more about how you can use storytelling for your healthcare facility, contact us today!

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Specialize in Pain Treatment, Not Painful Marketing

Posted on October 19, 2016

Specialize in Pain Treatment, Not Painful Marketing

By: Jared Christianson, Junior Copywriter

Injuries to bones and joints can happen to anybody. With the common nature of orthopedic conditions, it should be easy to attract new patients, right? Not without an effective marketing strategy!

Here are 7 steps for designing a successful marketing plan for your orthopedic clinic:

1. Address a diverse range of orthopedic services.

Focus the majority of your marketing on the most common injuries or treatments - such as shoulder, knee, and hip conditions and procedures - but remember to advertise a wide range of services and conditions. Whether it's spine care or foot and ankle treatments, many people don't realize that orthopedic clinics cover an extensive number of conditions.

2. Highlight your talented specialists.

Patients are drawn in by friendly and warm providers, so introducing them, in addition to highlighting your services, can help increase patient volume. Include a "Meet the Providers" section on your website, create YouTube videos interviewing some of the orthopedic surgeons, and post on social media about different staff members. People like when medical professionals seem accessible and up-to-date with social technology.

3. Show off the impressive features of your facility.

If your facility is modern, comfortable, and appealing to the eye, offer plenty of pictures and videos displaying the inviting features of your facility. Potential patients will see the modernity of your facility and assume that your healthcare and technology are equally new.

4. Come across as less traditional, yet still professional and innovative.

Orthopedic clinics treat patients ranging from kids to the elderly because injuries and pain can happen to anyone. Because of the wide variety of ages, you have to market to them all. Produce marketing campaigns covering anything from high school sports injuries to walking up the stairs safely after hip procedures. Patients appreciate advertising traditional services in a creative, modern fashion.

5. Advertise using broad networks.

As mentioned before, use social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to your advantage. Remember to also maintain traditional marketing strategies like direct mail campaigns and television and radio ads. The more coverage you provide through advertising, the more people you will reach. Examples can include a Facebook post about increasing football injuries because fall is arriving, or a television commercial about an older couple that is able to return to daily activities because of your clinic's services. To make the most effective use of these strategies, know where different audiences are and adopt your messaging to reach the right audience through the correct channel.

6. Use statistics to your advantage.

Every 1 out of 5 adults suffer from diagnosed arthritis. 90% of knee replacements last more than 10 years. Positive statistics like these influence patients dramatically. You can talk about the impressive outcomes from your treatments all you want, but facts and statistics are what stick.

7. Communicate the positive results.

We helped one orthopedic clinic increase new patient visits by 23% in just 10 months. Of course we are going to display that result for other people to see. When people notice positive results, they realize something good has to be happening at that clinic. They would rather go to an orthopedic clinic gaining patients than one losing patients.

All of these tips can help bring in more patients to your orthopedic clinic, but make sure to stay consistent when following them. Just because you created a few successful marketing plans doesn't mean it's time to relax. Always stay aware of new marketing strategies and upcoming trends. It will help separate you from your competitors.

If you want to learn more about marketing your orthopedic clinic, contact us today!

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5 Effective Strategies for Marketing Your Urology Clinic

Posted on September 21, 2016

5 effective strategies for marketing your urology clinic 2

In a world where transparency is vital to a business' success, urology clinics face some obstacles. There can be difficulty in promoting treatments of urologic issues when many people are uncomfortable with the subject matter. However, much like GI clinics and other specialties, urology clinics are becoming increasingly accessible through new attitudes in marketing and social media habits.

Rather than shy away from sensitive topics, embracing your treatments, procedures, and recovery options can be extremely beneficial for your business. Issues like kidney stones, enlarged prostate, and sexual dysfunction are some of the most common disorders in our country.

1 in 7 men will get prostate cancer in their lifetime. 11% of couples will experience some sort of fertility issue. 500,000 people suffer from kidney stones each year.

