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  • Laura Diéguez 9:00 am on December 13, 2012 Permalink | Reply
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    Hospitals 2.0: digital communication in hospitals 

    Hospital communication plays a vital role in bringing the organization closer to its internal audience, and in improving its image in the eyes of its external audience.

    The digitalization of communication means streamlining the transmission of information within the actual institution, influencing the acquisition of healthy habits among society and promoting the organization’s image to other agents and healthcare organizations.

     

    A digital communication plan

    A hospital, as an organization, should use communication as a strategic tool to achieve its corporate goal. Its communication department should have a corporate communication plan, allowing institutional and communicative relations with the internal audience -healthcare personnel, management and administration, and services- and the external audience -patients, citizens, Public Administration, the media- to be managed.

    The implementation of new social technologies in the corporate communication strategy becomes an opportunity to streamline the broadcasting of information and to establish two-way and participative communication with the different audiences.

    The use of digital tools in the internal communication strategy, such as Enterprise Social Networks, helps spread corporate information and interact with employees, improving internal cohesion and favoring the motivation and involvement of all the professionals.

    External communication can also benefit from the advantages of digitalization. Tools such as blogs, social networks, videos and Wikis strengthen the hospital’s brand, transmit an image of transparent management and create trust among the society.

    So, it’s time to get a move on and start integrating 2.0 in hospital communication!

    Laura Diéguez is a journalist who specializes in business, digital and health 2.0 communication, she is also an assistant lecturer at Escola Universitaria Creu Roja

     

     
  • Laura Diéguez 9:00 am on October 19, 2012 Permalink | Reply
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    Health 2.0: Are we listening to patients? 

    Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

    Recently I finished reading ‘El mundo amarillo’, the first book by Albert Espinosa, which had been sitting on my night stand for some time now. For those of you who haven’t read it, El mundo amarillo gives the lessons that the author learnt during the ten years he suffered from cancer, from fourteen to twenty-four, and how he applies them in his life.

    The book looks back rather admirably on ten years of constant fight, optimism, and spirit to overcome the odds, during which he moved around several hospitals, undergoing multiple tests and treatments, which often translated into long stays in hospital.

    A long health pilgrimage that brought the author to note the lack of services and entertainment spaces in hospitals. Chess tables, board games, TVs, video games and wireless Internet connection. “Imagination was lacking when hospitals were designed,” says the author in the book.

    Communication with users

    Users are the main raison d’etre of a hospital. As recipients of the health service, the hospital should provide complete care and resolution of their needs (Salcedo de Prado, 2012: 35). A deep understanding of what those needs are can be achieved through an extremely simple mechanism: listening.

    We need to encourage resources that allow us to answer the question: “What do our users need and how can we offer them that?”

    Currently the Patient Information Service or suggestion box enables management to discover their strengths and weaknesses from outside the institution, in order to adopt realistic decisions based on suitable criteria. However, these tools are not always effective. Users have to deal with endless telephone calls, unread emails or hard to find suggestions boxes.

    Social networks: a new 2.0 suggestion box

    Social networks become an opportunity for users to contact the institution thanks to their speed, accessibility and transparency.

    Currently, 1,501 US hospitals use social networks, according to a study carried out by the Mayo Clinic.

    These social tools give us the chance to meet and establish a constant dialog with users, an opportunity we shouldn’t waste.

    Yet, what is the main goal of these social tools? Respond to or manage their inquiries? Or simply promote services and generate visibility to attract new users and resources and build loyalty?

    Hospitals need to carefully reflect on their relationship with users, ensure they are getting the full care and attention and their needs are met in order to meet their institutional mission.

    Laura Diéguez is a journalist specialized in business and digital communication, and is also assistant lecturer at Escola Universitaria Creu Roja

     

     
  • Laura Diéguez 9:00 am on September 13, 2012 Permalink | Reply
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    Social Networks, Health and Marketing 

    Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

    Social networks are powerful marketing and communication tools in all sectors of society, even in healthcare.

    In the US, where health institutions are seen as businesses due to their private or semi-private nature, social media play an essential role not only as senders of medical information, but also as powerful tools for disseminating and creating brand image.

    According to the study carried out by eBennett.org, 1,229 US hospitals already use social networks, with Facebook, Foursquare and Twitter being the most used.

    Through social media, hospitals build strategies based on engagement and patient education. Let’s look at some examples:

    Mayo Clinic

    The prestigious organization opted for extending its presence on the Web from the outset.

    Currently, the Mayo Clinic in Rochester (Minnesota) has a center dedicated exclusively to social media. A place dedicated to “improving health globally through new communication channels”.

    This selfless gesture of the organization regarding social network use doesn’t seem to match its private leitmotiv:

    “With over 90 percent of Mayo Clinic patients reporting that they say “good things” to their friends after a visit, using social media tools to amplify those impressions seemed reasonable,” explained Lee Aase, Social Media Manager at the Mayo Clinic in an interview with Guy Kawaky.

