7 Signs of an Unhealthy Work Environment and How to Fix It

7 Signs of an Unhealthy Work Environment and How to Fix It

 

How do you know when it’s time to change up your work environment? These are seven signs of an unhealthy work environment, and how to fix it.

Did you know that nearly two-thirds of workers are looking for new jobs? If your employees are unhappy with their present work culture, they may be sprucing up their resumes, too. But if you’re a proactive leader, you can transform your work environment when you know the red flags to watch out for. 

To keep your organization thriving, it’s smart to be alert to how your employees are behaving. Keep reading to learn about the 7 signs of an unhealthy work environment — and how to fix it!

1) Poor Morale

Do your employees lack enthusiasm for their work? Take notice if your employees are fatigued or on edge. They may be struggling with their mental and physical health due to an unhealthy work environment. 

Unhappy employees won’t bring excitement to what they do, and it can rub off on their coworkers. When one person feels animosity or apathy, the person at the neighboring desk may start feeling that way, too. 

You may even notice an uptick in absences. Employees who normally reserve their PTO for planned vacations may change their plans. They could feel compelled to take personal days more frequently to make the workweek seem shorter. 

Similarly, employees may be using their paid sick leave to meet with a mental health practitioner or deal with other health issues. A toxic workplace can trigger higher blood pressure and poor sleep, as well. And extra medical care may become essential. 

2) Increased Employee Turnover Rate

Employees who feel undervalued or underpaid will leave for better jobs. But when you’re busy managing other aspects of your business, you might ignore how many employees come and go.

Start by looking at how your human resources team and supervisors are spending their time. Are they devoting a lot of time to posting job ads and conducting orientation meetings for new hires? If they’re trying to fill vacancies frequently, you may have a turnover problem. 

It’s worth tracking how many employees turn in resignations. Then you can compare totals from one quarter to the next.

Your human resources office can handle gathering data and conducting exit interviews. But the more important step is taking the time to assess the results. 

An uptick in employee churn could indicate deeper problems. If there are common reasons for leaving, identify them in your organization’s quarterly meeting. Then map out a few clear ways to help build satisfaction and loyalty.

Consider offering measures to boost employee work-life balance. This could include hybrid work options or more regular bonuses to high achievers.

Offer smaller incentives, like occasional free lunches or gift certificates, too. And add more plants and better lights to make your workplace more comfortable. 

3) Growing Gossip Mill

An active gossip mill is a clear sign of an unhealthy work environment. After all, if employees feel distrustful toward others, they’ll want to build alliances with coworkers. And they’ll look for ways to do this during quick hallway conversations, lunch breaks, or other times between tasks. 

Team members may feel uncomfortable speaking candidly to everyone. As a result, they will seek out like-minded confidants. 

For instance, a marketing team that doesn’t work well together could fracture into smaller factions. Gossiping coworkers can provide tidbits of information that affirm bad feelings. 

You may notice that employees congregate more frequently in the lunch room or at the water cooler. More frequent breaks also can suggest a movement toward gossiping. And unfortunately, gossiping can lead to misinformation or snide remarks that only make things worse.

Focus on how you can provide the most transparent communication to employees. Offer a monthly or weekly video message or email update that lays out achievements as well as upcoming hurdles. And hold more in-person or video-based team meetings to ensure regular communication on a smaller scale.

4) Favoritism Practices

Cronyism is the practice of promoting close friends or family without considering their qualifications. For example, an employee could see someone promoted who has close ties to an existing leader. This person could be a personal friend or share the same alma mater.

The employees who’ve been passed over might feel like they’ll never be able to move higher in the organization. This is particularly true if the promoted employee lacks the right experience or subject matter expertise. Favoritism practices can lead to feelings of hopelessness and resentment. 

Step back and make sure that you’re being objective in how you handle employee promotions and raises. Conducting an interview process for each job vacancy is one way to do this. And if you make an internal promotion, be prepared to validate it.

For new hires, consider sharing company-wide memos that detail each person’s unique qualifications. This will create a more transparent work culture that your employees will appreciate. 

5) Egocentric Leadership

Are you hoping to enact a turnaround and build a healthy workplace? For company leaders, that means taking stock of decision-making methods and actions. If your decisions have only helped those at the top, your employees probably are aware.

In a similar vein, if big decisions always come as a surprise, your employees may want more of a stake in the game. Find ways to involve employees more in decision-making processes. Also, revisit the mission statement in your business plan to make sure you’re meeting organizational goals.

As one option, create committees or task forces that draw from multiple parts of the organization. If you’re planning a new initiative or looking to reorganize, don’t make determinations behind closed doors. Involve a cross-section of voices and provide platforms for anonymous feedback.

You may even want to bring in a third-party consultant for an outside perspective. This demonstrates that you’re willing to consider other approaches to handling a problem. Just be sure to follow up and relay the feedback to the rest of your organization. 

6) A Culture of Fear

In a healthy workplace, employees feel comfortable speaking candidly with coworkers and supervisors. Better yet, supervisors are proactive about hosting one-on-one conversations with employees. They don’t do it out of guilt.

But in an unhealthy work environment, leaders are removed from their direct reports. Worse yet, they might be removed from the rest of the organization, too.

When a supervisor seems untouchable, this can create a company culture rooted in fear. Your employees won’t feel like they have can give honest feedback without fear of repercussion.

A culture of fear feeds into other organizational problems, as well. Employees may avoid voicing good ideas because they feel like they don’t matter. Worse yet, they might fear being disciplined or terminated if they say something that goes against the grain. 

How can you fix this issue? Ensure that all managers have weekly meetings with individual team members. And use an internal platform to promote quick communication through video chats or messages. 

7) Disengagement and Slow Company Growth

Ultimately, toxic work environments can end up hurting your company’s productivity. When employees aren’t collaborative or communicative, you’ll miss out on better workflows and ideas. You may even see revenue go down.

Disengaged employees may be reserved or standoffish. They may overlook checking in with questions because they don’t care as much about the outcome. Further, you might notice that some employees are less likely to speak up during meetings. 

And, of course, poor employee engagement won’t lead to glowing reviews. Your online profile could take a tumble if your employees are unhappy. When you need to recruit top talent, the last thing you want is an unfavorable reputation online. 

One way to encourage more productivity is through quarterly bonuses. You can award all members of the company a 2% raise, for instance, if the company meets a pre-determined financial goal. Offering a little money every 3 months is a great way to encourage people to contribute to the best of their abilities. 

If you don’t have the money to support more frequent raises and bonuses, there are other options. Introduce more frequent gestures of appreciation. These can be email shoutouts that help your team members feel valued.

Give them encouraging handwritten cards after they seal the deal on a new account. Provide public praise when they reach a professional milestone. 

Create an Amazing Work Environment

When you offer a supportive and healthy work environment, your employees will thrive. As a bonus, you might just build a more productive office. Be on the lookout for signs of gossip, increased absences, or hesitant communication.

Most importantly, try to be an inclusive leader who focuses on strategies to improve morale. Need help creating a more positive company culture? Take the survey and discover where you need to improve to become an amazing workplace.




Want to Stay Healthy? Probiotics are a Must (INFOGRAPHIC)

Brian Wallace, Founder & President, NowSourcing

Most Americans understand that probiotics are good for us and that they can be important to use when we’re sick, but many of us may not understand the true importance of probiotics. It’s one of those things that may hold a nebulous place in our minds, leaving us to diminish the impact that these supplements actually have on our health. 

The fact of the matter is that maintaining a healthy gut and healthy gut microbiome is of the utmost importance when it comes to our health, and probiotic supplements play a major role in that process. 

The COVID pandemic of the past few years has left us with a fresh understanding of our own physical and even mental fragility. Although the strength of the human spirit is formidable, as we have seen again throughout the pandemic, the strength of the individual person can seem very small at times, particularly when a new strand of virus comes to completely knock us off our feet and cause the loss of so many loved ones. 

It’s no wonder that Americans are taking their health a bit more seriously these days. Sadly, many may not realize that taking probiotic supplements for a healthy gut has a huge impact on the immune system. In fact, 70–80% of the immune cells are located within the gut microbiome. 

