Saturday, October 1, 2016

The Four P’s of Hosting a Tweetchat: Preparing, Promoting, Performing & Pursuing

Over the past few years, the number of healthcare-related tweetchats have grown; both in the number of chats and the number of people participating in the chat. Some of the most popular healthcare tweetchats include #HITsm, #hcsm and #hcldr. For those who don’t know, a Twitter tweetchat is a pre-arranged chat that happens on Twitter through the use of Twitter updates (called tweets) that include a predefined hashtag to link those tweets together in a virtual conversation.

Are Tweetchats Hard?

Monitoring a tweetchat without actually participating in the chat (i.e. lurking) is as easy as searching for the hashtag associated with the chat. Participating in a tweetchat is also easy; you just have to tweet something with the chat’s hashtag during the time the chat is scheduled. But hosting a tweetchat, while still pretty simple, takes a bit more planning and effort. If you’re interested in hosting a tweetchat, I’d like to propose The Four P’s of Hosting a Tweetchat: Preparing, Promoting, Performing and Pursuing.

‘P’ #1 – Prepare for the Chat

Define Your Goal

First of all you must define the goals for the chat. What is the ‘theme’ of your chat? And do you want to share information, collect information from others or both share and collect?

Define the Topics

Chats typically have anywhere from three to eight topics shared, typically shared over a 30 or 60 minute period. You should allow about 4-8 minutes per topic.

Select a Time for the Chat

You’ll want to try to schedule your chat to maximize attendance by your target audience. You should consider the impact of time zones and whether your target audience may be at work or home. You also need to consider whether any other tweetchats are scheduled at the same time.

Select and Register a Hashtag

A pre-requisite for hosting a chat is that you’ll need a unique hashtag to identify the chat. Hashtags should be easily remembered and as short as possible. For healthcare chats, I recommend that you should register your hashtag at @Symplur. This will add your chat to Symplur’s directory, allow you to easily pull a transcript of the chat, and provide you with useful statistics on the chat including the number of mentions, tweets and overall impressions.

Create Graphics

While not a requirement, using images to convey your topics adds a little pizzazz to your chat and makes the topics stand out.

Create Content & Tweets 

Since you’ll have your hands full running the chat, be sure to pre-define any tweets you want to share during the chat. Then during the chat all you have to do is copy and share the tweet without rushing to type out your tweet.

Prep Your Script

You may want to outline a recipe for the chat including when you will move from topic to topic.

Background Material

In order to help people understand the theme of your chat and better prepare, many people will share background materials prior to the chat. A blog post is a good way to do this and you can reference that post in your promotions of the chat. Here's an example.

‘P’ #2 – Promote the Tweetchat

Timing of Promotion

Announce your chat via all your social media channels about a week before the chat. Then repeat those announcements every day leading up to the chat. On the day of the chat, you may want to promote the chat two hours, one hour and 15 minutes before the scheduled start time of the chat.

Clarity and Graphics

As noted above, using graphics is a powerful way to attract attention to you tweetchat. You can also provide more information in an image than you can in Twitter’s 140 character limit.

Reach Out to Influencers and Others

Consider reaching out to individual influencers and others via a tweet, Twitter direct message, email or other ‘direct’ means. Ask them to share information on your chat – just be sure to make it as easy as possible for others to share that information.

Get Creative

There are all kinds of ways to promote your chat so get creative. Some ideas include mentioning your chat at the end of similar tweetchats. Some people will even ‘hijack’ a popular hashtag to promote their own chat. Not that I recommend that or would ever do that! :)

‘P’ #3 - Perform the Tweetchat

Be sure to start the chat at the designated time. You may want to consider scheduling certain of your tweets – especially the initial announcement, welcome tweets and the chat topics - so that you have more time for other tasks during the chat.

Welcome Chat Attendees

Be sure to extend a welcome to those attending your chat, especially any influencers or other Twitter ‘luminaries.’ Depending on how many people attend, you may not be able to do acknowledge everyone individually so a tweet to the effect of “Welcome, everybody, to the #FourPsTweetchat – we’re glad you’re here” will suffice.

Engage with Everyone!