    The organization’s strategy focuses essentially on covering the patients needs. So it has created a free virtual community where patients can connect with healthcare professionals, an extensive space for medical information where they can access quality documentation, a mobile application, and several commmunication channels that resolve the queries of thousands of followers each day (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr).

    Children’s Medical Center of Dallas

    Personalized stories always generate a greater bond between the reader and the stakeholder. And if we add the possibility of making the reader participate in the story to the equation, engagement is increased considerably.

    The Children’s Medical Center of Dallas found a revolutionary way in 2009 to publicize its services by involving internet users. The hospital broadcasted live a kidney transplant operation between father and son to anyone who wanted to follow it, tweeting the whole operation on Twitter.

    The hospital argued that the initiative was motivated by the need to “make an appeal for organ donations,” aside from any promotional benefits that it involved for the center —thousands of impacts in communication media, considerable increase in Twitter followers, etc.

    Ever since, several US hospitals have followed their lead and others have taken things a step further.

    Lowell General Hospital (Massachusetts)

    For the moment, we have only looked at marketing and communication strategies in the digital environment, however, several US hospitals have managed to optimize the combination between online and offline communication.

    One example is Lowell General Hospital (Massachusetts) that uses multi-channel marketing to humanize its corporate identity by organizing TeamWalk for Cancer Care, a fun walk that aims to collect funds for cancer research.

    The hospital promotes the event through leaflets and posters, as well as through social networks and emails, encouraging participants in such away that they broadcast the events in real time and rally their friends and followers to make a donation.

    I suspect that these initiatives will have not left you indifferent, and you have wondered a few things about them. What do you think about the use of e-marketing strategies in healthcare? Should hospitals and health centers be present on the social networks? Do you think they should be more regulated?

     

    Laura Diéguez is a journalist specialized in business and digital communication, and is also assistant lecturer at Escola Universitaria Creu Roja

     

     
  • Laura Diéguez 9:00 am on August 3, 2012 Permalink | Reply
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    The importance of digital communication in the healthcare industry 

    Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

    The fact that the Internet has arrived to stay is nothing new, but a reality. Companies and institutions need to be the ones to take advantage of this opportunity to be more human, transparent and approachable in their communication with their potential customers.

    Commerce, trade and tourism waltz through the area with complete confidence, capturing all gazes on the 2.0 dancefloor. However, healthcare organizations are still standing on the sidelines, waiting for the right moment to take the floor.

    Talking is healing

    More and more healthcare professionals have made the Internet a place where they can learn and discover the latest developments, using the social networks, wikis, blogs and practice communities.

    Interaction between healthcare professionals in the digital environment helps to consolidate collective intelligence, enabling them to transfer knowledge among colleagues, helping one another in their continued learning, and improving their professional skills.

    Patients, in turn, have also found the best way to use the Internet in their favor. Who hasn’t used the Internet to find information on a symptom or check the information you’ve received from your physician? Don’t worry, you’re not the first to do so.

    What’s more, this new profile of patient, known as the e-patient, also seeks emotional support in forums of people suffering from the same illnesses. [1]

    This type of communication not only has beneficial effects on participants, but, thanks to the messages exchanged, a new source of information is created for those interested in deepening their knowledge on the experiences of suffering an illness.

    Communication 2.0 and the healthcare organizations

    Yet unlike these other two agents, healthcare institutions and organizations use a non-communicative information model with the other agents on the Internet [2].

    Loss of power? Fear of the unknown? If the collaboration platform is ready, what is stopping them joining in on the 2.0 dance? There are many questions on how to go about interacting with organizations on the Internet, but that’s another day’s discussion.

    It is interesting to emphasize the need to end the healthcare industry’s hierarchical structure and start a new model based on “organization without organization”, focused on serving the people, and using two-way, transparent and approachable communication.

    Examples to follow

    Major healthcare organizations and institutions have already ventured into the 2.0 world. Although gradually more of them are joining, we should mention some of the innovative strategies that some organizations have used to join the digital era, as well as their communicative model in connecting with professionals and patients.

    Spain

    Xarxa Castelldefels Salut
    Hospital Sant Joan de Déu
    Oficina 2.0
    Col·legi Oficial de Metges de Barcelona

    International

    Hospital Cleveland Clinic

    [1] Chapter 2.3: Salud 2.0: el ePaciente y las redes sociales, by Manuel (Manny) Hernández (ePatient and the social networks). El ePaciente y las redes sociales, Vicente Traver Salcedo and Luis Fernández-Luque.

    [2] Internet, Salud y Sociedad. Análisis de los usos de Internet relacionados con la salud en Catalunya [Doctoral thesis, 2009], Francisco Lupiáñez-Villanueva

    Laura Diéguez is a journalist specialized in business communication, and currently is director of eHealth contents at Signature Pharma

     

     
  • Laura Diéguez 9:00 am on June 1, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , promotion,   

    Tweets wrapped in gift paper 

    Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

    Last week the online fruit & vegetable store Comefruta.es organized a simple and effective contest on Twitter to promote its products and services. In just 140 characters, @comefruta_es asked its followers to RT the contest and be in with a chance to win a box of vegetables from Aranjuez. I thought the idea to be fun and efficient in promoting its products, so I decided to share it with my followers.