To not market the services you provide for these conditions would be to miss out on potential client growth and satisfaction.

With that in mind, here are 5 practices to effectively market your urology clinic.

1. Use statistics for your benefit.

The statistics regarding urologic conditions are staggering. With the common nature of urologic problems, you can use statistics to inform, surprise, draw in, and even shock people. If someone sees or hears an advertisement describing prostate cancer without statistics, they might just brush it off and continue with their day. If they hear that 1 in 7 men will get prostate cancer in their lifetime, they might contact their urologist in the near future for a checkup.

2. Promote new technology.

Whether it's new robotic surgery or Greenlight XPS Laser Technology, there are new and innovative developments appearing daily. Promoting these technologies helps potential patients feel safe knowing they will be receiving the best care with top-quality equipment. New technology advances also show a pursuit for constant change and improvement in the urology field.

3. Know your target markets.

Urology clinics treat many female patients, but male patients make up most of the business. You should still use about 40% of your marketing efforts to cater to women, but focus the majority of the marketing on men. When marketing to women, remember these strategies:

  • Emphasize how many women don't realize they can be treated at a urologist and showcase the variety of services offered for female urologic conditions.
  • Make sure you feature your female providers or mid-level providers in marketing plans as well; many women feel more comfortable being treated by other women when it comes to urologic care.
  • Encourage women to help their male partners see a urologist; men, on average, are less likely to visit the doctor for health issues.

4. Broaden your reach.

You can't expect people to hear about you through word-of-mouth or to somehow stumble upon your website on their own. With the incredible number of outlets for advertising in the world, use them to your advantage. Television, radio, social media, email, and direct mail are just a few of the methods in which you can market your services.

5. Provide variable content.

If you broaden your reach in as many channels as possible, you can't just use the same content for each format. Determine your target markets, develop a plan and calendar, and define your service line priorities. You can create a Facebook post that links to a blog written about prostate cancer prevention, and the blog directs the user to an eBook on your website. You can put together YouTube videos of provider profiles to display their accessibility and personality.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to marketing formats and strategies. The key is to take advantage of the possibilities. If you follow these tips when developing a marketing plan for your urology clinic, you're bound to improve your results.

When it comes to marketing your urology clinic, obstacles can present themselves along the way. If you are looking for a comprehensive plan to get you started, contact us today!

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5 Rules for Linking Business and Communication Goals

Posted on September 1, 2016

5 Rules for Linking Business and Communication Goals

By: Chelsea Rank, Account Coordinator

Whether you want to attract more followers to your business' Facebook page or persuade a particular audience to use your services, it all starts with a goal: a big picture statement of the outcome you hope to achieve.

In most cases, the goal of any business is to increase profitability. This can be accomplished through identifying a certain audience, leveraging certain marketing efforts, or creating brand awareness through media coverage. But how often have you thought about business and communication goals being separate from one another?

Communication goals create awareness, build a reputation, or shape attitudes, thereby helping achieve business goals. There are five strategies to consider when outlining a plan to leverage marketing to achieve business success:

The Five "C's"

  1. A successful organization aligns the coordinates of their business and communication goals. They are not separate entities-rather, they are linked. For example, social media goals are subordinate to business core values. Social media strategy, however, is in constant support of overall business strategy. Applying resources to reach the common goal between the business and communication strategy as effectively as possible will reinforce your organization.
  2. It could be oral, written, or visual, but content drives audience engagement. Knowing what to feature and what to avoid will help retain customers and attract new ones. Maintaining consistent core messages while knowing the difference between risk and opportunity will help optimize content to audience needs. In a way, this protects core values by eliminating clutter and highlighting important messages.
  3. The channels in which you choose to display your message can mean just as much as the message itself. Know which social media platforms to use and which to leave behind.  Your website is always your home base, and social media should support and drive traffic back there.
  4. Connections between digital tactics and traditional tactics will help link messages. There needs to be a common ground between social media platforms and other communication tools. Additionally, maintaining valuable relationships between stakeholders, competitors, and other audiences is imperative, and also demonstrates the importance of external connections.
  5. Assessing effectiveness through corrections will determine the best way to repair errors and continue to improve. Using audience interaction and feedback to improve and correct your goals is essential. Things don't always go as planned, but adjusting and trying again will sharpen your strategy. Tracking your digital efforts' return on investment is also important, so you can learn what is most effective. Setting up tracking from the beginning is the best way to continuously monitor and improve.