Besides welcoming those who attend, you should answer all questions posed by chat participants. And you should strive to engage with everyone. Even a “+1” or a retweet of tweets you like or agree with is a good way to engage.

Thank Everybody!

If people note that they have leave thank them for participating in your chat. At the end of the chat, thank everyone for attending and/or participating, especially those who shared a lot of tweets. As with welcoming participants, a ‘group thank’ you can be ok. But, unlike at the start of the chat when you are somewhat time limited since you’re focusing on managing the chat, you’ll have more time once the chat ends so you should strive to thank all key participants individually.

‘P’ #4 - Pursue

Just because the chat has ended doesn’t mean it’s over. After going through all the effort to prepare, promote and perform the tweetchat, be sure to reap the rewards of your effort. If you had a good chat, you’ll have all kinds interesting and valuable information that can be re-purposed and shared via your social channels. Share the curated information with your co-workers and network.

Curate Select Tweets

Many people who host tweetchats will “Storify” select tweets and share the Storify via their social channels. Here is an example of a tweetchat that was ‘Storified.” If you’ve registered your chat hashtag via Symplur, you can share tweets from the chat by sharing the ‘Symplur query’ for the chat’s time period.

Blog Posts

You can also create a blog post that recaps key bits of information shared during the tweetchat; and include additional commentary and analysis. Here’s one example of how I’ve recapped a tweetchat I hosted.

You can also use Symplur to download a transcript of the tweetchat into your favorite data manipulation tool and then sort, group and categorize the tweets to create additional value.

Share and Use the Tweets

After going through all the effort to prepare, promote and perform the tweetchat, be sure to reap the rewards of your effort. Share the curated information with your co-workers and network.

Now Go Host a Tweetchat!

So there you have it, the Four P’s of Hosting a Tweetchat: Prepare, Promote, Perform and Pursue! For more information like this post and more on healthcare data, technology and services, feel free to follow me on Twitter where I share as @ShimCode.

For additional information on promoting and hosting tweetchats, see this earlier blog post of mine.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Healthcare Executive Group Annual Forum – A Truly Unique Healthcare Event

In honor of the National Health IT Week promoted by HIMSS, I’d like to share some information about a very unique organization I’ve been privileged to work with the last couple months: The Healthcare Executive Group (HCEG). I’m sharing info about the HCEG because I feel it embodies the National Health IT Week spirit of sharing information and collaborating on healthcare topics 

National Network of Mid-Market Healthcare Execs

The HCEG bills itself as “a national network of select executives from across the entire healthcare spectrum; coming together to continually learn, grow, share and reshape the industry.” Membership in the group is largely comprised of executives leading mid-market healthcare payers and health system providers. HCEG’s purpose is to gather and support an intimate learning environment for professional growth and development. Member organizations have the the opportunity to tap into the knowledge and expertise of a network of qualified peers, organizations and industry thought leaders. Their raison d'être is to drive industry-wide innovation and transformation.

How Does HCEG Drive Innovation and Transformation?

Members benefit from HCEG membership and healthcare innovation is driven in three primary ways:

1. Private Member Collaboration

HCEG provides its members with opportunities for ongoing discussions via formal and informal events, access to insights from sponsor partners, white papers, mentoring and other opportunities to share best practices, ideas and what has worked – or not worked – in other member organizations.

2. Personal Development

Through its sponsor partnerships and other connections, HCEG offers its members monthly educational initiatives including webinars, virtual panels, and research opportunities; among other options.

3. The Annual Forum

Each year, HCEG hosts a 3-day event where members are provided direct access to industry thought leaders and solutions providers, with unique opportunities to learn, grow, share and reshape the healthcare industry.

See here for additional info on the Healthcare Executive Group.

What Makes HCEG Unique?

The HCEG is unlike any other ‘group’ or organization I’ve known about or been involved with over my 20+ years in healthcare. It’s not an online-only discussion group or crazy large conference like HIMSS; nor is it just focused on health plans like AHIP. It’s not a structured, stay within the agenda event like many ‘niche conferences.’ And it’s definitely not a loosey-goosey, anything goes forum like many of the smaller, emerging ‘unconferences.’