This microbiome, made up of fungi, viruses, and bacteria in the digestive system, is centrally located for a reason. It takes a central role in how the rest of the entire body functions. We’re born with the microbiome, but it can become unhealthy based on things like too much sugar, lack of exercise, and exposure to antibiotics. Contrariwise, things like exercise, plenty of sun, and quality probiotic supplements help to build and maintain a healthy gut microbiome. 

Beyond the importance to the immune system, gut health is also significantly responsible for levels of inflammation throughout the body, as well as stress responses in the brain. In other words, diseases caused by inflammation (which is most, in some way or another), as well as depression are all integrally linked to gut health. 

Essentially, if we want to stay healthy then taking probiotic supplements should be non negotiable as probiotics support gut health by doing things like feeding good bacteria, inhibiting growth of bad bacteria, producing anti-inflammatory compounds, balancing immune system responses, and having a direct influence on the body’s organs. Probiotics can influence our overall health in major ways. 

Do Probiotics Really Work?: Why Probiotics are Necessary
Source: Nouri


Brian WallaceAbout the Author: Brian Wallace is the Founder and President of NowSourcing, an industry leading infographic design agency in Louisville, KY and Cincinnati, OH which works with companies ranging from startups to Fortune 500s. Brian runs #LinkedInLocal events, hosts the Next Action Podcast, and has been named a Google Small Business Adviser for 2016-present. Follow Brian Wallace on LinkedIn as well as Twitter.




9 Media Trends for 2022: Supply Chain, Healthcare, Infrastructure, HR, the Future of Money, and Cybersecurity Will Dominate the Media Landscape

2022 Media Trends

Norman Birnbach, President, Birnbach Communications

The big driver of trends this year will be determined, unfortunately, by the uncertainty due to the ongoing pandemic. Ultimately, we will adjust to a “new normal” – whatever that looks like. With that in mind, as we’ve done for 20 years, we’ve identified a mix of trends that we feel will be important in the upcoming year. 

And while reporters are back to covering the impact of Covid on their particular beats, here are nine other trends we expect they will cover this year: 

1) Supply chain issues will be at the forefront of corporate communications. The state of the nation’s supply chain will continue to receive coverage, until it becomes more reliable – probably in 2023. Understocked shelves will remain an issue due to scarcity of truck drivers, raw materials and semiconductors, and due to pent-up demand. The implications: Companies that effectively address supply chain issues can gain competitive advantage. They need to regularly communicate with customers about when they expect supplies to get back to normal, otherwise, consumers may try a new brand and not look back. 

2) Infrastructure investments and smart cities will spur sustainable tech. Beyond much-needed investments in ailing bridges and roads, look for cities to improve their tech infrastructure as they develop plans to revitalize themselves. The implications: Cities will look more at smart and sustainable technologies, like more electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, solutions to manage food and package deliveries, intelligent traffic light systems that can adjust to traffic conditions, devices improving energy efficiency, and systems to improve safety, as well as smart sensors to gather data about pollution and other environmental data.

3) More data and bandwidth will help healthcare, but fitness trackers may not. In addition to the ongoing focus of healthcare reporters on COVID-19 this year, bioinformatics, which combines biology and computer science, will attract more media coverage. Powered by AI, bioinformatics is becoming more relevant because it collects and analyzes biological information, which will help transform the study and treatment of diseases and chronic conditions including neurological and psychiatric diseases. At the same time, expect that fitness trackers will get more scrutiny in terms of their accuracy, the data they capture (which may not be the data the user actually needs) and their inability to enable users to share the information with their healthcare providers. The implications: Bioinformatics companies will have more opportunities to inform the public about the timeliness and significance of their technology, while companies selling fitness trackers need to be prepared to address the issues that might arise about their offerings.

4) Cybersecurity will continue to dominate the media as companies search for solutions. The increase in the number of hybrid employees opens new security risks, and companies will need to establish new solutions for users accessing their networks remotely. The implications: Ransomware and other cyber-disruptions won’t go away this year so expect ongoing media coverage in 2022, especially involving government agencies and big companies with access to lots of personal data.

5) Infrastructure and 5G will be important topics in 2022. Updating the country’s infrastructure is seen by some as a way to make the U.S. more competitive and also improve access to necessary services to the have-not Americans who, for example, lack access to high-speed internet. As 3G service is discontinued, it is necessary to help provide 5G access in parts of the country that lack high-speed access. What this means: reporters will be interested in experts who can discuss what needs to be done and how infrastructure investments can impact rural communities, the poor, etc.

6) Future of money is increasingly cashless: More monetary transactions in 2022 will take place using apps like Venmo, PayPal, and Zelle because they’re more convenient because you pay with your phone – even if, like with Venmo, it’s more expensive than cash. We don’t expect this to get a lot of media coverage because reporters are more likely covering other finance topics including crypto, blockchain, NFTs and FinTechs — even though we think most readers won’t fully understand blockchain and NFTs (us included). But we do expect the percentage of cashless transactions to significantly increase except for the elderly and the unbanked poor. What this means: The big problem with going even 90% cashless is if you lose your phone or if there’s a blackout since cashless doesn’t work without electricity. Tangentially connected to the future of money because it is an alternate, but increasingly frequent, way for companies to go public, Special Purpose Acquisition Companies (SPACs), essentially shell companies, will get a lot of coverage, too, but much of it will be negative. 

7) Streaming could mean the end of cable and movie theaters. Pundits have been proclaiming the end of cable for a decade but it’s probably not a coincidence that cable use declined to 50% over the last year. Steaming will further erode movie theaters’ business because with a few exceptions, staying home to watch a movie is easier and less expensive. What this means: The media will cover the streaming wars because there’s only so many services that consumers can subscribe to – but we remain confident that there won’t be any consolidation until 2023. We also expect the media to cover the health of movie theaters and other entertainment venues; that said, we think there’s an ongoing market for sports, live performances and that arenas and theaters will continue to attract audiences as long as the risks for going out into a crowd are minimized. 

8) Big Tech, particularly social media, will continue to be relied upon and hated. We expect ongoing media coverage of the problems across various platforms but we don’t expect Congress to provide a meaningful solution because too many in Congress think the answer is to break up some of these companies as if they were traditional monopolies or to replace Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act which is designed to protect freedom of expression on the internet. What this means: Not much will change.

9) HR will be seen as a competitive advantage. Being able to successfully manage remote teams, retain and recruit employees is more of a strategic priority than ever, especially given the Great Resignation. We expect the media to cover: fierce competition for talent that’s no longer limited by geography and will require better pay and benefits, including more flexibility for caregiving, mental health support; a positive culture (made more challenging to communicate remotely) more diversity and more corporate social responsibility programs; and less tolerance for toxic workplace conditions. This last point is especially important for front-line jobs – like flight attendants, restaurant workers, etc. – who dealt with rude and hostile customers.  What this means: Employees are rethinking their careers and are searching for meaningful work, and companies will need to find ways to provide that. This is particularly important for small companies, including mom-and-pop retail and restaurants, who will find it harder to stay in business if they can’t find and keep employees. 

As we do every year, we’ll do a recap in December to see how we did with our predictions. We think it is important to look at trends affecting a range of sectors, even if we don’t have active clients in a particular area, because there’s a limited quantity of reporters, editors and newspaper pages, including even on a website, and airtime TV, cable, radio and podcasts. So if business reporters are covering the latest iteration of the streaming wars, for example, they may be less able to cover your story. Additionally, knowing what reporters are likely to cover means you’re in a better position to pitch them a story they can use.


Norman BirnbachAbout the Author: Norman Birnbach is the president of Birnbach Communications, www.birnbach.com, a 20-year-old Boston-based PR and social media agency that helps clients navigate trends and raise awareness through earned media and thought leadership. His blog, PR BackTalk, provides insights and attitude about PR, journalism and traditional and social media.

 




Opinion Series: Science for Social Good, Part III – How Science and Humanity Can Help Our Youth Mental Health Crisis 

Science for Social Good, Part III – How Science and Humanity Can Help Our Youth Mental Health Crisis 

Our Children are Definitely Not Alright

Dwayne Flinchum, President, ScientificBrandsTM

If the future of this world is in the hands of young people, we’re tolerating and even cultivating a society that thrusts unimaginable burdens upon them. Just look at the proliferation of deadly drugs like fentanyl, an ever-increasing epidemic of school shootings, climate change and extreme weather events, political strife, a global pandemic, and unregulated access to harmful content and technology platforms.

