Webinar: Marketers & communicators lead the way to growth

Webinar: Marketers & communicators lead the way to growth

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Friday, June 12, 2020 | BrandActive

Nationwide, healthcare leaders are rising to the challenges of COVID-19 and looking ahead to a post-pandemic future. Now more than ever, marketing and communication executives are critical in redefining and communicating that future.

Key takeaways from this webinar, a partnership between BrandActive and Forum for Healthcare Strategists,  included how to leverage the goodwill generated during the crisis to establish your organization as a valuable community resource, strategies for getting patients back into your health system, and how to operate with more efficiently moving forward.

Our expert panel:

  • Suzanne Sawyer, SVP, Chief Marketing & Communications Officer, Johns Hopkins Medicine
  • David Perry, Senior Advisor, Stanford Health Care
  • Jean Hitchcock, President, Hitchcock Marketing & Communications
  • Moderatored by Philip Guiliano, Partner, BrandActive

Full Transcript below:

Philip:

Great. Thank you, Daniel. I’m very pleased to be here with everybody and share this forum. As Daniel said, I’m Phillip Giuliano. And for those that don’t know me, I spent the majority of my early career as an M&A and org change consultant. And I’m now 14 years into my journey here at BrandActive where we don’t do brand strategy and creative as the name might indicate. But rather we focus on the financial analysis and the logistics of random limitation and marketing operations, which really just means that we save health systems a lot of money and improve efficiencies and the outcomes of large brand initiatives, or just how they operate managing the brand that they already have on a day to day basis. And so that’s why this kind of a topic, particularly how you operate during a crisis and how you set yourself up to emerge from a crisis, was a really interesting thing for us to put together a panel around.

Philip:

So I know that I speak for everyone when I say that we appreciate you all choosing to spend your time with us today. With the group that we have gathered here, I’m pretty sure you’re going to come away with some interesting insights and ideas. And as David mentioned, we will have a Q&A about 15 to 20 minutes or so of that at the end of the session. You can submit your questions, I’ll get to them. We also have a couple of poll questions in here as well. So with that, joining me today we’ve got a really great panel of people. We’ve got Kevin Mabbutt, SVP and Chief Consumer Office at Intermountain Health Care. We’ve got David Perry, a Senior Advisor at Stanford Medicine. Suzanne Sawyer, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Communications Officer at Johns Hopkins Medicine and Jean Hitchcock, president of Hitchcock Marketing & Communications.

Philip:

So together through this session we’re going to be looking at how healthcare leaders are rising to the challenges of COVID, leading their organizations as they redefine everything from activities and priorities and operations and communications needs in the face of what we all know is a very dynamic patient need environment right now, as well as a very dynamic business landscape in order to drive reputation and obviously ultimately grabbing them. So to begin, we’ve got some interesting data points from Binary Fountain that I think serve as an interesting warmup as we move into the session. So they surveyed over 300 healthcare marketers to determine how the crisis has changed their daily routine and marketing priorities. And when you look at this there’s some things that change quite a bit and a lot of things that didn’t change a lot, but obviously you look at it and you say, okay, emphasis on crisis communications and social channels were stronger during COVID, not surprising. And also not surprising based on just traditionally how healthcare marketing organizations respond or how healthcare organizations in general respond.

Philip:

Albeit not always the most prudent thing to do is how the emphasis on branding went down during this time. The panelists will get into this as we get into the conversation, obviously this is an aggregate view and not all health systems are responding in the same way. Not all of these health systems respond in the same way. Another little final warmup slide here is looking at what channels were used to actually do those communications efforts that we talked about on the previous slide. And it’s interesting, even as we’re talking with clients of ours, the emphasis on phone calls, email marketing, text messages, those kinds of things, that’s expected during a time like this. And some of the clients that we work with are even ramping up things that they’re doing with physical mail efforts and things of that nature.

Philip:

So we’re going to get again into how these organizations on this panel and then dealing with the communications challenges during this time. So with that I think it would be great to jump into hold for the audience, just to see where everyone’s barometer is. And the question that we’ve got right now is, what will be the most impactful and long lasting change element for marketing departments and health systems following COVID-19? Got a few canned answers in there. We’ve also given you the opportunity to write in your own. And obviously if the canned answers fit, what you want to say then do that, because it’ll give us some better results, but otherwise, if you want to throw something in there then by all means, go for it.

Philip:

Just going to give this a little bit of time as everyone responds to things. I know we put a few answers on there. Everything from M&A to dealing with bankruptcies and closures, dealing with layoffs and restructuring, increased importance of marketing departments. This is a really interesting one that we’re going to talk about. So let’s give this maybe… Yup. And there it is. All right. So just looking at this, I wonder if I’m actually able to interact with this here and I am. Generally, wow, that is great. Actually, increased strategic importance of marketing within the organization. We’re seeing that across all of our clients, honestly. This has presented a really interesting time for people to deal across whether it’s IT or finance or operations. That’s really great agile mindsets, fewer financial resources.

Philip:

Yeah. Hopefully that won’t be the case when we think about things in a long-lasting way, particularly with increased strategic importance of marketing within the organization, if that can be leveraged properly, then hopefully that frees up financial resources. So that’s really great. Thanks for taking the time to actually answer that. I think it just let’s us all see where we’re all thinking as we move into this. So let’s start in and dive into the panel discussion. We’re going to start off on the brand direction and I’ll just kind of remind the panel as we get into this as I’m going to direct questions individually at you particularly here at the start and yeah, just to play off each other as we get into it, don’t be afraid to do that, even though I’m asking the question directly.