Marketing in any capacity drives business success, but especially in the healthcare realm. These five strategies will help your healthcare organization refine goals and determine how marketing can best achieve them.

 

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How to Design an Effective Marketing Strategy for Your Gastrointestinal (GI) Clinic

Posted on August 18, 2016

How to Design an Effective Marketing Strategy for Your Gastrointesinal (GI) Clinic

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, disorders of the gastrointestinal tract (GI) affect 60 to 70 million people in the United States every year. And that's not counting the millions more with undiagnosed symptoms. Colon cancer alone is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths each year, even though it can be detected early through colonoscopies. With over 20% of the population suffering from GI issues, the phone in your gastrointestinal specialty clinic should be ringing off the hook.

But what if it's not?


Well, you might not be marketing your clinic to its full potential. Like any specialty field of healthcare, marketing your GI clinic effectively is key to your success. How are people going to walk through your doors if they don't even know what you offer?

Here are 7 steps for designing a successful marketing plan for your GI clinic:

1. Understand your patients' needs.

Yes, you might have the latest and greatest technology for a certain procedure. And yes, maybe you have a recent interest in Zenker's Diverticulum, but what are most of your patients actually looking for?

Place high priority on common GI issues that will attract the greatest number of patients possible. For example, celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and heartburn are just a few of the most common GI conditions that occur. Think of your marketing like a tree: start with the trunk, and branch out from there.

2. Determine your target markets.

You're off to a good start, but now you have to put faces to names. What ages are you targeting? What level of knowledge does your target market have? Specific outlines of whom you're aiming for will go a long way in the creative process.

Also think about what stage your target markets are at in the process. Have they self-diagnosed? Have they been evaluated but didn't seek treatment? The messaging will vary based on their knowledge.

3. Design customized strategies for each market.

Would you give your 8-year-old nephew a brand new car for his birthday? No, because it doesn't make sense.

Same concept applies for your target markets. Different messaging and unique approaches will apply to each target market you're trying to reach. Brainstorm with your creative team and come up with several options for each market to draw in as many patients as possible.

4. Develop creative, but appropriate messaging.

Many of us wouldn't read a billboard that says, "Stop in today!" next to a picture of a GI clinic and get off the nearest exit to rush there.

Messaging should highlight your services, providers, quality of patient care and more. It should be creative and attention grabbing, yet informational and inviting. For example, a billboard might feature a line that says, "Fight Heartburn Today," and a graphic of a person in a boxing ring with heartburn. Cheesy? Maybe. But will it grab a person's attention more than a boring picture of your clinic? Yes.

5. Highlight your strengths.

You probably have many impressive features within your GI clinic, but make sure to highlight the ones specific to what separates you from your competitors. Strengths such as friendly physicians, convenience, or a comfortable, warm facility can attract new patients. For example, one GI clinic features content about their onsite surgery center because it's more convenient for patients than having to go to two separate facilities for the evaluation and surgery.

6. Provide content.

Use social media to your advantage. People look online for everything these days, so posting relevant information tailored to your markets' needs can attract a broad range of potential business. Social media content can include anything from blogs, Facebook posts, or tweets, but remember to fit each post within the style of the particular platform. An effective social media strategy would include a Facebook post about a healthy diet for people with Crohn's disease and a tweet about new summer hours and availability for patients.

7. Track your results and adapt to change.

If the first strategy you tried isn't working, don't just give up and revert back to old ways. Monitor your results, ask what you could be doing better, and adapt to the changing market. It might take some time, but the results will be positive in the end.