Unconvinced? Anyone over forty could ask themselves one question to understand the level of crisis that young people face with their mental health: Is growing up more emotionally difficult now than when I was young? Of course, the answer is a resounding yesAccording to the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, emergency department visits for suspected suicide attempts among adolescents jumped 31% in 2020, compared with 2019. In February and March of this year, emergency department visits for suspected suicide attempts were 51% higher among girls aged 12–17 than during the same period in 2019. 

In October, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the Children’s Hospital Association declared that the pandemic-related decline in child and adolescent mental health has become a national emergency.

On top of social isolation and family instability, the medical groups said, “more than 140,000 children in the United States lost a primary and/or secondary caregiver, with youth of color disproportionately impacted.” As reported by The New York Times, over the past generation, a mental health crisis has been brewing among Black youths, one that very few people have spoken about publicly. Self-reported suicide attempts rose nearly 80 percent among Black adolescents from 1991 to 2019, while the prevalence of attempts did not change significantly among those of other races and ethnicities. 

There are positive policy developments, however. The American Rescue Plan Act and the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund, combined with other 2020 pandemic relief funds for schools, amounts to more than $190 billion in education and health grants available over the next four years, some of which can be spent on mental health.

A few years ago, I served in a leadership position at the Child Mind Institute, a nonprofit that is dedicated to transforming the lives of children and families struggling with mental health and learning disorders. I was able to work alongside the country’s top clinicians as they provided treatment to children, teens, and young adults. I was able to learn from neuroscientists seeking to understand the underpinnings of conditions like anxiety, depression, and other disorders so they could identify biomarkers and develop better medicines and therapies.

We created a public awareness campaign called #MyYoungerSelf for the month of May that featured celebrities making one-minute videos with what they would tell their younger selves as they encountered a mental health challenge in their youth. As it turned out, many celebrities had stories to tell. There were authors, actors, athletes, comedians, musicians, TV personalities and social media influencers — 125 in all. And their powerful stories resonated deeply. The media and public response to the campaign was enormous: the videos were picked up and republished exponentially to garner more than 3.5 billion impressions in just one month.

The videos often concluded with a few words of wisdom: just talk to someone. If there’s one simple truth to understand about mental health, it’s that no one should suffer alone and in silence. As the founder and president of the Child Mind Institute liked to say, these disorders are “real, common, and very treatable.” But the first step — opening up and sharing your feelings with another human being — is the hardest and most elusive. 

In recent years, researchers have been making incredible progress toward answering big questions about the development of the human brain. A recent study published in the Journal of Humanistic Psychology found evidence of a pathway whereby the use of psychedelic drugs like psilocybin increased spirituality, and in turn, led to better regulation of emotions. 

But advocacy organizations can do more to communicate these stories of innovation and success. They can do more to connect young people so they can tell their inspiring stories of hope and courage. Shared human experiences are the foundation of many successful support groups and 12-step programs. Bold, daring campaigns are needed to reach teens and young adults to let them know that they are not alone, and that there is help. They can be guided to take an action to reach out to a parent, a sibling, a friend or professional. 

Our challenges are big; let’s think bigger. We can disrupt the status quo. We can meet young people where they spend most of their time with constructive, healthy content. Bringing the science and humanity to life in platforms of social media isn’t just smart branding. It strikes at the core of many organizational missions. 

(Click here to read Part I and Part II of the series.)


Suicide Hotline 800-273-TALK (8255)
If you or someone you know is in crisis, fighting an addiction, being bullied, a victim of domestic violence, or struggling with depression and feelings of suicide, there are options. Help is available. Speak with someone today.

Crisis Text Line

Text HOME to 741741 from anywhere in the United States, at no cost, 24 Hours a day. Crisis Text Line is here for any crisis. A live, trained Crisis Counselor receives the text and responds, all from our secure online platform. The volunteer Crisis Counselor will help you move from a hot moment to a cool moment. https://www.crisistextline.org/


Resources:

https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/wr/mm7024e1.htm

https://www.aap.org/en/advocacy/child-and-adolescent-healthy-mental-development/aap-aacap-cha-declaration-of-a-national-emergency-in-child-and-adolescent-mental-health/ 

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/18/well/mind/suicide-black-kids.html?fbclid=IwAR3IrJHYFJil2Ltd9EsWMwlIDnwzdbuHotBsLl6akler_dyiA5e3IuhADV4 

https://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/blogs/stateline/2021/11/08/covid-harmed-kids-mental-health-and-schools-are-feeling-it 

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2780949
https://753a0706.flowpaper.com/CCSSORRLeveragingFederalv3/#page=1 

https://childmind.org/ 

https://www.psypost.org/2021/12/study-suggests-psychedelics-promote-positive-mental-health-through-increased-spirituality-and-emotion-regulation-62200?fbclid=IwAR0JwBkTy4WWvxOHw02lSWPdXVXo3xigvhGDDgcIwJ3PiLhQl470LGDVAzg


Dwayne Flinchum is the President of ScientificBrands™About the Author: Dwayne Flinchum is the President of ScientificBrands™With 30+ years of experience, he has worked in the strategic planning and development of brand identity, media, marketing and communications initiatives, leading image-defining engagements for global companies and nonprofit organizations. Flinchum founded IridiumGroup and led the firm to success as a brand consultancy for global clients by managing strategic and creative consulting for preeminent private foundations, professional associations, and national cause-based member organizations. For 18 years, he played a significant role in differentiating and building the Accenture brand worldwide. In 2016, Flinchum became a member of the Leadership Team and the Director of Marketing and Communications at the Child Mind Institute and in just three years, achieved accelerated growth of 300-400% across KPIs to dramatically grow audience, build brand awareness, and extend the reach of the public education program and its online resources.




Medical and Healthcare SEO

Medical and Healthcare SEO

 

Mike Paffman, CEO, VIRGO PR

Whenever consumers are looking for any sort of healthcare information, the first place that they turn to is often a search engine like Google. In fact, one of the most common digital activities among users of all ages is looking up information regarding healthcare, and companies in the industry have to use medical and healthcare SEO to reach them and get new patients. Since a large number of people use the internet to look up information regarding healthcare, medical companies can use SEO strategies effectively, and should not overlook this important tool as part of a larger public relations program. 

Relevant Search Keywords

Healthcare companies that are looking to improve their SEO efforts should first start by considering all of the different search terms that internet users are inputting when looking up medical professionals. Those keywords are an essential element to SEO across all industries. When search engines try connecting users with relevant information, they rely on keywords, which is why it’s important that healthcare companies choose the right keywords. 

The first step in figuring out the right or relevant keywords is conducting keyword research and understanding user intent. There are plenty of tools available online that can help companies in conducting that research, and by using them , businesses can hone in on specific consumer pain points, as well as cross-reference  potentially useful search terms from competitors. 

High Ranking in SERPs

While choosing and using relevant keywords is important, that’s just one of the SEO strategies that are beneficial to companies. Businesses in the healthcare industry also have to focus on providing users with content that’s trustworthy, authoritative, and that shows a company’s expertise. The main goal of search engines is to provide users with this type of information quickly. 

If a particular website has shown the search engines that it’s trustworthy and authoritative by having visitors stick around for longer periods of time, those same search engines are going to rank that website a lot higher compared to its competitors. Aside from that, all content on the company’s website should also be regularly updated and reviewed.

Content Marketing

When it comes to digital marketing, one of the most common terms that marketers use is “content marketing”, but it’s not without good reason. One of the easiest ways that companies can help and engage with consumers is by creating valuable content. A great way to start creating it is to begin regularly sharing blog posts with helpful information for buyers; posts which include relevant search terms and keywords. Paired with a company’s expertise, consumers are eventually going to see the value in that content as well as in the company itself, and become loyal buyers. 

Aside from blog posts and other types of written content such as white papers, another element of content marketing is content that’s shared on social media. This is because social media content can indirectly impact a company’s SEO ranking– because it’s able to generate referral website traffic. Finally, with the changing trends in consumer behavior, video content – both long and short-form – has become incredibly popular with buyers, which makes it beneficial for companies too.