    The result was, without wanting or trying to, I ended up getting the healthy prize!

    We have the winner for the DRAW for a BOX OF VEGETABLES FROM ARANJUEZ @lauradieguez was the lucky one. Thanks to everyone for participating.

    As a result of this experience, I started to think about the role that this type of action plays in social networks. It’s nothing new to affirm that tools of the Web 2.0 are the ideal ecosystem for holding promotional contests at an extremely low cost. In particular, Twitter, given its immediacy.

    Contests and other similiar activities not only encourage participation of the followers of an account, but they also provide interesting results for companies.

    Below I list some of the goals we can achieve by organizing a contest in Twitter.

    • Increase in the number of followers
    • Contests in which individuals have to follow a Twitter account to opt for the prize are the most suitable for winning followers. Nonetheless, it will depend on how tempting the prize is and the information type we provide our followers if we don’t want to win several unfollows once the contest is over.

      An expert in organizing and creating contests on social networks is the airline Iberia, which managed to achieve some magnificent results with#TweetIberia

    • Generate trafffic towards a web
    • The structure of the message to retweet is very important. According to the information we include, we can achieve more participants and traffic towards our web. To do this, we mustn’t forget to provide a link to our page, where the terms and conditions of the contest can be found.

      A good example is the interesting and original iniciative iniciativa organized by the publishing house Grup 62 for International Book Day. The contest asked participants to create an end in 140 characters for one of the unfinished stories of the Catalan short-story writer Pere Calders. Participants could check out the terms and conditions of the contest and see the proposals put forward by others in the page created for the occasion.

    • Promote a brand or product
    • One of the best options for achieving notoriety with this type of action, is invite the mention of a hashtag to enter into the draw.

      Gijón has been promoting its brand through #gijóngastronómico over the last few weeks. The city’s Tourism office held a draw for a weekend on the Costa Verde. The winner, which was announced on May 23 via Twitter, will be responsible for broadcasting their stay live, meaning that the brand will continue to be promoted. We’ll be watching its repercussion on the net.

    What do you think of this type of action? Do you think they are effective in achieving and creating loyal customers? Have you experienced any of them?

    P.D. When I receive my prize, I promise to share it with you all :)

     

    Laura Diéguez, journalist specialized in business communication, currently, director of eHealth contents at Signature Pharma

     

     
  • Laura Diéguez 10:00 am on May 3, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , brand stories, ,   

    Why create a story about your brand 

    Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

    Editor’s note: Firstly, at Zyncro, we would like to welcome a new contributor to our blog, Laura Diéguez, journalist specialized in corporate communication, and currently, Director of eHealth Contents at Signature Pharma. Thanks, Laura, and welcome to Zyncro Blog 😉

    Stories about our brandPeople don’t buy products, they buy the stories that those products represent. They don’t buy brands either, rather the legends and architypes that those brands symbolize.” Ashraf Ramzy, What’s in a name? How Stories Power Enduring Brands, 2006.

    Traditionally, companies have been unable to quantify the value of their brand on their balance sheets. However, nowadays nobody doubts that the value of the intangible assets exceeds on occasions that of material goods.

    The brand, defined as “a person’s gut feeling about a product, service or company” by Marty Neumeier, has acquired a leading role in the market, as it is presented to the consumer as a symbol of identity that differences it from the competition.

    However, creating a brand and positioning it in the market is no easy task. Investments in creating and developing a brand to designate a product or service is increasingly more difficult. Faced with this situation, how to do we enhance the brand value?

    More and more companies go in for a brand strategy based on creating emotions, those that blossom within the consumer and encourage them to buy a determined product or service.

    To move the consumer emotionally, focus needs to be placed not on branded content but on great stories, those that are made up by conflict, tension and a resolution, and where characters participate, explains David Martin in Forbes.

    What’s more, I would add five key elements for making a brand story a unique experience for the consumer:

    1. Incorporating universal values like love, friendship or ethics.
    2. Transmitting passion.
    3. Creating a certain level of curiosity.
    4. Generating a hook for all stakeholders.
    5. Adapting the story to different languages and formats.

    In short, the most powerful needs of consumers are more emotional than functional. For that reason, all brands that move us emotionally contain a story.

    Maybe if all brands told stories instead of creating ads, they would have more possibilities in getting the end consumer to “fall in love” with them? What do you think?

    To finish, I want to show you an example of how to reinforce brand values through a great story:

    The sportswear brand Nike chose the filmmaker Casey Neistat to create a film about its new product, the Nike+ FuelBand. Neistat, together with his friend Max Joseph, also director and editor of this project, took the production budget and decided to travel around the world until the money ran out, recording each and every one of their stops. The result? A 10-day journey around the world, summarized in a 5-minute video, where happiness, fun, bravery and effort give the viewer a unique experience.

     

     
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