Philip:

So let’s start with you Suzanne. First and foremost, thank you. Thank you to Hopkins for the role that it’s played during this crisis as well. And it goes without saying that the value that Hopkins has brought to the nation with the resource center that you’ve created. And I’m just curious as we start off on the brand side of things, how is this ultra-brand?

Suzanne:

Wow, well I think by now most folks probably are familiar with what you’re talking about, the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. It features the COVID-19 map and tracker that I think we all know well at this point. But it also includes other content from across Hopkins, school of public health, engineering, medicine, the Center for Health Security and Johns Hopkins Medicine, the health system itself. So I would say that while many of us know it, especially for tracking the COVID cases themselves. The additional content, the full range of information that was cited again and again, is really became a one Hopkins kind of moment from a substantive point of view, but also from a brand point of view. And I would say that as a result, I think the Hopkins brand has never been stronger. And we’ve also just recently received some new market research that shows that Hopkins is now showing as number one as America’s top research university. And so the impact on the Johns Hopkins medicine brand itself, meaning the hospitals and health system is seeing significant reputation, growth and momentum.

Philip:

I mean, I’m curious, this is not a small effort to create and to populate and to manage. Is there anything that you can share with the group as a whole around what it took for the organization to dive right in to make this happen so quickly?

Suzanne:

Oh, it’s a really interesting story. Thanks for asking. Well on a weekend, in the end of February, our precedent Ron Daniels, president of the university said, “I see a lot of content starting to emerge about coronavirus.” And he said, “We’ve got a lot of content across our websites. What if we brought it all together, along with this map that our engineering group put together?” And said, “Let’s put this together, something across the university that all of our schools can contribute to and let’s do it.” I think it was on a Sunday afternoon and he said, “Let’s have it up by Tuesday.” And we did. And it was an incredibly remarkable lift, but it just grew from there and it just took off.

Philip:

That’s awesome. Thanks for sharing. I was curious. David, what about at Stanford Medicine? I know that you’ve also launched video series and other educational elements, and I’m curious what you’re seeing with the brand overall.

David:

We had a discussion internally about, we were about ready to evolve our brand a bit at the time that COVID hit. And what we realized is how you behave, how you operate within a crisis like COVID, really defines your brand. So the perception of it I think locally, regionally and nationally, hats off to Suzanne and the team at Johns Hopkins for their broad effort around the map. And we look at that as well as the healthcare system. For us, we zeroed in on a couple of things. We had a physician interested in doing a digital tracker, so form of content. So he is tracking day to day thousands and thousands of folks that are responding to a daily survey. That was something we needed to jump in and support and embrace. And we adopted what we call the four Es ease around our patients and our referring physicians, our audiences. And that’s engage, educate, encourage, and enable.

David:

So everything we did first and foremost was to educate. Our priority was safety. And we built some videos around that, are continuing to do that. I think those will probably go on beyond COVID because we started to understand how powerful that type of medium can be for all types of topics. And it just turns out we have created around 10 to 12 themes, and we’re in the midst of that. I think the third or fourth one, but I hope that, I think a lot of the panels will tell you, I hope a lot of the things we’ve adopted, whether it’s a virtual video series. Some of this outreach we’re doing to track the map that Suzanne’s team is doing, I hope there are remnants of that or legacy of that. Some of the agility that you get from this effort, your kind of a change in mindset will retain. So I see a lot of the content we’re generating being something that we just continue to work on, develop a really rich content calendar. I think that’s one of the outcomes you’ll see from that for our brand at Stanford Medicine.

Philip:

Jean, you know that we do a lot of work inside of healthcare, obviously, biggest practice, but we do a lot outside of healthcare. And as I think about times of downturn, whether it’s oil, gas, and energy, or whether it’s financials in 2008. Times like this really present a lot of opportunity for people around brand either during the time to build goodwill because you are basically the major focus of a pandemic element. Or also to really position themselves to catapult once things start freeing up and things start opening back up from a brand perspective and really say something new and different to the community. I know you’ve got a unique perspective because you work across multiple systems and advisory roles. Is there anything that you want to say about what you would be doing or what you were advising people to be doing with brand during this time?

Jean:

Well, I think a lot of people, their branding really was more around public relations and taking more of a public affairs role with their community. Also my hats off to Suzanne and Johns Hopkins, they’ve done a wonderful job. But it is an opportunity for the marketing department to look at its own brand in the sense that they are uniquely positioned to drive business to their organizations. And that they have an exterior input from the market and they have a knowledge of the market and how to market to it. So this is a time I think, for marketing to step forward and partner with finance and operations to drive business. And I do think that we are enjoying, and I say the collective we as someone who’s been in healthcare a long time, of much higher respect and recognition by our communities.

Jean:

The outpouring of support to heroes has been amazing. And then the white coat supporting the black matters, it’s just becoming a ground swell that we haven’t enjoyed all the time. We lost a little bit of our luster of not being the community resource. I think we’re getting a lot of that back and it’s just been so heartwarming to see that.

Philip:

Yeah. That’s a great thinking. It kind of shifts us into the organizational perception element of this talk. Why don’t we jump into there because you mentioned it, so I’m curious, Kevin, how has this at Intermountain, the COVID situation, the pressures and stresses, the shifts in technology and so on. How has that put marketing more on the map within your system across operations, finance, other operations, various [inaudible 00:15:20]? Oh, we may not actually have sound for Kevin. All right. Well, I’m going to direct that back to you, Suzanne. Can you share anything about how those perceptions have been shifting within marketing and any opportunities that you might actually see to again, elevate marketing’s perception within the organization in your ability to get things done?