Mike PauffmanAbout the Author: Mike Paffman is CEO of Virgo PR, a leading PR agency.




Lumeris Hires Health System Executive as Chief of Marketing and Communications

CommPRO Editorial Staff

Valerie SimonLumeris, a value-based care company helping health systems improve both clinical and financial outcomes, today announced the appointment of health system marketing veteran Valerie Simon as SVP and Chief of Marketing and Communications.

Valerie brings more than 20 years of success driving revenue growth, brand awareness, and organizational reputation. Her executive experience includes serving as the Chief Marketing and Communications Officer for Atlantic Health System and Chief of Strategic Marketing for Plymouth Rock Assurance. Valerie has also held leadership positions in customer service, operations, and sales capacities for media intelligence provider, Burrelles, where she served as Senior Vice President.

“Our decade of experience helping health systems create high performing networks has allowed us to develop a clear blueprint for the next gen health system and a proven path to achieving improved clinical and financial outcomes,” said Mike Long, CEO and Chairman of Lumeris. “Valerie’s marketing expertise and experience as a health system executive will be instrumental as we share our story, elevating all aspects of our brand and go-to-market strategies.”

Recognized as the PRSA NJ PR Professional of the Year, the Millennium Alliance Healthcare Marketing Innovator of the Year and an Aspen Scholar, Valerie has earned a reputation as a passionate and innovative healthcare marketing leader.

“Health Systems are facing unprecedented pressure, including unsustainable cost growth, labor shortages, fee-for-service revenue declines during the COVID-19 pandemic, and an increased focus on health equity. Providing high quality care in a manner that is accessible and affordable requires both the commitment and expertise to develop and enable a high performing network,” said Valerie. “I look forward to helping Lumeris’ health system partners leverage their brands and capabilities to build lifelong partnerships with consumers and healthier communities.”

Valerie earned a BA in Communications, Legal Institutions, Economics and Government from American University. She and her husband live in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey and have two children. A social media enthusiast, Valerie can be found on Twitter @valeriesimon or LinkedIn.




The Stevens Group PR Masters Podcast Acquispectives – Gil Bashe, Chair, Global Health, Finn Partners

Gil BasheGil Bashe, Chair, Global Health, Finn Partners

“If you want to be in the cutting edge of health communications related to COVID-19, move away from a sick care mindset, and move toward a self-care mindset. The industry needs to put its foot down and say, ‘We want to reduce the cost of healthcare in the United States and around the world, reinvest in our self-care infrastructure.’ This is a call to public relations professionals.”

Listen to the Podcast




5 Signs of a Healthy Company Culture

5 Signs of a Healthy Company Culture

 

You spend more time at work than any other activity, so it’s important to feel appreciated and energized while at work. That old saying, “Find a job doing something you love, and it will never seem like work” is certainly true, but where you work is just as important.

A great company culture is one of the top 10 reasons people want to work for a company. Even though you love the work you do, the wrong company culture can make you miserable.

So, what do you look for in a company to gauge their culture?

Open communication

One of the most important aspects of an amazing workplace is an emphasis on open and honest communication. Great companies share information and include employees in management ideas and decisions. Communication flows both ways, so there must be feedback systems in place too. A free flow of communication, transparency, and honesty build trust and let people feel part of the company.

Common Values 

The days of ‘just a job’ are long gone. Most employees like to feel they’re making a difference and doing good while earning a living.

Does the company have a statement of values, mission, and purpose? Their values will give you a strong indication of what their culture is and what they’re aiming to achieve. If you can relate to and identify with their values, it’s likely a culture you’d be comfortable working there.

Happy Employees

A company with a great culture has employees who have been there for many years. They’re quite content where they are and have no plans to look for another job.

Achieving this takes good job descriptions, training, and mentoring. A comfortable and attractive physical environment makes a difference too.  As does finding out what people need to work well without distraction or disharmony and providing those perks. And, of course, pay that is adequate for that position.

Apart from these obvious items, the culture also takes into account how people interact and provides opportunities for fun and comradery. When there is a general sense of wellbeing in a company, you’ll see smiling faces and employees engaged in collaborative projects.

Increased Productivity

A workplace with a strong culture of employee wellbeing at its core is not just about making people feel good. A study conducted by the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School found that happy employees are 13 percent more productive. And it’s not because they work longer hours. Happy employees work faster and produce better outcomes, which has a positive effect on the bottom line.

People Want to be Part of an Amazing Workplace

Listen to what people say about the company. Read reviews online. When lots of people express an interest in working for a company, you can be sure that there is a good company culture there. According to the Hired 2020 Brand Health Report that ranks companies for how much people want to work there, the right company culture attracts the best candidates.

If you’re considering changing jobs, take a good look at the culture of the companies you’re considering joining. Working in a company with a culture that fits in with your ideas, beliefs, and values, can make coming to work a positive experience.




The Healthcare Impact of the Lockdown

CommPRO Editorial Staff

As the world continues the Covid-19 battle, the healthcare impact of the pandemic goes beyond the virus.  Being sedentary during a pandemic lockdown can have a negative impact on your spine. Spinal diseases are quite common in the modern world. One of the most serious pathologies of the spinal cord is syringomyelia. The prevalence of syringomyelia is about 10 cases per 100,000 population, and the first symptoms usually appear at the age of about 20 years. The disease is destructive and can lead to severe neurological complications if left untreated.

Patients usually seek help at advanced stages of the disease, when conservative treatment is no longer effective. Therefore, one of the leading methods of treatment of syringomyelia is surgery. Today, the most popular country for surgical treatment for syringomyelia is Germany.

Why surgery is necessary

Syringomyelia is a disease in which cystic cavities that contain fluid emerge in the spinal cord. The cavity can arise as a result of central canal dilatation or be located in the substance of the spinal cord. Over time, these cavities may enlarge, causing severe complications. The most common among them are weakness of the muscles of the hands and loss of sensation.

Subsequently, the sensitivity problems spread to other parts of the body. Loss of pain and temperature sensitivity comes first, which can result in unintended deep cuts and burns.

Moreover, changes in the structure of the joints and bones develop, including their atrophy and calcium washout, which makes the bones fragile and more likely to break. The damage to the bones and joints is often painless.

Treatment of syringomyelia

Unfortunately, modern medicine can’t completely cure this disease. As a rule, at the early stages, treatment begins with conservative methods, e.g. massages, diet, physical therapy, as well as medications that improve nutrition of the nervous tissue.

In the case of progression of the disease, surgical treatment is used, the main task of which is to reduce the cysts size. This allows stopping the progression of the loss of sensitivity, as well as relieving pain.

If doctors are lucky enough to detect the disease at an early stage and remove the cysts in the spinal cord using surgery, this significantly slows down the progression of the disease and significantly improves the patient’s quality of life.

Up-to-date surgical options

Doctors abroad use minimally invasive surgeries to treat syringomyelia. Advantages of minimally invasive interventions include absence of large incisions, minimal involvement of the healthy spinal cord, and faster rehabilitation. German doctors have a wide range of state-of-art robotic and endoscopic equipment.

Hospitals in Germany use modern equipment to monitor the patient’s state during surgery. This not only improves the accuracy of the surgery, but also reduces the risks to the patient’s health. Moreover, surgical treatment for syringomyelia is performed by surgeons with extensive experience, so patients with syringomyelia do not need to worry about health risks.

Treatment of syringomyelia during the lockdown

Because of the poor availability of up-to-date treatment options in many countries, many patients prefer to undergo treatment in modern foreign hospitals. However, during the global lockdown due to COVID-19 pandemic, arranging treatment on one’s own has become virtually impossible.

If you need help with arranging treatment for syringomyelia during the lockdown, contact the medical tourism operator Booking Health. With its help, treatment abroad is available at any time, even during the lockdown.

Company’s specialists will help you with preparation of all necessary documents for treatment abroad, receiving a visa and entrance permission, etc.

Comfortable treatment in the best foreign hospitals

Treatment abroad has many advantages, but organizing it can be challenging and time-consuming. To make your life easier, you can ask for help from the medical tourism operator Booking Health.