Everything’s Included

Indeed, the coup de grâce of being an HCEG member is attendance at their annual forum. In addition to all the benefits HCEG members enjoy year-round, attendance for two people at HCEG’s Annual Forum is included in HCEG’s annual membership fee.

I had the privilege of attending this year’s Annual Forum in New York City two weeks ago. It was an amazing experience. (To be sure I get really excited about sharing and learning about healthcare and information technology so maybe HCEG’s Annual Forum was merely ‘astounding?’)

Some Highlights of the Annual Forum

Great Venue

Fittingly, the Annual Forum was held at the Renaissance Mid-Town Hotel in New York City: New York City’s first “Living Digital Hotel”

Great Speakers

Presentations were made by Constance Sjoquist from Gartner, Henry Chao, Former Deputy CIO & Deputy Director of CMS, and Claire Levitt – Deputy Commissioner at New York City Mayor's Office of Labor Relations. In addition, several other healthcare industry luminaries presented to the HCEG members. See the entire list here.

Digital Handouts

One really cool aspect of the Annual Forum was that each attendee was given (to keep) a personalized Kindle Fire HD tablet that contained all conference presentations and other materials. Also, “Top 10 Challenges” that HCEG is famous for (More about this later in another post) were ideated, discussed and ranked by forum participants via a survey app contained on the tablet. Additionally, other content was pushed to attendees during the conference.

The Top 10 Challenges

HCEG is known for developing a yearly Top 10 list that its members feel are – or soon will be - their primary challenges going forward. As just noted, the 2017 Top 10 list was developed during the Annual Forum. This Top 10 List then serves as the basis for The Industry Pulse survey developed via a partnership between HCEG and Change Healthcare. Stay tuned for more on this Top 10 list and The Industry Pulse.

Intimate Collaboration w/ Smart, Like-Minded People

One of the unique aspects about the HCEG in general and apparent at the forum in particular was the intimate, congenial atmosphere and relationships members and sponsors enjoyed. There were several formally scheduled and informal, casual opportunities for interaction during the forum with each session of the three-day conference including ample time for Q & A between the speakers and participants.

Great Food and Drink!

Of course no event would be whole without great food and drink. The organizers of HCEG’s Annual Forum really hit it out of the park in this regard.

Looking Forward

The HCEG is investing in its knowledge management and member collaboration facilities and promises to provide even more value to its members. For more information on the HCEG and its membership opportunities, check Why Join HCEG? You can also follow HCEG on Twitter where they tweet as @HCExecGroup.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Optimizing Payer and Provider Communications: A Necessary Burden or Strategic Advantage?

Exchanging data between healthcare providers and health plans/payers has been a contentious subject throughout the 23 years I’ve been working in healthcare IT. Physicians have long expressed dissatisfaction with the time they and their staffs spend interacting with health plans. And all the federal and state mandates laid on providers and health plans over the past decade have not improved matters.

This Friday, September 30th, a tweetchat will be held at 10:00am PT/1:00pm ET to discuss “Optimizing Payer and Provider Communications.” The chat is being sponsored by Availity and will be co-hosted by Mark Martin, Director of Product Management for Availity, and me, Steve Sisko. The chat will explore the communication challenges between providers and payers and the ways in which communications and data sharing between healthcare providers and health plan payers can be improved and optimized.

What are the Topics?

For the list of topics that will be discussed, see this page at Availity’s web site.

What is Provider Data?

Provider data, simply put, is information about individual providers, groups of providers and institutions—who or what they are, how to access them, the services they provide, the health plan networks or products they participate in and other important attributes. These data facilitate everyday business and regulatory transactions, or “use cases,” such as claims processing, credentialing, contracting and licensing, and allow patients to find and access care. While provider data is conceptually straightforward, it is incredibly complex to standardize, manage and maintain.

Which Providers & Health Plans Exchange Data?

The short answer? ALL OF THEM! But several factors do influence the types, volumes and frequencies of data exchanged between health plans and physician practices. These include:

1. Type of Health Plan: Medicare, Medicaid, Commercial, ASO, etc.

2. Product Type: PPO, HMO, POS, HDHP, FFS, etc.

3. Provider Type: Primary Care, Specialist, Imaging Provider, Pharmacy, Lab, etc.

What Type of Data Do Providers & Health Plan Payers Exchange?