A well-designed GI clinic-marketing plan involves understanding, planning, acting and reacting to the needs and wants of the potential patients in your community. An effective marketing strategy will significantly increase the amount of traffic that walks through your doors, and will grow your business to the point where new patients consistently seek your clinic for their gastrointestinal needs.

When it comes to marketing your GI clinic, challenges can present themselves along the way. If you are looking for a comprehensive plan to get you started, contact us today!

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Everyday Blessings: 4 Lessons I've Learned from Interviewing in Healthcare Marketing

Posted on July 25, 2016

Interviewing

By Liz Paulson, Copywriter

My journalism career was over before it began. In 2002 as the associate news editor for the Boston College newspaper, I was assigned the task of reaching out to families of the BC alums who had died in the 9/11 attacks for the first anniversary of the tragedy. The paper was going to do a spread on it.

"Ask them to tell us what their kid liked about BC," instructed the managing editor.

"How do I know if I have the right family?" I asked.

"Ask them if they're missing anyone this time of year," the managing editor snickered.

I nodded. And then I spent the next week ignoring the assignment, yet thinking about it constantly. Who was I, a 20 year-old girl from Wisconsin, to call up grieving parents and ask them if their dead child had fond memories of tailgating at football games or throwing keggers in the Mods?

It didn't take my swift and subsequent dismissal from the newspaper staff to tell me what I already knew: I didn't have the stomach to be a journalist.

So, a decade and a half later, I was a little apprehensive about just one part of my new job at Legato: interviewing people who have suffered or faced challenges I knew nothing about for the publications that we help clients produce.

But, lucky for me, everyone I get to talk to for my job actually wants to talk to me. They want to share their stories of triumphing over an unlucky blow to their health. I also get to speak with featured hospital employees for each publication. They are always so gracious and pleased to share with me how much they love what they do. It's now my favorite part of my job: talking to regular people who have amazing attitudes and plenty of life experience to share.

Although it may not always make it into their articles, I've made it a habit to ask everyone I speak with what their secret is. If they're in love with their job, I ask why. If they're still happily married after 60 years, I ask how. If they have every right to be really mad at life for the situation they're in, but aren't, I ask why not. Here are some of my all-time favorite "secrets to life":

A woman who has been married for almost sixty years, whose husband takes her hand wherever they go, even if it's to cardiac rehab, told me this:

"Treat your husband like a flower. If you yell and berate the flower, it will wither and die. If you lavish love and sunshine on the flower, it will thrive and bloom for you."

 

The gentleman who was the oldest resident at his nursing home said faith was key:

"I can do all things though Christ," he said. "I try to be a blessing to others because the Lord has blessed me."

A nurse who works in the emergency room of a critical access hospital said that it was easy to have a good attitude at her job:

"Every day I see firsthand that every day is a gift. How could I possibly be negative when I know that life is so fragile and precious? I'm blessed to be able to do the work that I do."

The head housekeeper at a hospital admitted that changing linens wasn't the most glamorous part of her job, but that it was her privilege to interact with the patients:

"We might be the only people a patient sees all day who isn't there to poke them or give them bad news. It's our duty to do whatever we can to make their experience as comforting and comfortable as possible."

I have yet to speak to a bitter elderly person. I have yet to hear a featured staff member complain. I don't think it's a coincidence. I am convinced you don't get to be old if you don't have the good sense and the good humor to be grateful for your time on earth. And you don't become an outstanding employee by complaining about problems. You do so by solving them.

I'm so glad I never became a proper journalist. I know I'll never win a Pulitzer for the work I do on hospital publications, but I'm really, really proud of it. I have the honor of telling the remarkable stories of everyday people-people who, even though they may never get a better 15 minutes of fame than having their pictures printed in a local publication, have as much to teach the world as anyone on the cover of Time or the homepage of The Wall Street Journal. Maybe even more so.

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