Its main task is to organize cost-effective treatment for patients from all over the world. The main advantage of Booking Health is the absence of additional fees and affordable cost of spinal surgery and other treatment options. So, with Booking Health you can save time and money.

To find more information about the cost of spinal surgery, you can visit the Booking Health website.




The Future of Healthcare is Digital (INFOGRAPHIC)

Brian Wallace, Founder & President, NowSourcing

For many of us, sending a text is almost second nature.  We probably send hundreds of them in a week to family or friends.  But do you ever text your doctor? Telehealth has been on the rise this past year but that usually has consisted of logging on to a third party software and videoconferencing for your appointment.  However, studies show that only 10% of patients actually prefer using a third party online patient portal.  It is much more preferred to use a text based system to give and receive updates about your health to your physician.  This makes sense as we are 98% likely to read a text message versus the 7% chance that we read a message sent on a secure portal. 

Texting for us is just a way of life, and our physicians recognize that. 83% of Americans do not follow the treatment plan that their doctor gives them.  However, 80% of physicians believe that a patient would be more likely to follow a treatment plan if they were to receive text based reminders and notifications. 

This makes sense.  Oftentimes a treatment plan means altering our lives in a way that we have never done before.  It is not that we actively seek to ignore the advice of our doctor, it is just that we simply forget to implement the new steps into our daily life.  By receiving texts and notifications, it would make the patient more aware and accountable of the changes that they need to implement.  Increasing adherence to treatment plans means increasing the positive outcomes in medical situations.  By doing this, doctors can assure their patients that they will get better and they can mean it as well. 

Text based communication also increased the effectiveness of the clinic or hospital that chooses to partake in it.  The ability to make real-time changes to physicians schedules based off of text feedback allows the clinic to effectively stream workplace productions.  It also allows them to save the most money.

The cumulative cost per year per physician for missed appointments is $150,000.  That is money that could have been spent on medical research or pro bono.  By freeing up that amount of missed earning, text based messaging directly contributes to the development of the future of medicine. Healthcare messaging communication allows for a better environment for both the physician and the patients to increase their partnership.

 

The Power of Mobile Messaging
Source: SopranoDesign.com


Brian WallaceAbout the Author: Brian Wallace is the Founder and President of NowSourcing, an industry leading infographic design agency in Louisville, KY and Cincinnati, OH which works with companies ranging from startups to Fortune 500s. Brian runs #LinkedInLocal events, hosts the Next Action Podcast, and has been named a Google Small Business Adviser for 2016-present. Follow Brian Wallace on LinkedIn as well as Twitter.




Redesigning Spaces From the Inside Out in Healthcare and Beyond (INFOGRAPHIC)

Brian Wallace, Founder & President, NowSourcing

There’s no place like home.  That said, home is not an option for many that rely on nursing homes.  The business of restoring the nursing home business is a major undertaking but the more a resident and their loved ones feel at home, the better everyone will feel. 

The demand for nursing homes has increased dramatically over the years. 65-year-olds have a 70% chance of needing long-term care, and 20% of them will require this care for more than five years. Nursing homes also face significant financial issues. From 1999 to 2008, 50% of hospital-based facilities closed down, 11% of freestanding facilities shut down, 10% of rural facilities closed down.

If nursing homes do not comply with a set standard, they are at more significant hazard for closure. These problems are often accentuated if they deal with problematic recreation options and poorly constructed physical design, on top of high overhead costs, inadequate medical reimbursement, and breaches of biohazard safety. This can cause problems for the patients and the facility.

These factors require a change in structure, but it is first useful to understand architectural design basics for nursing homes. All nursing homes have a basic layout, which includes patient rooms, lobby spaces, public and private bathrooms, staff rooms, and food preparation areas.

The construction of the building is significant since it is a place of residence for senior citizens, and it is key to the foundation. Patients’ experiences depend on what is available to them. Different units should include custodial — for bathing, feeding, and medicine administration, in-house — for in-home room and board, dietary, recreational, and rehabilitation — to strengthen and repair patients.

Builders should use ergonomic appliances and technology, high-quality, budget-friendly, economical technology, and high quality of care and attention to organizing the building to ensure that it is beneficial and helpful.

It is essential to recognize who the patients are, how many patients there are, the length of their stay, what equipment is necessary for them, and their daily traffic in the building. 

Moreover, designers should examine the interior, including how many rooms, if safety standards are met, what kind of environment is created, and how will residents observe it. 

According to Ritz Flooring, investing in cost-effective architecture, including luxury vinyl tiles for smooth and fall-proof surfaces and stone particle composite for waterproof abilities, will significantly benefit the home’s design.

During COVID-19 and overall in these homes, you must consider hygiene to protect the patients from the virus and instill a feeling of safety and cleanliness when creating the buildings.

It is essential to set the tone for these nursing homes so that there is a warm feeling for the patients, as the focus should always be on their experience and understanding. Renovation of these homes through nursing home flooring is a major shift for the better.

 Reimagining Nursing Homes From The Inside Out: Modern Design For A Whole New Look


Brian WallaceAbout the Author: Brian Wallace is the Founder and President of NowSourcing, an industry leading infographic design agency in Louisville, KY and Cincinnati, OH which works with companies ranging from startups to Fortune 500s. Brian runs #LinkedInLocal events, hosts the Next Action Podcast, and has been named a Google Small Business Adviser for 2016-present. Follow Brian Wallace on LinkedIn as well as Twitter.




India Faces COVID-19 Crisis: Action Against Hunger Responds with Medical, Mental Health and Food Aid

CommPRO Editorial Staff

India is facing an unprecedented public health crisis with the latest wave of COVID-19. The nonprofit Action Against Hunger is supporting COVID-19 prevention and treatment, while working to ensure this medical crisis doesn’t become a hunger crisis by delivering relief resources worth $1.5 million in the coming months. This includes 30,000 PPE and N95 masks to medical and frontline workers, 30 ventilator units, 120 fetal monitors and BiPap machines, 3,500 medical devices that include oximeters and nebulizers, plus 200 tons of food, and emergency mental health and nutrition counseling.

“With much of India now in lockdown and health services struggling to keep up, we fear that hunger and malnutrition will quickly follow COVID-19’s latest wave in India, especially for vulnerable groups like young children and pregnant and breastfeeding mothers,” said Snigdha Sahal, Action Against Hunger India’s Executive Director.

Prior to the pandemic, two-thirds of the country’s population lived in poverty and four out of ten children were chronically malnourished. Research shows the pandemic has had a devastating impact on incomes and worsened food security in India. Given the importance of nutrition in a child’s first 1,000 days, “a further deterioration in the food situation could pose a threat to an entire generation,” says Sahal.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Action Against Hunger’s 190 in-country staff have supported 41,000 pregnant and breastfeeding women and treated 6,000 malnourished children. Its aid workers also have made more than 55,000 phone calls to equip people with reliable information on COVID-19 precautions and vaccines, and to address rising need for nutrition and hunger prevention and for stress management and mental health. The organization trains parents in how to detect their children’s nutrition status at home, reducing the need to visit health centers during lockdowns when the medical system is overwhelmed.

Working across urban and rural areas of four states — Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Gujarat — Action Against Hunger has collaborated with local authorities and partners to provide necessary equipment to government hospitals and frontline workers so they can continue to provide crucial healthcare services.

Source: NGO Wire




What Communicators Need to Know About Mental Wellbeing — Mental Health Awareness Month 2021

 

Tressa Robbins, Vice President of Customer Onboarding, Burrelles

“You Are Not Alone.” That’s the tagline for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) campaign this year. NAMI is focusing on the healing value of connecting in safe ways, prioritizing mental health and acknowledging that it’s okay to not be okay, which seems especially apropos during the pandemic. 

If you spend much time on social media or listen to podcasts, you may already be aware that May is designated as Mental Health Awareness Month (MHAM). The goal is to raise awareness of those living with mental or behavioral health issues and help reduce the stigma surrounding those issues. 

Mental health defined

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), mental health is a state of wellbeing in which an individual “can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and is able to make a contribution to his or her community. Mental health is fundamental to our collective and individual ability as humans to think, emote, interact with each other, earn a living and enjoy life.” 