The following types of business transactions demand the exchange of data between healthcare providers and health plan payers:

1. Eligibility & Benefit Inquiry
2. Prior Authorizations
3. Contracting including Practice and Provider Directory
4. Pharmaceutical Formularies
5. Billing/Claims
6. Credentialing
7. Treatment Plan Compliance Monitoring
8. Quality Measures

These data may be exchanged at different times – at time of contracting with the provider, pre-patient visit, upon patient check-in, during the encounter, upon checkout, or retrospectively, irrespective of the patient. In addition, certain transactions may not even apply based on the health plan type, product type and provider type.

As Mark Martin notes in Leveraging Technology to Enhance Payer-Provider Relationships, "the key is to forge pathways where these two spheres of data (provider and payer) can overlap and be leveraged to benefit both stakeholders."

Critical Provider Data Use Cases and Common Data Needs
Some Background Materials

The following studies, blog posts, articles and white papers provide additional information about data exchanges between medical practices, providers and health plan payers.

"Provider Data Management"

But Wait! There's More!

For more information on healthcare data, technology and services, consider following me and Mark Martin on Twitter.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Healthcare Innovation: The X Factors, SMS Nudges & The Three C’s: Cost, Compression and Consequence

This past week, Eric Grossman, CEO of NextHealth Technologies was interviewed in the GuideWell Insights Lounge at the 2016 Oliver Wyman Health Innovation Summit. Kate Warnock, GuideWell Social Media Manager and healthcare innovation inquisitor, teed up several topics for Eric to share his insight and thoughts on:

1. The X Factors driving health plans to exit from the ACA marketplace,

2. Effecting consumer behavioral change via artificial intelligence and SMS messaging,

3. The 3 C’s driving change in the health industry: Cost, Compression and Consequence,

4. "Exponential trends' worth watching for.

The GuideWell Insight Lounge on YouTube!

You can see the entire interview here and all the other great interviews Kate gave during the #OWHIC summit at GuideWell's YouTube channel here. Note: the following questions from Kate and responses from Eric were pulled verbatim from the interview recording. I’ve recently discovered that many YouTube recordings are transcribed and that it’s easy to pull the transcribed text. So while  you may be thinking, "that guy Steve sure does have a lot of time on his hands," this entire post - start to finish - took me about 20 minutes. Hopefully you, my reader, gets as ,much value out of it as I did. 

Kate Warnock Interviews Eric Grossman

Could you have predicted the exit of so many health plans from the ACA marketplace? Could these exits have been avoided?

“You know I think it’s a great question. Hindsight’s 2020 and it’s easy to be a Monday morning, armchair quarterback. Yeah but I think sort of is my answer, you know, I’m first of all I’m a big proponent of market forces versus public policy, sort of driving the market. But we sort of had an untenable situation with all these uninsured Americans."

Two X-Factors

"But I think there were really two X factors that you can I saw as sort of what may drive exit. I think the first is public policy around individual mandate and, unfortunately, it hasn’t been strong enough to keep the healthy people in to drive sort of the fundamentals of insurance which is you’ve got to have a balance risk pool. So without that we, you know health plans, have been left with a lot of expensive risk. And that kind of comes to the second X Factor which is market forces and unfortunately a lot of these smaller health plans, in my opinion, sort of followed the bigger ones in terms of their pricing. And a lot of the bigger ones kinda came in with a low-cost narrow network plan design and unfortunately because of the prior X Factor it created an environment with a lot of losses that little health plans couldn’t sustain so they had to exit."

"So in hindsight those were X-Factors. We didn’t know how they would play out and it’s led to a lot of shake out but you know, as Obama says, I think they’re things that we can improve upon and and correct given that we have so many more people in the system there’s gotta be some benefits."

You [NextHealth] are pros at doing [behavioral analytics] so you give the consumer some nudges to help change behaviors. Could you give us some scenarios where those nudges just might take place for and how they impact behavior?

