Whose Health Is It, Anyway?

Posted on November 8, 2012

JohnCorpusHead6By: John Corpus, Vice President of Strategy, Legato Healthcare Marketing

My mom was always afraid of going to the doctor because she feared he would tell her that she was going to die. One May, while at a Milwaukee Brewers game, she had a hard time catching her breath. So she finally decided that she better go to the doctor. He told her that she was going to die.

Do you ever wonder how much we determine our own fate? We take for granted that "bad things" happen to other people, allowing us to have - or justify - unhealthy behavior. We take risks, e.g., no annual physical, no exercise, and eating poorly.

Doctors and health systems primarily take care of "health issues," providing, for the most part, "sickcare." Yet, we call it healthcare. I know, I am not telling you anything new, but I will.

As a marketing agency, we do get caught up in the typical healthcare hype, but it is difficult to reach beyond when - no matter the genius behind the creative - the client pulls us back to something much safer and more comfortable.

Still, our clients pay us to stay ahead of the curve, to see the objective reality hidden within traditional healthcare marketing. Objective reality simply means that we take a step back and say, out loud, that something is what it is: again, healthcare is really sickcare. So how do we send the right message?

It is time that doctors and health systems truly participate in providing "healthcare," but how? Well, let's ignore the non-healthcare services (sickcare), such as those related to surgeries and illness, rehabilitation and recovery, and disease management.

For example, we have all seen this: the patient who has high cholesterol is placed on a medication to lower it, but is also instructed to adopt healthy behaviors to 1) eliminate the need for the medication and 2) become healthier. But, the patient may not take the medication regularly, may not exercise or eat properly, and therefor, the patient is on the medication for life, if not overly long.

Instead, let's focus on those services that provide people with the tools, resources, and information they need to stay healthy, e.g., smoking cessation, exercise and workout facilities, diet and personal hygiene-true healthcare. However, these services alone do not constitute healthcare.

There is one element missing, and it is the most important one regarding healthcare: personal, individual accountability. You see, it doesn't matter what the health system/provider side does if the patient doesn't participate in his/her care. In fact, the individual must be acknowledged as the primary caretaker of his/her own health. Now, we have a platform from which to market.

So, from a marketing perspective, I ask you to consider the following before you commence your healthcare marketing planning:

  • Healthcare, as it stands now, is really sickcare. We need to redefine it.
  • For health systems, doctors and marketers, it is a matter of understanding who the real primary caretaker is.
  • True healthcare is not going to be found in the hospitals and with the doctors: true healthcare is grounded in individual lifestyle. Doctors and health systems are simply resources and vehicles for feedback. Sickcare is at the discretion of the health system and providers; true healthcare is at the discretion of the individual.
  • In essence, the level to which an individual participates in his/her own healthcare is a considerable factor in determining his/her fate.

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Seizing on the Power of Engagement

Posted on November 15, 2012

nicolehangartner_head2-e1335213473498By: Nicole Hangartner, Account Executive Legato Healthcare Marketing

We've all searched for videos on YouTube, clicked on an option, decided that wasn't quite the one we wanted, and stopped watching it 10 seconds in. Is it fair that a video with a catchy headline and lots of clicks, but no real content, has a higher search rank than a video that has actually been watched?

YouTube doesn't think so.

So its changed the way it ranks its video search results-now taking into account how long a video is actually watched instead of simply how many clicks it gets.

YouTube wants to encourage people to really watch its videos, and the best way to do that is reward the ones that keep viewers engaged. This will encourage companies, celebrities and regular people to make sure their videos are interesting enough, funny enough, or helpful enough to keep a viewer's attention until the end.

But this doesn't mean your videos have to be shorter in hopes of retaining attention or longer to increase potential watch time. The goal is to ensure videos are interesting and engaging, so people will actually want to watch them.

Making Watchable Healthcare Videos

While I was at the 2012 WHPRMS (Wisconsin Public Relations and Marketing Society) Annual Conference in October, I attended a session on documentary filming. I learned some great ways to make your healthcare videos more interesting and engaging.

The biggest takeaway for me was "avoiding the talking head." I thought that if a patient story was emotional or "miraculous," people might look past the fact that the patient was just sitting next to a window talking. But from this session, I learned that it is pretty easy to add simple visual variety that can go a long way in terms of interest level for viewers.

Instead of just setting up the lights and camera in a conference room, go out and follow your patient testimonials to their homes or work places. Capture footage of their hobbies, their family, their pets and their passions.

For physicians, have them give you a walking tour of the facility or have them show you what the patient experience is like.

Not only does capturing this "action footage" enable you to add visual variety to your video, but it also helps make your patient or physician more comfortable. Plus, these alternative settings help further tell your story.

And don't worry; you can still perform the actual interview as a "talking head." This allows you do to two things:

  1. Capture any emotions the subject portrayed as they told the story.
  2. Record audio to use as a voice over during the "action" scenes.

Do It Yourself

The thing to remember is, if your videos are just going on YouTube, every single one doesn't have to be expensive or professionally produced. Invest in a decent point and shoot camera or a simple video camera and become your healthcare organization's own documentary filmmaker.

Learn more about how watch time affects search rankings from the YouTube Creator Blog.

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