Mental health is more than the “absence of a mental illness”—it’s essential to your overall health and quality of life and affects emotional, psychological and social wellbeing. 

In the U.S., anxiety disorders are the most prevalent form of mental illness, followed by major depressive episodes, post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD), bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and schizophrenia. 1

The public relations-stress connection

Public relations work is one of the most stressful jobs in America, according to CareerCast. It seems each year, PR ranks in the top 10 on this annual survey (along with our journalism brethren).

As I wrote last October, under ‘normal’ circumstances, PR pros are masters at juggling priorities and performing in stressful situations. However, the pandemic brought on additional stressors to already demanding jobs. When stress is never-ending, it’s as though your body and mind are in constant fight-or-flight mode. The human body isn’t designed to maintain this mode constantly—this is when it can impact overall mental health. 

As communicators, you know that communicating is critical and that tackling an issue directly is best practice, but are you applying to your own wellbeing and mental health? What about those who work for you? 

Mental health affects physical health (and vice versa) 

Mental health is an integral part of overall health. It also affects physical health, and can lead to a weakened immune system, high blood pressure, heart disease, asthma, diabetes, and even negatively impact life expectancy. 

For example, anxiety and depression often manifest as sleep disturbances — either sleeping too much or not enough. Sleep disorders can cause physical and emotional fatigue, irritability, poor memory recall, and real tangible pain (muscle tension, headaches, stomach issues, inflammation). 

One thing that’s often overlooked is that it works both ways. Chronic physical medical conditions contribute to a higher risk of depression and anxiety. Scientists don’t fully understand the direct correlation; nonetheless, the connection is there.

By the numbers

Millions of people (adults, teens and children) struggle with a mental illness each year. In communications-related industries (marketing, PR, advertising) mental health and wellbeing account for a significant amount of lost productivity at work. It also directly impacts key performance indicators (KPIs) and business outcomes. 

  • In 2019, more than 51 million adults in the U.S. experienced some form of mental illness — that’s one out of every 5 adults. 2
  • Depression and anxiety disorders alone cost the global economy $1 trillion in lost productivity each year. 3
  • Mental illness costs America $193.2 billion in lost earnings per year. 4
  • Mental health is cited as the main reason for over half (51%) of calls to the NABS support organization, followed by low mood and confidence (20%) and work pressures (16%) in the U.K. 5
  • 42% of global employees experienced a decline in their mental health since the pandemic started. 6
  • A post-pandemic survey of leisure and business travelers found 70% of U.S. respondents expressing concerns about stress. 7
  • Over 9 million U.S. adults with mental illness also experienced substance abuse in 2019. 8
  • Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S., and the suicide rate has increased by 35% in the last decade. 9
  • In 2020, the number of people seeking help with anxiety and depression skyrocketed with a 62% increase over 2019. 10

Promoting Wellness

Organizations and companies help themselves by promoting wellness among their employees. While I’ve read a multitude of advice from various ‘talking heads,’ NAMI breaks it down to three primary areas: 

  1. Provide easy access to healthcare and services—health insurance that provides benefits for mental health conditions, employee assistance programs (EAP), wellness programs or incentives, telehealth access, clear policies.
  2. Check-in on your teams—encourage open dialogue, ensure privacy and confidentiality, educate, schedule regular check-ins one-on-one and collectively.
  3. Encourage movement—exercise, brief walks, yoga, going outdoors, stretching, meditation, dance. Science shows the mind and body are intimately connected.

Where to go from here

One of the best resources I found for (non-HR) business leaders and employers is the Working Well: 2021 Global Wellbeing Survey—developed and conducted by Aon in partnership with IPSOS, a leading global market research company. The report arms you with current statistical findings and offers advice for organizations to support wellbeing initiatives, tackle historic mental health stigmas, and foster resilience and diversity. 

One of the most prominent points the report makes is that wellbeing requires a strategy. It shows that although 82% of companies globally consider employee wellbeing a priority, many firms lack a wellbeing strategy in their culture, talent acquisition and performance objectives. Of the 87% who have wellbeing initiatives in place, only 55% have a strategy. 

For individuals, in addition to NAMI, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) offers some great tips for self-care to help you manage stress and when to seek professional help. They also have a series of wellness toolkits and articles called Your Healthiest Self

Normalize the conversation

We can end the stigma of mental health conditions by normalizing the conversation surrounding them. Stigmas are born of negative stereotypes and misconceptions. Doing nothing only encourages this misguided, negative behavior. Educating yourself, getting the facts, choosing your words carefully, and positively supporting others are all ways you can help create an opening for discussions and normalize these conversations.

I especially like Dr. Wendy Troxel’s analogy in a recent Wall Street Journal article. The clinical psychologist and senior behavioral and social scientist said, “If you wait until a major stressor hits to try and bolster your mental health, it’s like trying to inflate your life raft while you are already drowning at sea.” 

In the spirit of the NAMI MHAM initiative, let me reassure you that you are not alone! Like many other industry professionals, I struggle to maintain my mental health and keep depression and anxiety in check. Last year, when Burrelles’ benefits manager sent out information on our insurance provider’s mental health benefits, I took a cursory glance and moved it to a saved folder. However, about two weeks later, I felt myself spiraling, so I decided to go back and re-read the information. While I’ve half-heartedly tried other apps only to delete them later, I decided to download the suggested app (Sanvello) and give it a try. (Note: I’m not advocating one solution or app over another.) And I do find some comfort in the daily “How are you feeling today” check-ins and weekly questionnaires to gauge where I’m at and the suggestions it offers. Of course, reading and understanding guidance is much easier than putting it into practice!I recently read an article by a marketing firm co-founder where he encouraged readers to not fear the stigma and not be afraid to take a look in the mirror and decide if you want to see changes in yourself. Or to simply reach out to someone and check on their wellbeing. I couldn’t agree more!


About the Author: Tressa Robbins is a B2B strategic communications leader with years of diversified business, communications, public relations, social media, content creation and management experience. She is currently vice president of customer onboarding at Burrelles where she manages and performs new customer onboarding of major/enterprise accounts. Tressa has long been active in public relations and regional business groups including PRSA, having previously served the St. Louis Chapter in multiple roles including past president. She also served as the 2015 PRSA Midwest District Conference Chair and was named St. Louis PR Professional of the Year in 2019. She is a Champions for PRSSA member and is professional advisor for the Southeast Missouri State University PRSSA chapter. As a long-time remote worker, she enjoys life in the southeast Missouri Ozark foothills with her husband and two dogs. 

 Connect with Tressa on Twitter and LinkedIn, or through her website.


¹ https://www.nami.org/mhstats

² https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/reports/rpt29393/2019NSDUHFFRPDFWHTML/2019NSDUHFFR1PDFW090120.pdf

3 https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanpsy/article/PIIS2215-0366(16)30024-4/fulltext

4 https://3drst5yt38x3lxeal2br6hlp-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/94/2020/09/Navigating-A-Mental-Health-Crisis.pdf

5 https://www.marketingweek.com/brands-support-marketers-mental-health/

6 https://www.qualtrics.com/blog/confronting-mental-health/

7 https://www.smartmeetings.com/meeting-planning/reports-surveys/133147/survey-travel-stressful

8 https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/reports/rpt29393/2019NSDUHFFRPDFWHTML/2019NSDUHFFR1PDFW090120.pdf

9 https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/suicide

10 https://www.mhanational.org/issues/state-mental-health-america

 

(Reprinted with permission from Burrelles.  This article originally appeared on Burrelles’ blog, https://burrelles.com/mental-health-awareness-month-2021-what-you-need-to-know/)




Golin Promotes Jaimee Reggio to Managing Director, Golin U.S. Healthcare

Reggio to Oversee the Region’s Blue Chip Client Roster and Lead Growth for the Practice  

CommPRO Editorial Staff

Interpublic Group (NYSE: IPG) agency Golin announced the appointment of Jaimee Reggio to managing director of U.S. healthcare. Based in Golin’s headquarter market of Chicago, she officially started the newly created role last quarter. 