Suzanne:

Yeah, sure. I would echo Jean’s comments. I think this really is a time of, in some ways resurgence and in some ways a new appreciation of what marketing can and should do. I think marketing just brings so much to the table. I think much more than is often understood. I would say inside of our organizations marketing is a strategic business function. And I think that’s more important now perhaps than ever. Especially when healthcare is going through a structural change and reinvention in the wake of COVID. I mean, I think part of what we bring is a really deep understanding of the patients, the families and the communities that we serve. I think we have a role in shaping our culture internally, as well as our external view, our reputation and how to express our brands really in a human way.

Suzanne:

And I guess the other big thing I would add is that I think marketing is now also a technology business in so many ways. And so with that, we’ve got both the ability and the accountability to drive measurable growth. So these are just some of the things where I think marketing makes a big difference now more than ever.

Philip:

Yeah. David you’ve mentioned your investments into MarTech and the organizational’s appetite for these kinds of things, even during a time of lower investment and shifting priorities towards that. Can you share anything with the group on that?

David:

Well, what you realize in a crisis like COVID-19 is for us, we don’t have everything built out that we would like for instance, the digital asset management tool would have been great for all this content to make it a lot easier to access, repurpose, et cetera. So I think more than anything, it was a lesson learned not only from marketing who has to ask for money, obviously finance and our best friends at work, finance and operations. But I think the rest of the organization just realized how important those tools are and how they’ve become more important. And the good news is this comes at a time where those tools are probably more accessible, more deployable than they’ve ever been with cloud-based computing. So that’s been a really kind of a good turn of events for us, I’d say lemons to lemonade in our case. And I think we’ll be able to invest even further in those.

David:

The other thing I’d say to add on to Suzanne, she made some great points. We are really called upon to bring kind of the research and insights because there’s a lot of anecdotal evidence within the hospital where people are going every day and you’re locked down particularly during the height of COVID, we did not experience the surge than others. Some others did, particularly in New York. But people within the organization had a view of, well, this is what patients feel. This is what referring physicians feel. We actually knew because we generated research around that and taken third party research and extrapolated it and we were able to kind of calm a little bit and say, this is what people need to know now. Now frankly, it varies between say, San Mateo County and Santa Clara County, there are policies for each County. There’s Northern California after all, are pretty serious about these things.

David:

So I think we added a lot of value on that front as well, not only the technology, but just some of the insights that we could bring forward to add value to discussions internally about who, what, when we’re able to communicate and what we’re able to say and how we’ll calm the fears of our community, our patients, and our referring physicians.

Philip:

Yeah. So I’m going to jump us ahead here a little bit in the conversation because some questions are coming in around telehealth and we’re talking about technology now. So I think we might as well just jump right into that real quick, Jean. The day and the sun has arrived, right. And everyone has scrambled to figure out how to make something that was on everyone’s radar for years and years happening, weeks and weeks, so.

Jean:

Right. Just story after story that we’ve all heard of the people around the United States who got their telehealth program up overnight. They’ve been talking about it forever. So necessity was the mother of invention. I also think the same urgency is something we need with the rest of the MarTech. If you’re in the middle of looking at CRM and you’re making the case, boy, you really have an opportunity now to make that case, you can really show how you can bring the right kind of business to your organization, that you can fill physician practices. So in some ways it’s an opportunity for marketers to leverage that because we have these tools, as Dave said, like we’ve never had before and we can really demonstrate what we bring to the table. So while a lot of vendors selections that I was involved in were put on hold around the end of February, they’re all starting to gear up again, because they’re saying to their CEOs, “I can help you meet your bottom line. I can do this.”

Jean:

And to Suzanne’s point, if we weren’t in healthcare, that’s what they would expect marketing to do. So our day has come, I think. I’m very excited about people I work with who are seeing this as an opportunity and not as, “Oh my God, what are we going to do?” Because look at telehealth as the way we moved, we can move when we have to. And I think telehealth is the rallying call.

Philip:

Anyone else on the panel want to share anything about telehealth or tech before we shift gears here real quick?

Suzanne:

Yeah. If I may, this is Suzanne again, exactly what you just said, Jean. A week and a half ago, I checked my proposal to invest in a CRM and as well as claims data for PRM activity and some other things, and had great support going in and had the good fortune to have an approval come through. So this is something that I think Hopkins and many other organizations have wanted for quite some time to be able to do exactly what you said, which is to help build the right business in a way that’s efficient. And it is our time to be able to contribute in this meaningful way. I agree.

David:

I would add to that as well. I think you learn a lot of things in a crisis like this and our telehealth encounter shot up in a couple of areas that I didn’t really anticipate. I’m the father of a special needs son. And so when you look into kind of mental health, behavioral health, a lot of those patients probably would prefer telehealth services, right? They would want to go into large facilities and encounter people. And so I think that might be a benefit to some of our population health efforts. Some of those service lines that may not be our tier one investments where we are be able to cast a wider net providing even more services cost-effectively because it looks like the payers have joined in and are supporting telehealth, that was a key obstacle to overcome. So there’s another great lemons to lemonade story, I think here from the standpoint of reimbursement in new areas of service. So I’m pretty excited about this. I think it’s going to be a very positive long-term effect for the healthcare industry and for marketing, where we can actually support it, bring to the floor

Philip:

I want to keep the optimistic energy going and the positivity going. And yet I wanted to ask the question about money because this is one of those forums where we’ve got a lot of people online. They don’t necessarily always have visibility into what’s happening with so many organizations or powerful organizations like yours from a marketing budget standpoint. So very quick dialogue around, are your budgets shrinking? Are they staying the same? Focus is shifting? Suzanne, why don’t we start with you?

