Posted on February 14, 2017
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
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repealed, replaced, overhauled, adjusted?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won't be totally repealed and replaced; that just doesn't seem
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.
Posted on February 8, 2016
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
- 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
Stay tuned to hear Mike discuss their accomplishments.
Posted on February 7, 2017
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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
Posted on February 6, 2017
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
Stay tuned for more
of Mike's updates!
Posted on December 13, 2016
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:
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
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
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
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
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!
Posted on October 19, 2016
By: Jared Christianson, Junior
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
Here are 7 steps for designing a successful marketing plan for
your orthopedic clinic:
1. Address a diverse range of orthopedic
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
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,
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
If you want to learn more about marketing your orthopedic
clinic, contact us today!
Posted on September 21, 2016
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
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
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
- Emphasize how many women don't realize they can be treated at a
urologist and showcase the variety of services offered for female
- 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
- Encourage women to help their male partners see a urologist;
men, on average, are less likely to visit the doctor for health
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
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
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!
Posted on September 1, 2016
By: Chelsea Rank, Account
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
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"
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
Posted on August 18, 2016
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
Here are 7 steps for designing a successful marketing plan for
your GI clinic:
1. Understand your patients'
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
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
3. Design customized strategies for each
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
4. Develop creative, but appropriate
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
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
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
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!
Posted on July 25, 2016
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
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
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
"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.