Reggio brings two decades of pharmaceutical and healthcare experience to this role, spending the last 12 years at Golin leading the healthcare practice’s largest pharmaceutical businesses and contributing to year-over-year growth. Reggio most recently led the agency’s largest healthcare practice in its headquarter market of Chicago.  

Last year was a pivotal year for Golin healthcare. The agency earned double digit growth across the U.S. with organic and new client wins, it prioritized investments within healthcare communications and hired specialty talent to strengthen client service.

“Our healthcare practice continues to be the fastest growing area across the agency, and we’re building a leadership team that supports its increased specialty needs,” said Matt Neale CEO, Golin. “Jaimee’s proven management over our blue chip client roster, mixed with her ability to be nimble in a constantly evolving healthcare space, make her an exceptional leader to drive Golin into the future.”

Also pivotal last year came with the onset of the COVID-19 global pandemic, where Reggio and her team supported existing and new clients through many firsts to continue to meet the needs of patients during an unprecented time – all while navigating their own new, remote working situations.

“I can’t imagine a more exciting time to be in healthcare supporting our clients across the industry in bringing forth innovative treatments and solutions to meet the evolving needs of patients,” said Reggio. “I am so proud of the real impact our team is making in partnership with our clients, especially now when the needs are so great across the board.”

As part of her first charge, Reggio plans to operationalize client delivery and service during a time of continued growth and leadership transition for the practice and create a stronger offering that sets Golin healthcare on the path toward long-term success. She’ll also foster and build a team that expands the agency’s speciality capabilities, identify best practices and improve internal systems with an eye toward future needs and budget realities.

With Reggio’s expanded role, Golin also grew its leadership bench by welcoming Elizabeth Fisher-Au from fellow IPG DXTRA agency, WeberShandwick, to be executive vice president, healthcare and lead Golin’s growing Janssen portfolio.   

 




The Importance of Digital Engagement for Healthcare Marketers

Rebecca Wong, Managing Director, Three Whiskey US

The pandemic has demonstrated the importance of digital engagement and virtual connection, especially for healthcare providers and companies. This year it will become increasingly important for healthcare marketers to leverage these digital channels in order to keep up with evolving customer needs and build brand trust. 

So, how can healthcare companies transform their digital experience? 

Providers are now shifting how they deliver care to virtual settings, whenever possible, while still focusing on quality patient care. Communication through digital channels such as email, social media, and messaging, will become increasingly important for customer updates as well as reminders of the company’s safety measures throughout the pandemic. 

Healthcare marketers will need to ensure these digital channels not only provide a good patient or customer experience but also that they’re equipped to handle an influx of online customer engagement, for example on social channels, for faster conversion. 

Additionally, providers and healthcare companies will need to shift their focus on analytics to properly track conversions and online behavior. Using analytics to demonstrate the value of these channels will become increasingly important.

Limited capabilities with in-person channels will lead to a focus on digital

With sales teams being limited in their reach during the pandemic, digital channels have proven their effectiveness and importance during this time. Going forward, customer engagement and brand awareness through digital channels will be a key focus for marketers. 

In addition to improving digital channels that impact the customer experience, healthcare marketers should also rely on digital like SEO, content marketing, and paid media to increase the brand’s online visibility and potential conversions. We have seen increased investment and focus on paid media channels with our clients since the beginning of the year. When integrated with analytics, digital marketing is a powerful way to demonstrate the effectiveness of healthcare marketers’ digital engagement strategy.  

Patients are seeking information online

Patients have been increasingly taking healthcare into their own hands and seeking information online to ensure they have quality healthcare. With the pandemic, virtual appointments are increasing as in-person engagements are limited. Providers need to focus on offering a superior digital experience in order to keep up with evolving patient behaviors. 

Improving SEO to ensure your provider website is visible in search and information is easily accessible to your customers will be a major focus. Expert health information will position your company as a trusted resource.

Providers and healthcare marketers will also need to focus on digital, especially social channels, to inform patients of updates, current research and healthcare trends, and the latest technology available. Social channels can increase engagement and customer relationships by sharing trusted expert advice. 

Healthcare marketers have greater digital capabilities than ever before, and these should be leveraged in order to provide the best consumer experience possible. 

Demonstrating success will be important for newer channels

In 2021, healthcare marketing requires a more integrated approach in terms of measurement and delivery across systems. Some digital channels may not have been fully utilized in the past but with an increased focus on these channels, demonstrating ROI will be important. To ensure you’re tracking the right metrics at the correct touchpoints, it’s essential to set up a measurement framework during your initial planning stage.

Healthcare marketers need to begin by identifying the objectives of the provider’s digital channels. From there, you can determine the type of data that should be tracked for successful conversions. For example, in hospitals, this could be appointments made, whereas, for pharmaceutical companies, this could be scripts written or actual product sales. 

Sometimes new products, such as advanced technology or hospital equipment, have long sales cycles. The FDA approval process is also lengthy, but customers may be interested before approval. Tracking customer requests for information is a key area in which healthcare marketers can demonstrate the success of their digital channels. By tracking each step of the cycle, from inquiry to purchase, healthcare marketers can gain deeper insight into the buyer’s journey and apply that to future marketing strategies. 

Conclusion

With an increase in virtual patient care and customers seeking information online, digital channels will become increasingly important for healthcare marketers. Demonstrating ROI in these channels will be imperative as companies continue on their digital transformation journeys. This shift towards digital allows marketers to engage with customers better and will continue in 2021. 

 

 




The Health + Wealth of America

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Fixing the Disconnected World of Healthcare Payments (INFOGRAPHIC)

Brian Wallace, Founder & President, NowSourcing

During COVID-19, collecting payments and going to the doctor has become increasingly complex.  When it comes to healthcare, most Americans want price estimates upfront;  84% of Millennials and Gen Z and 65% of Baby Boomers want these price estimates, yet only half are accurate.  Many Americans struggle with unexpected medical bills.  Even with employer-sponsored insurance, 4 in 10 Americans struggle to afford healthcare. 

Why are costs so unpredictable? Recently high deductible plans have increased in popularity; high deductible plans with a health savings account have risen 450% and plans without a health savings account have risen 231%.  Almost 20 million American adults with employment-based coverage were enrolled in high deductible plans from 2007 through 2017.  Even though 69% of patients attempt to learn about costs before or during their appointment, patients who switch to these insurance plans often encounter confusion about payment responsibility, higher out-of-pocket costs, and an increase in unexpected medical bills.

Medical payments can be collected from three sources: insurance payers, consumers, or a mix of both. All of these are processed at a different time in the payment cycle, complicating medical spending. One-quarter of all wasted spending in healthcare relates to the time and money spent on collecting, posting, and reconciling payments.

Denied claims also increase costs.  10% of insurance claims are denied; the work required to rework and resubmit can cost up to 18 times more than a claim that is correctly filed the first time.  These are a source of potential money-savers, seeing as 90% of denied claims are avoidable. Eliminating rework for 100 claims per month would save the average medical practice $37,000 a year and could save a hospital $149,000.  Common errors that lead to denial include incorrect patient identification, services not covered, out-of-network provider, or prior authorization required.  Mistakes can also occur when systems are interoperable.

Contactless check-in, insurance eligibility verification, insurance card OCR, and connected systems can solve these spending issues.  To slow the spread of COVID-19, contactless check-in and payments have been implemented across the country.  Contactless check-in and payments minimize patient-to-patient interaction and the contamination of pens, paperwork, and other surfaces.  Patients complete digital registration documents including COVID-19 screening questions, consent forms, and insurance documentation, and review of outstanding balance and copays.  

PracticeSquire efficiently connects healthcare systems, making getting paid fast and simple.  Benefits to insurance providers include reduced administrative workload, accurate data capture and digital insurance verification for faster claims, and fewer mistakes, administrative headaches, and reduced turnover. Patients can easily check-in from anywhere without the risk of infection, understand cost and responsibility before receiving their services, and save information with just a login.  Office staff eliminate mistakes and rework claims from misread insurance cards, reduce their risk of infection, and get more time to focus on other tasks.  PracticeSquire is the reliable and efficient auto assistant that benefits all.

