Category: Healthcare

Is Healthcare Ready to Overcome the Challenge of Social Media?

 

Managing change has never been more difficult for all phases of healthcare than it is right now. Social media, whether Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or any other platform is representative of the challenge. As an overcoming adversity speaker for the healthcare industry, I know that social media and patient care can be either a supportive partnership or a treacherous interaction. It will take great determination for administrators to stand up to the unforeseen changes in managing social media priorities.

The vision to manage change

In February 2017, Mobihealth News ran an article entitled: “How social media can impact healthcare in the right – and wrong – ways.”

The article pointed out that social media is here to stay especially in regard to disseminating information, sharing research, patient experience and patient recruitment for clinical trials. However, healthcare is unlike any other industry. There are numerous compliance issues, especially around the FDA and HIPAA. The article states that navigating the doctor-patient relationship can be tricky:

“You can engage directly via social media with your patients about care, but don’t engage in a doctor-patient relationship.” It is a subtle but important difference. A physician can talk about a new treatment, where patients can read about the treatment, even where it’s offered, but there are risks in going deeper.  The article continues:

“Healthcare is the most regulated (of industries) and will continue to be so, and with the complexity of health laws and patient privacy, data protection will remain in the spotlight. So, as we look at these new opportunities, we need to also be thinking about active management of the new data. We have to build out the IT and compliance to evaluate the new risks of tools.”

As long as the healthcare industry keeps the conversation to IT, data protection and patient privacy, many of us might think of social media concerns as the limited domain of the computer geeks. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Professional and personal

In Health eCareers (March 2019), included an article entitled: “The Danger of Social Media for Healthcare Professionals.” It focused in the “people factor,” not IT departments or data storage.

The same HIPAA violations we talked about in general terms have gotten healthcare professionals into deep trouble. Such violations recently included a nurse who got fired for taking a selfie with a patient (at the request of the patient!), an ER physician who took a picture of a drunk patient, ER staffers fired for offering Facebook condolences to the family of a slain police officer.

In this time of rapid social media change, the majority of healthcare professionals are even confused about what constitutes their First Amendment rights. In a survey asking if being terminated over a social media post is an infringement of their First Amendment rights, 41 percent said “Yes,” and another 30 percent said “Not Sure.” Unfortunately, in a healthcare setting, any one of those 71 percent could be terminated for confusing their First Amendment rights with HIPAA privacy laws.

Incidentally, healthcare professionals are routinely being watched for social media posts. Social media monitoring takes place more than 55 percent of the time for those who are employed as well as those seeking employment.

The changes that social media has brought to healthcare are part of a much bigger picture of the challenge that technology presents to every healthcare setting.  The changes that are coming are stressful and confusing. Is your healthcare organization ready to rise above the challenge and overcome adversity, or will you become a victim to it?

 

Contact Scott Burrows, Overcoming Adversity Motivational Speaker for Managing Healthcare Change, through this website or call us at: (520) 548-1169

 

 

 

Having the GRIT to Fight for Market Share in the Medical Device Market

 

After an automobile accident left me a quadriplegic, I was determined to overcome adversity and succeed despite the odds. After an intense period of overcoming my physical challenges, I put this same mindset and grit into action as I entered the Insurance and Financial Industry. Within five years, I was awarded membership in the prestigious Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) as a top producer for commission-driven sales. From there I realized I could accomplish anything I had the vision to undertake. Today, I am honored to bring my message of vision, determination and grit around the globe as a motivational keynote sales speaker for the medical device and pharmaceutical industries.

Companies are like people

In its MedTech Dive report (December 14, 2018), Moody’s projected a positive 2019 outlook for the medical device industry. Moody’s estimates a growth of between 4.5% and 5.5% with sales in emerging markets expected to grow into the double digits.

In 2016, the medical device industry was valued at about $148 billion and has exploded to $173 billion this year. Of the 6,500 companies in the industry, about 80% have 50 or fewer employees. Does this growth mean that medical device companies can afford to be complacent? Hardly. Unless companies innovate quickly, they could get pushed aside.

Before I was involved in my accident, I was a martial artist and Division-1 football player. I took my health for granted. In an industry showing healthy growth, it is also easy to take continuing success as an unquestioned fact.

Despite the optimism, medical device industry experts point to several warning signs on the horizon. The experts warn that companies must anticipate new FDA regulations which demand greater accountability, higher performance standards, more complex rules for reimbursements, and an ever-increasing competitive outlook. In one way or another, every one of those 6,500 companies are out to take a piece of market share. It will take increasing determination for companies to separate themselves from their competition.

Does your company have the GRIT?

In February 2019, the Strategic Information Group, a medical consulting firm, reported on the medical device industry. The firm pointed out that the market dynamics of the industry are in constant change. Companies must strive to reduce costs and streamline operations.  There are device companies around the world constantly looking to capitalize on markets and leverage partnerships to their advantage.