Suzanne:

Sure. I mean, budgets are tight. For all of healthcare right now for hospitals, health systems, provider groups. That being said again, I would just say the kinds of things that we are able to do with thoughtful kinds of investments. Like these platform kinds of technologies, at least at Hopkins are getting a hearing, which is really good. There’s also openness to the other items on our strategic roadmap where we are able to better connect and engage with patients, referring providers and so on. We’ll see what’s around the corner. But at the moment there is real openness for the conversation where they maybe had heard about these things, but not necessarily understood them, now they’re necessary. So we’re getting a good audience for it.

Philip:

Right. So I’ve got a communications question, one final communications question, and then we’ll jump into another poll question. So with little national direction in different policies that exist from state to state, from county to county, from city to city, especially in systems like yours that have such good span of attention. How are you engaging with and communicating to the public to let them know what is available? What’s open? Are you going to reengage them and prepared to reengage them back into the health system and drive them towards the things that are necessary services for them on a health basis and also profitable for that whole system? Jean, do you want to jump in on that one first?

Jean:

Let me take the role of the patient. And I’ll let my colleagues here be the provider side. Where I live is there’s four contiguous states and Washington DC and I have used a number of health systems. I have received a number of communications from the different health systems I’m a patient of, the most effective have been when my personal physician’s office doesn’t have to be the doctor, but if the office calls or someone is there to answer my questions. Because the chief medical officer sending a letter to every patient who has ever seen one of the doctors or one of the physicians in the medical group, it doesn’t hit. Because patients want to know stuff like, “Do I sit in my car till it’s time?” And those letters tend to be 50,000 feet.

Jean:

So from a patient’s perspective, I’d appreciated the personalized emails or the ability to call my doctor’s offices and that they’re informed. So for me, that’s been very, very beneficial. And I also have shared with this group the other day that the Cleveland Clinic who’s a huge system, has done a wonderful job with their portal. And that would be something I would encourage people to take a look at. I’ll turn it over to the others to be providers.

Philip:

Suzanne, do you want to jump in on that?

Suzanne:

Yeah, sure. First, I would just say honestly the predecessor to answering the question was what is our process for bringing care back? And I would just say that at Hopkins, it was a very deliberate process to really define our clinical approach and methods and to returning to care and to developing a prioritization kind of schema to manage a backlog of more than 10,000 cases. And so the communications effort then became very important to be very intentional. What is going to happen on the outpatient basis? What about ambulatory surgery, urgent but not emergent cases? And so we did take a very purposeful approach of the kind of very personalized outreach, especially for those complex cases or urgent cases, those first. So we had a really tightly orchestrated approach, but we had surgeons calling patients as well as patient service reps, calling patients. It depended. But the outreach was very important and the engagement was really interesting. The feedback that patients had was remarkable.

Suzanne:

I think many of us have seen the market research that showed at least early on and it’s tapering off that people are extremely anxious about returning for care, especially within the first three months. And so being able to reassure about that kind of detail that you were talking about, Jean, what exactly am I going to encounter? What is my experience going to be like, how are you cleaning the surfaces? How are you going to tell my husband that my procedure is over and he can come and collect me now? And so all of those things really helped to inform how we approached getting back to business, so to speak and engaging with our patients first and foremost.

Philip:

Kevin, I believe that you’re back with us now. And I would love to direct a question back at you before we go to the poll. So just thinking back to what we’ve covered so far, I’d love to ask you what you see as the biggest challenges that you still have ahead of you and also the biggest opportunities that you see in the time that you’ve spent over the last 10 weeks or so during all of the COVID fallout and recovery, hopefully?

Kevin Mabbutt:

Oh, thank you, Philip. First can I-

Philip:

There you are. I don’t think we’ve actually got you, Kevin. Very quiet. Okay.

Kevin Mabbutt:

Can you hear me, Philip?

Philip:

I can, I can now. Yes.

Kevin Mabbutt:

You can hear me now?

Philip:

I can, you may want to turn off your video real quick just to be safe and see if the voice comes through.

Kevin Mabbutt:

Yeah, [inaudible 00:31:02] can hear me now, Philip if you wouldn’t mind.

Philip:

Yes, I can hear you. Do you want me to ask that question again?

Kevin Mabbutt:

[inaudible 00:31:15] No, no, I’m good. I just [inaudible 00:31:22].

Philip:

Yeah, I think we’re going to have to shift gears to a poll when we get the technology figured out, Kevin.

Kevin Mabbutt:

No, I think [inaudible 00:31:33].

Philip:

It’s a bit [crosstalk 00:31:36]. Yeah. Why don’t we jump into this poll question real quick and we’ll come back to that. So coming out of COVID, if you could focus your healthcare organization on one of the marketing related items below, what would it be? So a little more consolidated list here, but is this a time to reposition or rebrand? Is this a time to clean up architecture potentially to look at how to operate more efficiently, implement more technology and hire additional staff potentially? That would be nice. Outsource more, more common, invest more in advertising or make your own answer, so. We’ll give this just a bit of time here again, I think it just gives all of us an idea of where everyone’s mindset is at. And then we can shift into another area around operational efficiency potentially. We’ll give this another 10 seconds maybe, and then jump in. I’m very curious to see what everyone puts together.

Philip:

I was going to ask our panelists to come up with songs that they could play during the polling question, but decided that might not necessarily go so well, depending on the music taste of everybody. So okay, operate more efficiently is numero uno, implement more technology is not surprising. I actually thought that might be numero uno. And then opportunity to reposition or rebrand. I am surprised actually to see that one as high as it is, I couldn’t agree more. Even though I don’t do branding, but I mean, this is one of those times where so much of the perception in the value equation around what health systems represent to the public. And by the way also the opportunity to take advantage of what’s going to happen on the other side of this, so all good things.

