- Passion. When we’re so personally and professionally involved in something, we begin to fear our emotions will get in the way. For self-preservation reasons, we often start to pull away (or in the case of poor, struggling health start-ups, start applying for other jobs) because we’re SO involved that we fear our emotions might impede our judgment. But this passion for promoting health care, well care, health literacy, telemedicine, mHealth, etc. – this passion is what got us started in the first place.
- Empathy. Without concern for and understanding of the user (or patient) experience, we’ll fail to provide quality, life-changing care. We need to know what brought patients/users to us, why they keep coming back, what we can do to improve their experience, to help manage their expectations, etc.
- Problem solving. Physicians take on massive amounts of debt to go to medical school, and complete residencies and fellowships. They don’t expect to get rich. Physicians study medicine because they want to help people, to identify problems, and fix them. This should ring true with health start-ups as well. People who start health-tech companies aren’t looking to for wealth. They see pain-points in the delivery of health care and seek to solve problems from the outside in.
- Failure. We all fail. Physicians and entrepreneurs see failure as part of the iterative process of our business. If something doesn’t work, we find out why, and try it a different way the next time. Over and over and over again. The key to our success is listening to our failures.
I’m at the Cleveland Clinic Patient Experience Summit, where, over the next few days, we’ll be considering the transformation of healthcare through empathy and innovation. We’re just a few hours in and have already heard from some great speakers, been brought to tears more than once by moving video storytelling, and discussed barriers to innovation from digital disparities, to cost of entry, to regulation and privacy issues, to patient expectations and clinical realities.
The overarching theme thus far – from Mobile App creators, to physicians, and a Google executive – is the need for transparency.
When mHealth is adopted in this country, it will be because consumers demand it. But, to get consumers engaged using telehealth and health-related apps, we (developers, communicators, physicians, etc.) have to set accurate expectations from the start. We have to educate users about what to expect from the app, and be completely transparent about its limitations, and – most importantly – be clear that technology should augment the consumer experience of healthcare, not replace physicians.
The onus is on mHealth brands – and their communication professionals – to help guide patient expectations. If mHealth is to be a consumer product, communicators need to help users to understand what apps can and can’t do to improve or facilitate health care and health information seeking. According to William Morris, the Associate Chief Medical Information Officer at Cleveland Clinic and award-winning innovator, customers need us to tell them that these “technologies aren’t meant to replace physicians, but to augment [medical care].”
Consumers will be disappointed unless they have realistic expectations. Simply adding a page on your website with consumer instructions will go a long way toward ensuring that your paying customers get the experience they think they’re paying for. More happy customers means more positive reviews, and ultimately, more amplification of your value proposition. That’s what we’re all after – right?
Where do you think the consumerization of health care will lead? Who do you want tomorrow’s patient to be and how can you help today’s patient to become that informed consumer?
Ever wonder just what exactly a community manager does?
Is it advertising? Social media strategy? Content production? Media relations? Business advising? Market research?
The easy answer is: yes to all.
Alison is a community manager for a local start-up. She has a masters degree in communications, and over 10 years of experience. Alison begins the day reading headlines, looking for stories that might be interesting to her employers, possible blog topics, or sharable in social media.
Because she works for a small company, Alison is more than a social media manager, more than a marketer: she’s an integral part of the daily business operations. She is the public relations rep, monitoring the brand’s image, expertly responding to customer comments and negative feedback. She is the media relations rep, pitching story ideas to overwhelmed journalists. She is responsible for blogger relations, reaching out to a list of bloggers to get influential eyeballs on your product. She is a researcher, always asking questions about who your next customers will be and how best to reach them. Alison is a writer, producing content and editing communications for your team.
Alison doesn’t work your typical 9-5. As most PR professionals are acutely aware, the rise of social media and digital journalism means that PR reps generally start their workday before 7am and see more of their smartphones than they do their spouses.
How much should you pay a community manager? According to Salary.com, Alison should draw a salary of $80,000-$150,000 depending on where she lives (the low end is for small towns like Cleveland, OH, the higher end for the big guns in New York and Silicon Valley). Many start-ups can’t afford to pay a salary this high. Some don’t think they need communications help. But when you look at the value community managers like Alison bring to a company, many start-ups won’t succeed without her. If it’s time to hire a community manager, make sure you find one who shares your companies values and is passionate about what you do.
The next time you speak with your community manager, say thank you. Thank you for your tireless efforts, many of which (especially all those media pitches) go unseen.
The next time you talk salary for that community manager, remember that it’s communications that builds your brand reputation, that secures donors and investors, and attracts customers.
If you’re a small business looking to hire a consultant to manage your community (and cut down on some costs), please visit http://www.i2icommunicationsltd.com and get started today!