Medical device companies must have the grit to innovate and to understand what makes them unique. They must overcome change and the adversity of competition, regulations and an ever-complex reimbursement structure.

However, companies aren’t just like people, they are people. Everyone on the team must rise up from complacency and never assume that the rules for success don’t apply to them.  Companies are exceptional because each employee on the team makes them exceptional.

Whether the medical device company has less than 50 employees or more than 5,000, the challenge is to possess a David versus Goliath mentality, to never give up, and to overcome the hidden challenges.

 

Contact Scott Burrows, Medical Device Industry Motivational Speaker through this website or call us at: (520) 548-1169

 

Hospitals Can Overcome Adversity and Come Back to Life

We have all heard stories about Navy Seals or Olympic athletes who have overcome great adversity to beat the challenges in front of them, but what about organizations such as hospitals?

Hospitals are supposed to cure the sick, aren’t they? As an inspirational overcoming adversity speaker specializing in the healthcare industry, I’ve witnessed many hospitals that became so sick they had to shut their doors.

Returning to Health

These are not easy times for hospitals. In an article written for Becker’s Hospital Review (March 28, 2017), CGH Medical Center CIO and Vice President Randy Davis cited 11 reasons why hospitals fail. Among the important points were lacking the courage to lead, leaving destiny to others (and doing nothing), ignoring patients, and treating physicians like commodities.

One of Davis’ many conclusions was, “A hospital must make certain they have a medical staff adequately equipped to meet the needs, demographics and desires of your market.”

Are you determined to meet the needs of your market?

There are hospitals that have overcome adversity to reinvent themselves and thrive. One example is Sonoma Valley Hospital in Sonoma, California. The hospital’s leadership closed their Obstetrics and Skilled Nursing functions for lack of profitability as they realized they couldn’t be everything to everyone. They now focus mainly on surgery, intensive care, pharmacy services, diagnostic imaging and laboratory. They made a sweeping change from inpatient to outpatient services. They realized that their Emergency Department was the greatest service to the community and they have expanded that function. With their goal to return to profitability, they emphasized that they did not abandon their patients who once sought out services such as Obstetrics, for example; instead they directed those patients to excellent services available at nearby hospitals.

To return to profitability, Jersey City Medical Center doubled the size of its emergency room, developed a volunteer first responder program, started a teleconferencing program between patients and physicians, and used smart technology to diagnose and treat medical problems.

In its vision to return to financial health, CarePoint Health in Hoboken, Bayonne and Jersey City, directed its hospitals to expand access to the community, enabled “video-visiting” with an emergency room clinician, and employed a “Telestroke” system to allow neurologists to prescribe directly to ER physicians. In addition to the tangibles, they are determined to expand the intangibles such as greater LGBTQ+ sensitivity training and greater sensitivity to women’s health concerns.

Determined to Thrive

The difference between a hospital that chooses to overcome the hardships it faces and the facility that falls into “sickness” is in having the vision to change and the resolve to see it through. The leadership of any hospital cannot ignore what is happening around them by leaving destiny to chance. Change can be painful, but it shouldn’t get in the way of a bold vision.

As Randy Davis concluded, “Leaders lead, and there is no better time to demonstrate that than to guide your board into proper broad goals and objectives. Then, you must accept accountability of the goals they create. No one said all the conversations would be comfortable.”

Overcoming adversity takes effort on the part of everyone invested in the success of the hospital and the lives that will ultimately be impacted by positive change.

 

Contact Scott Burrows, Inspirational Healthcare Keynote Speaker today through this website or call us at: (520) 548-1169

 

Tough Times for Pharma Sales Reps. What is Your Mindset?

As a pharmaceutical sales keynote speaker, I know these are not easy times to be a pharmaceutical sales rep. The once glamorous profession is facing greater stresses and more adversity than ever before.

The statistics bear me out. According to ZS Associates, the U.S.-based management consulting firm specializing in the pharmaceutical industry, the industry will have around 60,000 reps this year, down from a sales force of about 100,000 reps in 2005.  In addition to the decline in reps, there is a more troubling trend. In 2012 about 65% of physicians were “accessible” to meet with a sales rep but by 2016 the percentage had dropped to barely 44%.

What is going on?

Some industry old-timers might point to the Sun Shine Act of 2007, which started the process of greater transparency, less gift-giving and “bonuses” but that is hardly responsible for present day problems. Market research into attitudes of physicians toward pharmaceutical sales reps confirms what many of you are feeling:  the relationship has soured.

In 2017, the healthcare market research firm DRG Digital – Manhattan Research published physician polling data that should be a wake-up call to the industry.

Overcoming the Perception of Being Stale

The research found that more than half of the physicians felt reps showed them information they had seen before. To the practices, most visits were time wasters. Some specialties placed the “staleness problem” even higher. Seven out of ten oncologists and six out of ten dermatologists had a good idea of what reps would present about their drug before the reps ever called on the physicians.