Philip:

The, operate more efficiently as a marketing department element, I’m very interested in this and I think we’ll jump into a panel discussion around this as well. We find that these kinds of situations, I mean, marketing departments in general are always pressured to do more for less. And they’re also the first things to get defunded when business downturns. So the best way for marketing to help themselves get more dollars, whatever that might look like, is to find the money, right? And you can find the money in areas within marketing, around processes and technology and tools and automation and business process management, analytics, that kind of stuff. And you can also find money outside of marketing as you look at how brand related spend is being spent in ways that marketing doesn’t control, right?

Philip:

So you’ve got facilities that are being implemented in signage and wayfinding environments and experience and all of that going in on a daily basis, you’ve got HR materials, employer brand and training, things of that nature that are all brand related that people are investing money in. So looking across operational areas that represents a really good opportunity to find a ton of money. Again, thinking about the areas of people, processes, technology, tools, agencies, vendors, renegotiations, that kind of stuff. So it’s a big area of interest for me, so I can go on on that for a long time, but I’m more interested in what the panel has to say around what you are looking at right now to potentially drive those operational efficiency or just change the way marketing is operating sometimes. Again, Suzanne, why don’t we start with you?

Suzanne:

Sure. You’re right. There’s a lot of areas where we partner or should, and there are a lot of line items, so to speak that may not be in the marketing budget, but have a marketing impact. I would just say that maybe again, speaking about my own situation. I partner very closely with finance and operations as part of your question suggests. And in fact, my boss is the CFO and the chief operating officer of Johns Hopkins Medicine. So first of all, the organization recognizes the importance of this alignment. But it has also been tremendous, at least in my situation that our CFO and COO in one, really understands our strategy and has been a real advocate for the kinds of investments that you’re talking about. Again, because working with those parts of the organization, it’s been very helpful for me, especially as a relative newcomer to Hopkins, to be able to have people say, “Okay, what you’re talking about sits over here, or it’s over here, let’s facilitate a conversation.”

Suzanne:

So I underscore agree with your point about finance and operations quite a bit. I would also say though that I have a couple of other key partners and one of them is the chief information officer and that team. Especially around the digital front door and the patient experience as well as marketing technology, but really being able to think together in a way, it’s a thoughtful strategy between our groups. So I’m very happy about how that relationship is strong, was strong certainly before my arrival, but it’s something that I really invested in. And another key partner is the chief human resources officer and that person in that relationship and her team and my team work together on many things, not the least of which includes internal communications and building our culture. But it also is around the communications that are around things like furloughs or other workforce planning activity in each of our different entities and the conversations that happen around them. So anyway, just to underscore the point, I think the CHRO is another really important partner.

Philip:

Yeah. Jean or David, anything you want to add on that around where you’re looking for efficiencies, how you’re looking at all of that?

Jean:

Well, I would add to Suzanne’s list, the foundation or philanthropy and the recruitment function of HR is a biggie. And then the other one that is very large in a lot of people’s lives is the medical group management, who manages the medical group and really working with them to have an understanding about the marketing. When I saw the question, I would have added efficiently and effectively, and that goes to the reason why you have these relationships with these folks, because you can really show them how effective you can be in driving business to the organization. So building those relationships are key and then demonstrating value, I think is key. And a lot of people are looking at what can we do? And when you have partners like that, it’s not a single conversation with yourself. You’re having other people saying maybe there’s a way we can work together on this or something, let’s talk about that. Because reputation management is as important to marketing as it is to philanthropy and recruitment. And so common goals can drive some common solutions.

David:

Yeah, I think if you look at, we were talking about tools earlier and we’ve identified our best friends at work, I guess that’s an HR term, but we’re making a joint presentation to finance about the use of CRM tools and marketing automation with the physician liaisons, who had a pretty tough job the past [crosstalk 00:40:13], reaching out to those medical groups saying, “Please bring your patients back.” And in fact, that was our first step because oftentimes as Jean’s example shows, as you talk to your primary care physician, whoever you trust and say, “Can I go back to Stanford?” “Yes, they’ve contacted me. I feel very confident that you go back.” So we’re looking at tools that will make that job more efficient. How we could work more closely together. I would say patient experience too. We work very closely at that. We have a superb VP of patient experience who really is studying that and the tools that it’s going to take to improve that further.

David:

And sometimes that’s within marketing. Sometimes it’s not, sometimes the call center is. In our case, we have to really collaborate very closely, bring IT into the mix, try to look at that whole journey. And again, another opportunity I think coming out of COVID, there’s going to be more interest in that, marketing is going to be brought to the table. I think we prove ourselves in that area. So I see again, a lot of great legacy effects to working with these best friends at work in more collaborative way than we ever have before. I think those tools will be a key part of it and working together, we can present to finance and show the benefit not only to marketing, but greater referral number of different areas that touches corporate partners foundation [inaudible 00:41:28].

Philip:

So I want to make sure we have time for Q&A and there’s a lot of other things that I think we can get into even just through the discussions that we had prior to this. But one of the questions that’s come up a couple of times here as I look at the Q&A screen is around advice for smaller, more rural health systems. Particularly right now, as we start seeing COVID cases rising in rural communities and growth over the nearest term. So they don’t have the same level of finances and resources. So what advice would you have for them?