"The first thing that that we do in in driving consumer behavior changes is find someone among millions of members who the analytics thinks that we can be successful in changing behaviors. You know a lot of people don’t want to change so or they’re too acute, too sick to change. So let’s take out of network usage: so we talked about narrow networks. That’s when you leave the health plans Network and get a higher deductible, a higher copay and higher negotiated rates. Not a good thing but the majority people when they go out a network they don’t know they go out-of-network and it’s could be thousands of dollars to any consumer, a health plan.

Sarah and SMS Nudges

Eric told the story of using analytics and SMS text messaging to help 25 year-old mother Sarah Gomez make better decisions about obtaining care for her two kids.

Listen to Eric tell the story at 3:30 –6:50 in the recording.

Let’s take a little bit look down the road. Okay so there’s some other trends that might disrupt the health industry and, from your perspective, what are some of those things that you think can really help change the way we’re doing business in the health industry?

“I think a block chain is a good example of how sharing data in an open-source, cloud-based environment has helped other industries like Bitcoin and others. I think one of the presenters here Chris K from Humana talked about block chain. But I don’t think there’s a silver bullet around, you know, some sort of sea change events. I do think that the sea change is large enough to drive major change in industry and I I think I like and I like the 3 c’s. So The Three C’s are the first one is cost obviously paying out $8 in claims costs for every one dollar in premium isn’t viable for any health plan regardless of your reserves. So that’s led to the second C which is compression. And you mentioned some of the sort of what’s going on in the market with ACA and then the last C is consequence: whether companies are going out of business or policy change in Washington so I think those three C’s breed innovation and there’s no better drive of innovation than desperation.”

One last question maybe a little bit closer to home. Any other trends worth watching for exponential growth in the efficacy of prescriptive analytics?

"So those are some big words. I’ll tackle those one at a time I typically don’t understand more than three syllables. I would say that the biggest trend is the continued losses stemming from the Affordable Care Act is driving health plans and hospitals to absolutely focus on solutions that are presented at this conference, that drive attributable medical cost savings and consumer behavior change. The word is attributable. How do we know that when I reach in with a screwdriver that it truly was my screwdriver that turned the screw? So that’s attribution. And I frankly don’t think health plan executives really care about the sausage machine; they need outcomes.

And it just so happens that prescriptive analytics or what to do next; the what and how well. And randomized control trials and machine learning are just absolutely no regret investments that you can make in the wake of all the market forces and all the headwind we’re up against."

Check back for more insight on healthcare data, technology and services. And consider following me on Twitter.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Healthcare’s Transition from a B2B to B2C Business Model

The 2016 Health Innovation Summit hosted by Oliver Wyman Health & Life Sciences unit kicked off yesterday in Chicago with the theme of this year’s event being “The Consumer Imperative: Transforming Healthcare From The Outside In.” 

On day one, my friend Kate Warnock – Social Media Manager at GuideWell Health - was at the summit interviewing key individuals at the GuideWell Insights Lounge. This is the 2nd year that the GuideWell Insights Lounge has stationed itself at the OW Summit; the GW Insights Lounge is apparently a new fixture at major healthcare conferences. I gotta say I like how Kate and GuideWell capture, curate and share valuable information about healthcare innovation, thought leadership and trends. 

One of Kate’s first interviews of the event was with Terry Stone - Global Managing Partner for the Health and Life Sciences Practice - at Oliver Wyman. Terry shared with Kate some insight into the difficulty healthcare payers are having with their transition from a business-to-business (B2B) to a business-to-consumer (B2C) business model. Terry also shared how innovators must understand the entire healthcare ecosystem and outlined the 'category' of those who might be in the best position to really disrupt the health market.

Thank's YouTube for Poor Man's Transcription

The following is a transcription I pulled off of the YouTube recording created by the GuideWell Insights Lounge. You can see the entire interview here. You may also want to check out tweets from the summit tagged with #OWHIC.

We've been talking about the consumer in the health industry for a long time yet we still seem to lag behind behind other industries. Why is that and what can we do to fix it now?