The research also revealed 75% of physicians routinely found what they needed about the drug online and more than half regularly used pharmaceutical digital databases. Unless there was something new to for a rep to offer, the feeling was why bother?

Despite the disappointment of being presented with old information, about 65% of the doctors polled met with their sales reps and six out of ten said they wanted to meet with their pharmaceutical sales reps in the future. They remained optimistic something new might be offered.

Though the use of computer tablets by the reps dramatically dropped between 2013 to 2017, it didn’t mean that tablet presentations were obsolete. Far more important was new information on what organizations offered patients in terms of education and support.

Overcoming the Communication Gap

Though many of the reps use dedicated health industry software communications platforms, only 12 percent of the physicians polled said they communicated with their reps in that fashion. At the same time, three times as many physicians said they had thought about communicating that way. There is a communication gap.

DRG Digital – Manhattan Research concluded in part that “Sales and marketing teams need to provide a deeper level of support to physicians beyond product promotion and maximizing their investment.”

It comes down to support, education and a commitment to customer service, not just leaving samples and hoping for a prescription quota. In addition, the landscape has shifted to being more adversarial and less welcoming than ever before. Medical and pharmacy students are being taught “resistance techniques” to cope with pressure from sales reps and patients from their earliest days of classwork.

The pharmaceutical sales landscape may be tense with difficulty, but it can be overcome. Physicians want information they can’t get from anyone but you, along with extra-effort support and communication. Will you have the mindset to deliver on their needs and to overcome the adversity of negative perceptions?

 

For more information on how Pharmaceutical sales representatives can develop techniques to rise above the crowd, contact Scott Burrows, pharmaceutical sales keynote speaker today through this website or call us at: (520) 548-1169

 

 

Is the Healthcare Industry Paralyzing Patient Care with Numbers?

For some time now, the mindset in the healthcare industry has been that the economies of scale created by the mergers of healthcare systems have resulted in superior patient care. Financial analysts have argued that since consolidation has worked for airlines, restaurant chains and insurance companies, then why not for the medical community?

Consolidation has been presumed to reduce costs and expand services and treatment options, especially in competitive markets. The raw numbers might seem to support this contention; certainly, there are budgetary advantages of lowering unit costs of medical devices, buying pharmaceuticals in greater quantities or eliminating redundant administrators.  But experts are now warning that in the rush to consolidate, one critical factor is being overlooked: patient care.

New Findings on the Patient Experience

A recent New York Times article entitled “Hospital Mergers Improve Health? Evidence Shows the Opposite,” suggests that tragically, the results of merging have led to an increase in patient mortality and a decline in care.

Martin Gaynor, a Carnegie Mellon University economist and one of the authorities cited in the article says “evidence from three decades of hospital mergers does not support the claim that consolidation improves quality (care).”

To back that up, the Federal Trade Commission recently reviewed the cases of about two million Medicare beneficiaries who had been treated for heart disease over an eight-year period. According to the article, in areas of the country where there is less competition “(Cardiac) patients are more likely to have heart attacks, visit the emergency department, be readmitted to the hospital or die.” In fact, in areas where there is one dominant cardiology clinic and the elimination of competition, cardiac patients may stand a 5-7% chance of having a repeat heart attack.

When competition is allowed in a market, healthcare staffs have no choice but to turn their mindset to the patient. They have to care about patient satisfaction, and in turn patients respond to that care. This is just as true in countries where there is strong government regulation, such as England, as it is in the United States.

According to the New York Times piece, “family doctors in England found that quality (care) and patient satisfaction increased with competition.”

More Than Numbers, It’s Mindset

In many areas of the country, consolidation has also created long patient wait times to make appointments and then once in the facility to be seen in a timely manner. Some healthcare specialists believe that if wait times are streamlined then patient satisfaction will dramatically improve. This is the case of another “number” being applied to a complex issue as though patients are pieces on a conveyor line.

Press Ganey Associates is the leading market research firm for the healthcare industry known for its patient satisfaction surveys. In other words, they talk to patients. Joe Greskoviak, president and CEO at Press Ganey concluded:

“The immediate reaction is that patient loyalty is based off things like wait time. That’s not necessarily the case. There are drivers of patient loyalty that are very actionable (such as) improving communication and then, empathy. Patients want to understand that we actually care for them.

Chasing the numbers is paralyzing patient care rather than curing it. Healthcare providers need to re-examine the mindset that consolidation, automation and computerization can improve patient satisfaction simply by reducing budgets, improving wait times and other analytics. There needs to be a renewed and shared vision that the focus of healthcare must return to the patient.

 

Contact Scott Burrows, Healthcare Industry Motivational Speaker through this website or call us today at: (520) 548-1169