David:

I can jump in quickly. I’m sitting in Montana right now, we’re fairly rural. When I was with university of Utah Health, we had a network of partners throughout rural Idaho and Utah, Wyoming, et cetera. And I think you can one, call on your partners too. If you have a partner that generates a lot of content, like an AMC, that’s what we would do for our regional partners. That’s something to think about. I think using the communications channel, which obviously isn’t as costly as paid media, to really reach out to whatever media channels in the area. Most rural areas have some radio print, social media, and really step out as a key purveyor of great information. Of really timely information. That, again goes back to the stories I talked about, educates and engages. And I also think in a smaller area, you have this channel to referring physicians. There aren’t as many of them, you can probably make a more personal type of outreach to them and they can also convey your message as well as an extended channel or a regional or a small rural hospital.

Suzanne:

I would agree with, I’ll just come in on that last point that you just made Dave, reaching out to referring providers in the rural markets with your own faculty or medical staff, I think is really important, whether it’s through liaisons or direct doc to doc. And one example is tonight we are having a webcast, a rather large gathering of some of our providers from Hopkins with our referring providers, really, again, wanting to understand more about the back to care and what they need to know and what resources we have, perhaps that can support their practices with information, with referral information and access information and more. So I think it’s also part of our charter, right? We need to be doing that and be a resource to the patients, as well as to the referring providers.

Jean:

Phillip, if I could just add to that. I have a client in South Carolina rural and supportive and adjunct member of the team during COVID because they have so few hands. But there’s also a benefit to being a small health care provider. It’s easier to communicate. Everyone knows everyone. The CEO of this hospital started doing virtual breakfast with the chief of police, the realtor association, people like that. You can actually get to your people faster than if you’re a very large system. Now, having said that I think people like Hopkins and Stanford and Intermountain are wonderful about sharing what they have, the Cleveland Clinic portal, et cetera, et cetera. That there’s no shame in taking other people’s content and then making it your own saying, “This is what they’re doing here, but this is what we’re doing in our neighborhood type of thing.”

Jean:

So it is a challenge because they usually have very small steps. But the other thing is they’re probably closer to their constituents than a lot of us that have worked in $8 billion health system. So there’s a plus and a minus to rural marketing teams.

Philip:

Question, actually a very specific question. What are your go-to research sources when it comes to consumer preference and trends throughout COVID-19? Are there things that you’ve found beneficial? Anything you would tell people to say, “Well, certainly if you want to understand consumer preferences and trends, you should definitely be looking at these two things.”

Jean:

Are you looking at what are consumers looking for from providers?

Philip:

I think that’s the nature of the question. Yes. Yeah. It’s a question asked on the forum here and that’s how I would interpret it is as far as it relates to what consumers are looking to you to provide.

David:

We look at a couple of sources. We do our own primary research, but not as much as we would like, and particularly for our own region. But I have used some interesting surveys that a couple of organizations, ReviveHealth is doing some research that they’re sharing. I believe we are a client of a researcher, Robert Klein, who does a lot of great research around COVID, I’m hearing some of that. I don’t know if you’ve all shared. Jean may have a better idea. But that’s been very useful to us. So we have cited both those sources. And obviously we keep close watch on what Hopkins tracker is doing in their site as far as cases and metrics like that. But those are two good sources that we’ve relied upon.

Suzanne:

I would agree completely with you, Dave. We access those same resources ReviveHealth and Rob Klein survey. And we also have a virtual advisors’ kind of program of our own, where we query and ask our own patients that have agreed to be part of panels for their feedback. And we do it relatively frequently on a wide variety of different kinds of topics. And so we have the benefit then of maybe a broader national view, and then we’re able to bring it a little bit closer to home or specific to tie into our own patients and how they’re thinking and feeling. That’s very helpful too.

David:

I think too locally is important because Northern California might be much different than Montana or Philadelphia or Baltimore. And municipalities, this is so unique. We’ve talked about this, states are different, municipalities are different. And I think that really impacts perception. If you’re in a place that’s very strict, it’s going to change your behavior and view than one that’s not. So I think in this case, we found local research when we could get it when we would generate that and do that, was really important, almost by county [inaudible 00:48:49]. I mean, it is one of those rare occasions. It’s not just a general healthcare topic. You really are impacted by local actions.

Jean:

Absolutely.

Philip:

Yeah. So another strategic question from people with tactical implications, but have you changed the prioritization of your key audiences as a result of the pandemic? And if so, how? People moved up in prioritization? Different segments been introduced that you wouldn’t normally prioritize?

Suzanne:

I’ll jump in on this one. I think when I was talking about how purposeful Hopkins was about its process for determining how to go back to care, we had a similar kind of prioritization matrix about how to… It’s not so much prioritizing people, but I mean, there’s that part to it, which I was describing the urgency and the importance of care. But we were also taking a look at prioritization of our own services with a matrix of sorts, considering our own capacity, what kind of revenue might it generate, our readiness, of course, for outpatient and ambulatory and inpatient care. And these things are really important right now because we are being looked to really help, to drive volume, to begin to recover. So while sometimes in a broader kind of conversation, yes, we know we’re marketing, but we also know what that means in this case here and now.

Suzanne:

We’re really being asked to try to build the right kind of business. And that really has to be based on, I think, a thoughtful approach about what is the right business for your organization at this moment, obviously putting the patient’s needs first. Anyway, that’s how I think about it.

Jean:

Following up on that, I would agree there are some organizations that have taken 30,000-foot view of what to take to market. It could be, we’ve built a new building. We were attracting talent, whatever, and I think there’s much more focused conversations now around what kind of business do we want to bring in? Where are we going to get that business? Can operations handle it? [inaudible 00:51:29] the criteria. I mean, I would hope everyone uses some criteria before they make their slate, but people are getting deadly serious about it now saying, look, “We can’t deal with that right now or whatever.” And then the other aspect of this, we have no control over is what’s happening in our heart beat in terms of the rate of infection. Last night it was announced Arizona is having a spike, that’s new information that’s going to cause those health systems to react in a different way than they were two weeks ago. So it’s a time to be nimble, but a time to be very, very focused, very focused on what makes sense for your organization now.