"That's a great question. I think in the last three years, in some way shape or form, we've touched on this each year: about where are we and why are we kind of stuck? That actually is a key part of why we focused the conference on what we have this year. Because healthcare does seem to be a little bit stuck. 

B2B-B2B2C-B2C (Chromosomal Language of Biz Models)

And I think it's a great question. We've given a lot of thought to it. I'll start by the first, most basic premise being: healthcare has always been a B2B industry versus a real business-to-consumer industry. So in B2B businesses, health plans were selling to large employers. Right? Quite frankly, provider systems were negotiating with health plans and quite frankly the consumer, in some ways, was an afterthought. Okay. But that sounds a little overly simplistic. Like okay. So it's B2B now we have to be B2C. But I think it's really important that people understand what happens when you're in B2B market versus B2C and why does that make it so difficult to change?

Complexity of B2B Market Must Be Turned Upside Down

“So first of all, in a business-to-business market, your buyers are often buying for a lot more like rational logical reasons. You also have very sophisticated buyers buying a complicated service and, in some ways unintentionally I would argue, the product gets more complicated as each side tries to prove to one another that they're adding more value. Right? It's almost the antithesis of what you need for the consumer and that's a really hard paradigm to break and that actually is most pervasive through most of healthcare.

Pharma has Apparently Made the Transition

I'd argue the drug industry is probably the closest to having found its way once they had access to direct-to-consumer advertising, which gets a lot of backlash for a lot of reasons but they're one of the first parts of healthcare that's really started to have to embrace what it is about the consumer and what they need and how do I meet them where they are?”

How important is it for organizations to really understand the full ecosystem and to be able to connect the dots - another theme here at the summit?

“Sure I'm we talked a lot about the ecosystem and healthcare and it's funny we talk about the healthcare system in the US and I think what someone said it great ones where they commented that we don't have a system what we have is a bunch of parts and pieces that are all stuck together and you get this sort of random ecosystem, if you will."

Carve Out a Spot for Yourself that's Sustainable 

"I think it's really really important that players in the space understand where they sit in the ecosystem and have a consumer view set and how the consumer thinks about interacting with the parts and pieces and how you stitched together in order to add value to the consumer and simplify their life while also making sure you carve out a spot for yourself that's sustainable where you can make money because many of these are going commercial enterprises.”

Who do you think is in the best position to really disrupt the health market?

“It’s sort of the 10 million dollar question. I think if I knew specifically I probably wouldn't be sitting here and I'd be betting my money on someone else. But I will speak kind of categorically that, in my role, I see lots of players in healthcare. I cut across payers, providers, life science companies, health services and tech innovators. And what I have kind of strongly come to believe is that most likely the disruption that really changes things going to come from the outside."

Get Traction with People You Frequently Touch 

"So that healthcare is in some capacity going to be airBNB’d or uber-ized. And by that I don't mean ‘Uber for Health,’ I mean somebody out of left field takes an industry that's kind of not delighting the stakeholders and has excess waste and it's going to kind of disrupt it and shake it out. And that could be in the form of the Apple’s or the Google’s of the world. Right? It could be the Walmart’s of the world. You know that the average Walmart consumer, I believe, goes in more than twice a week, over a hundred times a year. If you start getting traction with people who have that much of a frequent touch with you there's a lot you wind up doing. And I think when I advise my clients I say: “You should be watching for the people on the fringe - not your competitor down the street.”

What do you hope is achieved at this year’s summit?

“So what we're hoping to achieve this year is going beyond the basic part of innovation; which is ‘Oh, what's that company do? Or what's that technology? Or that seems really neat. And actually what we've been striving to do for the last couple years is get underneath “what's the magic in what makes that company special? What is it that makes it stick? Why are consumers delighted? And how did we get beyond the basics of the functions and the features and figure out what it is that really makes it sing and what really makes it kind of win. And I think that's a lot of what will be sharing."

It's About Culture, Mindset, and Behavioral Change. Oh My!

"So we'll be talking not only about innovative companies but about culture; about mindset; about how do you drive behavioral change in consumers. So it's just the cut all across the board and we're really excited about how we think it will help our clients, help other stakeholders in the healthcare industry actually have more impact and delight their customers.”