 

Insurance Card Image Processing With Eligibility
Source: PracticeSquire


Brian WallaceAbout the Author: Brian Wallace is the Founder and President of NowSourcing, an industry leading infographic design agency in Louisville, KY and Cincinnati, OH which works with companies ranging from startups to Fortune 500s. Brian runs #LinkedInLocal events, hosts the Next Action Podcast, and has been named a Google Small Business Adviser for 2016-present. Follow Brian Wallace on LinkedIn as well as Twitter.




The Future of Health Wellness Belongs to Women

Tiffany Wirth, SVP of Healthcare Marketing, WEX Inc. 

Getting employees to pay attention to their health benefits options, take time to understand them, and make the right choices to set themselves up for financial success has been a big part of my mission as a communications leader in the health benefits space. Nothing has shone a light on the importance of our health and benefits like the COVID-19 pandemic. Many women faced new, unforeseen medical and childcare expenses, lost their jobs, and took pay cuts. While the pandemic brought a lot of hardship, it also reminded us that we need to be prepared for the unexpected. 

Pandemics worsen existing gender inequities both domestically and abroad, and this one was no different.1 In 2020, we saw more women forced to leave the workplace than ever before, which also put more families at greater financial risk. Women experience higher rates of poverty than men as a result of discrimination, and sexist policies that have led to the gender wage gap constrain women to lower-wage jobs and prevent nationwide policies supportive of working parents all of which have harmed women of color the most.2 Women are also more vulnerable than men to unexpected healthcare costs. These issues existed before the pandemic, but COVID has compounded everything. Right now, consumers are looking for more guidance about how to tackle routine or unexpected healthcare costs and financially adjust to the new “normal.” 

Women are overwhelmingly responsible for the family healthcare decisions and, according to the Center for Talent Innovation, whether or not they are married or have children, 94 percent of women make healthcare decisions for themselves and 59 percent make healthcare decisions for others. And 58 percent of women who make healthcare decisions for others lack confidence in their ability to do so. These numbers are eye-opening, especially when you think about the average amount of time people spend selecting their healthcare coverage. In our 2018 Clear Insights Report, we found that three-quarters respondents spent less than an hour evaluating their employer’s different healthcare options during open enrollment. 

Over the past several years, WEX has put an emphasis on educating consumers about how to get the most from their benefits, helping them to make better choices to set themselves up for financial health. Our goal is to be part of the solution, working with employers to offer more flexible plans and better tools to educate employees.

I appreciate that the theme for International Women’s Day is “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world.” Together with my peers in the company, I continually think about WEX’s role in taking on that challenge, and how we can do even more for employers and employees in helping to ensure women’s economic futures. 

Employers and HR professionals need to think about and approach benefits differently. The pandemic has already confirmed that there is no one-size-fits-all solution for employees when it comes to how and where they work. Flexibility is crucial, especially if we want to keep women in the workforce. The pandemic’s impact on the economy and our view of healthcare means that both financial wellness and mental health will be a big focus for employers going forward. More employers need to see benefits like health savings accounts (HSAs) and flexible spending accounts (FSAs) as “health and wealth” planning and savings tools for their employees and prioritize helping employees make meaningful choices with their dollars. Embedded in the many conversations about the evolving landscape of employee benefits this year is the need to focus on helping employees save on healthcare costs and plan for out-of-pocket and unexpected medical expenses. If employers can help reduce worries over financial challenges and create thriving talent engagement programs, we will see the world recover in a more meaningful way. 

Our goal will be to encourage employers to go the extra mile to ensure employees are taking advantage of accounts that offer tax advantages and savings opportunities in addition to traditional modes of savings, such as 401(k) plans. 

We’ll also continue to work with our employer partners to develop creative programs that provide new levels of support and education for employees, such as concierge services, telemedicine, and other benefits for families adjusting to life after the pandemic. With heightened expectations for educating employees on their benefits options more broadly, I see the importance of communicating benefits in a more systematic and structural approach than just sharing benefits options in PDFs. Our challenge is to create more conversation and find ways to better meet the needs of female employees and consumers. 

For the many employer partners WEX serves, I see these trends further emphasizing the importance of having deep, data-driven insight about their employees. I know that women have the experience and resourcefulness to play a huge role in us building back and growing beyond the many challenges that 2020 brought, and I am proud to support that effort. 

#ChooseToChallenge 

 


About the Author: Tiffany Wirth is SVP of Healthcare Marketing at WEX, leading the communications, public relations, and marketing efforts that help WEX’s health division remain the leader in the consumer-driven healthcare industry. Before Tiffany Wirth made her entry into healthcare as WEX Health’s VP of marketing in 2009, she served as Microsoft’s senior product manager and then senior marketing manager. At Microsoft, she had access to well-established messaging and engagement platforms (not to mention, huge brand awareness); at WEX Health, she had to use her ingenuity to build something incredible from scratch. Then, WEX Health was a small and rapidly growing consumer-directed healthcare software company of a different name. Now, more than 50 percent of Fortune 1000 employer groups use our technology. Then, Tiffany was the only employee dedicated to marketing. Now, she oversees a team of 12 FTEs, four interns and several contracted vendors across three locations. Over the past decade, throughout a series of acquisitions and mergers, Tiffany has directed WEX Health’s strategy and budget around public relations, events, product marketing, brand and partner marketing. Helping to propel WEX Health through its massive evolution, Tiffany has spearheaded three separate company rebranding efforts, including its repositioning from a health payments company into the biggest technology player in the space. When she started with the company, it wasn’t yet profitable. Just five years later, it sold to WEX, Inc. for $535 million.  




Healthcare Jobs of the Future

Brian Wallace, Founder & President, NowSourcing

When we think of devastating health crises, economic disasters and political instability, we normally don’t jump to the question of: How can we market this? 2020, however, was a year that all preconceived notions were abolished. In 2020, we were able to understand how to not only help people with healthcare but how to modernize treatment with help from the business sector.

At the end of the day healthcare is a business. They are in the business of keeping people healthy, and with that comes the need for capital. With the rise in demand for personal primary care and telehealth, many hospitals and general practitioners need to innovate in order to keep up with the rising trends in health services. One of the key aspects of marketing is being able to deliver what demographics want in order to get them to have a relationship with a specific company. One of the fastest growing trends right now is the rise in telehealth. Since 2019 there has been an 154% rise in the demand for telehealth. Why? With fear of contracting the coronavirus at an all time high, many patients felt more comfortable going to checkups and general health programs from the safety of their own homes. 

The rise in telehealth is a significant wake up call to the healthcare industry. The pandemic has increased the reliance and demand for technology based health care. The difference between this trend and many others of the past is that tech based healthcare is not going away. Appoli’s VP of Healthcare Innovation, Pritma Dhillion Chattha, stressed the importance of following these trends saying: “Where possible, care will be shifted into the comfort, privacy, and safety of one’s home.” This being said it will be crucial for the success of healthcare to follow this trend.

If companies in the healthcare industry want to innovate successfully, they have to be willing to meet the demands of their consumers. The convenience of telehealth combined with it’s safety does come as an inconvenience to those who work in the industry. However, in order to have a competitive healthcare business marketers must be willing to negotiate a compromise. Failure to execute this, will result in loss of profits, loss of customer confidence, and in the long run could lead to business extinction. Conversely, the appropriate execution of this can result in a competitive edge, higher profit margins, and increased customer approval.

See more about the healthcare job trends of the future in the visual deep dive below:

 

Apploi’s 2021 Healthcare Trends Report


Brian WallaceAbout the Author: Brian Wallace is the Founder and President of NowSourcing, an industry leading infographic design agency in Louisville, KY and Cincinnati, OH which works with companies ranging from startups to Fortune 500s. Brian runs #LinkedInLocal events, hosts the Next Action Podcast, and has been named a Google Small Business Adviser for 2016-present. Follow Brian Wallace on LinkedIn as well as Twitter.




Sticky Crisis and Health & Risk Communication

Free Virtual Event: February 25, 6 – 8 pm ET

Hosted by The Museum of Public Relations & The University of Georgia’s Crisis Communication Coalition

 

 

The Museum of Public Relations and the University of Georgia’s Crisis Coalition are hosting this free virtual event that brings together communications professionals with expertise in pharmaceutical, employee, and vaccine acceptance to discuss the unprecedented challenges facing healthcare communicators today