David:

I would say with Stanford, we went both broad and deep. So we ended up purchasing a lot of paid media just to get the word out about the ER being open for business, you can return. We had people walking in with the classic direct mail flyers, if it was a ticket for admission to the ER that some people had been up demand. And again, I mentioned referring physicians going a little deeper saying who can help us get the message out? Well, it’s those primary care physicians that talk to those patients the most often. And in recent events, it’s going to be interesting to see I brought up and telehealth maybe underserved markets or different markets, whether that be through population health, mental health, I think also minorities that have been impacted. We’ve had obviously a lot of issues as of late topics that we’ve discussed around Black Lives Matter, but in general, prior to that, COVID-19 had a pretty significant impact on certain populations.

David:

And I can’t talk about really any actions yet, but I think it has definitely raised awareness. When you were at a school, a large school of medicine, students really have a voice around this. I think we’re going to see changes there as well, coming out of kind of these two events as to how we addressed underserved markets. I don’t know what the outcome exactly is yet, but I just feel there is a sea change happening in a way providing care of those markets. So it’s going to be interesting to see the results of that, but I did see a question about minorities and underserved markets and I don’t have any point by point discussion I can share here today, but I’m seeing internally some change really happening, very positive change in our institution.

Jean:

I would agree on that. And the other thing is, I don’t know where this… I don’t think people really want to defund the police as much as maybe look at what we’re spending on policing versus trying to be more preventative. But to your point Dave, it’s so clear cut the health disparities with minorities that perhaps there’s an opportunity if they should find, because someone last night was talking about how many millions of kids are in the New York schools. And yet there’s a relative handful of social workers and an army of police. Isn’t it better to be more preventative? So I think there’s going to be some opportunity for us to have a conversation around that, depending on where it goes, it’s kind of early, but I think you’re right. People are now saying we have to do something. This is so glaringly wrong in terms of how we treat people.

Philip:

Yes. Early in development, late in action. All right. We’ve got four minutes left. There’s more questions. And just so everyone on the phone knows, we’ve all got the ability to stay for a couple of minutes or at least most of us have the ability to stay for a couple minutes over time. So we’ll get back to some of these questions here. But one thing I wanted to ask the panel before we exit for the larger group is if you had one piece of advice for everyone coming out of this over the next one to three months of what they need to be focusing on and need to be doing, what would that be? David you’re shaking your head. So I’m jumping to you.

David:

No, no, it’s a very good question. And I think it has been a learning experience for all of us and I speak for the institution I work with. I think it’s retaining that bias for action. Jean talked about how quickly telehealth was brought up and payers made a quick move and we were able to rally to do that. So we deal with a lot of crisis. I think this one in particular was one where we really had to rally, have this bias for action, a sense of urgency. And you’ve heard me mention these legacy effects. I think for us, it’s really, we’re looking at our organization from a kind of an agility factor, agility of how quickly we can move these investment in tools, which will probably also be an investment in skills. We better shift our skillset among our staff to be able to deal in these precision marketing tools.

David:

So I hope it’s been a bit of a sea change, at least internally for our marketing department. One, their visibility is higher. It was not, let that go away, continue to consult rather than react. And be in this positive proactive stance coming with ideas and insights. We brought forth research and insights. And I hope through the tools we’re investing in, we’re going to bring even more intelligence to the table. I’ve been called Pollyanna by my friends and the folks I share an office with back at Palo Alto, but I do think it’s a positive time in these lemons to lemonade coming out of it. And shame on us if we don’t really see this as a window of opportunity to be more efficient and play a greater role of contribution to our organizations.

Jean:

Absolutely. If I could add to that, I think the sense of urgency needs to be there because this is a wonderful opportunity. COVID was a horrible, is a horrible and we’re facing it and we’ve got to go on, but I do think if we deal with it with a sense of urgency, that this is the opportunity to build upon the goodwill we have, the tools we have. I think this could be a moment of real creativity for marketers if they’re open to it. Anyone who says, “When are we going to go back to normal?” Is not open to it. There is no going back to the way it was. And so I think you need to keep your mind open to the possibilities and I am Pollyanna as well. So [inaudible 00:57:40].

Philip:

You look-

Suzanne:

That makes-

Philip:

… Better as Pollyanna than David.

Suzanne:

I was just going to say, that makes three of us. I mean, my family calls me a Pollyanna. I tend to see a rainbow in a puddle and I know there’s something to it, but I would just add that, I think marketers tend to be innovative and be creative and have good ideas. And I do think that most of our organizations are looking for new thinking in this new environment. And so I would agree that I think it’s important to step up and offer new ideas. I also do agree with the point that this confluence of these times still coping very much with the pandemic, as well as the aftermath and the very challenging issues and conversations that are happening and need to have in the wake of George Floyd’s killing.

Suzanne:

I think our country and our organizations are feeling just incredible angst and anguish. But what is coming from this are really important conversations internally, where we are looking at each other as human beings, not just by title or by role. It’s, how do you relate? How do you listen? How do you connect? And then as a healthcare provider and system, how do we behave as hopefully we have been, but how do we behave as leaders and as exemplars in what’s best about how to have these intentional ways of moving forward in a cohesive, in a strong leadership kind of way?

Jean:

Well said.

Philip:

That’s great, everyone. I’m going to add one more back to the operational efficiency side of things. You guys have talked about the tech and you’ve talked about some other activities there. I think looking outside of marketing and looking inside of marketing around how we can just be more efficient and improve time to market, reduce process times and how we look at technology and all of that stuff. That’s a real good opportunity right now to find a lot of money, find some savings and all of that, or at a minimum put yourself in a position to really catapult out of this and do more than you’ve been able to do in the past [inaudible 01:00:26]. And again, looking outside of marketing for a lot of that stuff, because there’s quite a lot out there.

Philip:

So that’s, I think where we need to end the overall discussion and thank everybody for being here. There’s two or three other questions here that we’ll get to, the ones that we can’t get to we’ll try and respond over email to those people that ask them. And other than that, I think I’ll just say thank you to everybody. And we’re going to stay on, so if you care to stay on, feel free to.

Philip:

One of the questions team, is what is your prediction for M&A in the healthcare industry? Go for it, Suzanne.

Suzanne:

Well, I can stay pretty high. I’m not sure I can go very deep on this one, but my sense is there will be quite a bit more, I mean, just take a look at how many healthcare organizations, hospitals, healthcare providers, systems are not just struggling, but some are going out of business. And that being said, there are still markets, communities, patients, families, to be served. And so I think that this was a trend anyway. But I think it’s going to accelerate.

Jean:

I agree with Suzanne.

David:

I agree. I’m worried about healthcare, I’m probably more worried about higher ed-

Philip:

Seriously [crosstalk 01:01:59].

Suzanne:

And when you put them together in one, it’s even harder still.

David:

Yeah.

Jean:

Academic medicine is doomed.

Suzanne:

Yeah.

David:

You think you have it hard, I have a rising senior and just I start looking at endowments of higher ed institutions to see if they’ll be around. I mean, it’s pretty tough. It’s pretty-

Jean:

It is.

David:

… Tough with virtual learning. And maybe we’ll learn a lot from that experience too. But I agree with Suzanne, I do think some of the regional smaller operations, and maybe there’s some opportunities or great consolidate here or great partnerships. And I hope that’s the case.

Philip:

Yeah. I mean, this is our world. M&A is pretty much the genesis of 60% of what we do. And every bit of research that I’ve been in and everything that we’re seeing is indicating that that’s actually going to be the case. And to your point, higher ed is going to be another area of interest consolidation as is oil and gas. Yeah. And Healthcare. Yeah, definitely going to happen. Another question that we’ve got is, I know volume is critically important to the business model, finances, et cetera. However, there’s a very important value proposition. This gets to outcomes, vulnerable populations, care management, home care, clinical care, et cetera. Any thoughts on this?

Jean:

Is the question, how are we going to bring it all together?

David:

Yeah. I was trying to understand.

Philip:

Yeah, so am I actually. [inaudible 01:03:28] is critically important. The business model finances, et cetera. However, they’re very important value proposition. Now I’m not sure that I can actually interpret that. So I’m going to switch to a different one and apologize. If you want to rephrase question, if you’re still on by all means, go for it. Do your liaisons meet with hospital management to formulate the brand’s message?

David:

You broke up a little there, Philip. Can you say that again?

Philip:

Sorry. Do your liaisons meet with hospital management to formulate the brand’s messaging?

David:

Are they referencing physician liaisons or I wonder, marketing?

Philip:

Marketing, I’m thinking.

Suzanne:

Oh marketing. Okay.

David:

Yeah. Well, I’ll speak for Stanford. There was an integrated strategic plan and the strategy group, very strong strategy group. There were the ideas bringing, aligning more closely the children’s clinical system, the school of medicine, the adult system in marketing mainly through the brand, the goal is to bring that to life. What does integration look like? And so and I guess we could touch on the value proposition question earlier. We’re working on value propositions. But that was happening just as COVID hit and marketing was playing a key role in how you message. Because there’s a lot of internal language and where you’re investing in service lines and areas of education and discovery and innovation. Sometimes that’s a little difficult to translate to a value, to a patient or even to some referring physicians.

David:

So that’s been a big, big part of our process. And I think COVID, again, here’s Pollyanna. I think it’s actually we’re going to play even a greater role moving forward in a lot of those discussions. I mean, think about right now, you’re looking at what service lines have the most need. What care did you delay? How are you going to bring that back? And marketing is getting called on to help figure that out. I think it starts with finance and operations and the next request is marketing. What can we do to recover? So it’s from a strategic standpoint, I don’t think there’s been a better time.

Suzanne:

[inaudible 01:05:41].

Philip:

Actually, Suzanne, I’m going to interject real quick because the intent of the question was actually physician liaisons.

David:

Oh, was physician leads.

Philip:

Yeah. Yeah. So. [crosstalk 01:05:50].

Jean:

So physician liaisons have a unique and cherished role in the sense that referring physicians will tell them things they won’t tell anybody else. So they’re a great source of information for any organization. So they’re key in crafting whatever your message platform is to referring physicians. And it needs to be consistently looked at based on the input they have. And if what you put out isn’t ringing true, when they bring that back, then you got to respond to that. So I think they they’re an ongoing part of developing that messaging and the brand and the value proposition for referring physicians.

David:

You’re right. It may be the most cost-effective form of research if you [crosstalk 01:06:33].

Jean:

I’d give up so much for advertising for more physician liaisons.

David:

Yeah.

Philip:

All right. Well, I think in respect of everyone’s time, we should probably wrap it up right there. And I’d like to thank Suzanne and Jean and Dave, and also Kevin, I know he’s apologized to everybody for the technology issues. It must have been absolutely frustrating for him, we know we had a lot to say, so apologies there. And thank you everyone.

Jean:

Thank you.

Suzanne:

Thank you everyone.

Jean:

Stay well.

Philip:

All right. You too. Bye-bye.

Suzanne:

Bye.