Posts Tagged ‘Las Vegas healthcare marketing’
Our media manager, Pam Myers, answers the most frequently asked questions about agency media buying. Pam oversees media planning and buying for MassMedia’s health care accounts, including HealthCare Partners of Nevada, Women’s Cancer Center, United Blood Services and Red Rock Fertility. She brings more than 11 years of strategic marketing and advertising experience to the department.
Q: What is the most important aspect of putting together an effective media buying strategy?
A: The foundation for any successful media plan is identifying the target audience and focusing on the mediums that will reach them. MassMedia uses the industry’s top research tools, such as Scarborough, to dig deeper into the habits and behaviors of patients in Southern Nevada. Many of our clients are surprised to learn the profile of their target audience. For example, men are consumers of health care but research shows that women are the primary decision makers. This key information allows us to target the right audience effectively.
Q: What are the benefits of using an agency to plan and buy media?
A: It’s beneficial for businesses to use an agency for many reasons. For one, they can tap into the agency’s buying power. MassMedia purchases millions of dollars in advertising each year, which means all of our clients benefit from the low rates of our large overall spend. We also maintain great relationships with the various vendors to secure the best rates as well as added value and premier placements. MassMedia also uses SmartPlus, a media buying software, to make the buys more efficient, monitor our clients’ campaigns and track success.
Q: What would people be surprised to know about the media buying process?
A: My job doesn’t stop once the buy is placed. We account for all of our clients’ placements and spots to ensure they are running according to contract. Just because a buy is finalized, it doesn’t mean the campaign will run 100 percent accurately. Much of our time goes into verifying our campaigns and we sometimes catch discrepancies, such as missed spots or print issues. This would otherwise go unseen and calling attention to these errors means we can negotiate additional exposure at no cost to our clients.
Q: Any final thoughts or words of wisdom?
Media planning and buying is actually fun! With sufficient time allotted for planning, strategy and negotiating, the final buy is symbolic of all the hard work that has gone into it. I also really enjoy the positive feedback from my clients and hearing how their advertising positively impacts their businesses.
BMI. CPR. NICU. PCP. RN.
The health care industry is chock-full of acronyms.
Take any one to 10-letter concoction and it likely carries meaning in the medical world. Amid the countless abbreviations that imply different things to different practitioners, there is one five-letter acronym that is critically important to anyone and everyone coming in contact with the health care industry.
That acronym is HIPAA.
HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) has been around since 1996 and has evolved in scope and complexity over the past 16-plus years. HIPAA started out as an initiative that protected the health insurance coverage of workers as they changed employment, and has morphed into a multifaceted federal guideline designed to safeguard electronic health care records, enhance data security and ensure patient privacy.
HIPAA guidelines emphasize the protection of patients’ personal information and establish limitations to disclosing identifying information. In today’s modern, information-driven world, one wrong data transfer, human error or lost laptop could spell absolute disaster for any health care organization, big or small.
Companies must learn from the mistakes of others, educate their employees, make HIPAA a regular discussion point and start taking privacy policies seriously in order to stay in business.
Paying the Price
In 2009, CVS Caremark paid nearly $2.25 million dollars for a HIPAA violation because some CVS locations were throwing patients’ personal information away in unsecured trash bins. Since, federal authorities have taken a strict stance on enforcing privacy regulations.
Just last year, the UCLA Health System was forced to pay an $865,000 fine due to improperly disclosing the records of Tom Cruise, Britney Spears and Maria Shriver, among others. In this case, employees of the UCLA Health System allegedly snooped into the celebrities’ records and simply viewed information that wasn’t meant for their eyes.
“People are under the general misconception that because someone is an employee of a facility or a provider, that they can look at any type information,” said Patricia Sanchez, an attorney at Fenton Nelson in Los Angeles, specializing in the development of corporate HIPAA compliance plans and policy manuals. “Employees should only be handling the minimum information necessary to complete given tasks, otherwise they are going outside of their permitted disclosure.”
Educating the Workforce
Sanchez has seen her share of HIPAA-related mistakes, having represented a number of California’s most reputable health care organizations. From faxed papers and computer screens being publicly visible to company Facebook posts disclosing patients’ identities, Sanchez has pinpointed that a lack of education and attention are the primary reasons for violations.
“The biggest problem is that companies are not educating the workforce on what true access to health information is,” said Sanchez. “We like to help our clients through the process of being HIPAA compliant. They need help developing policies and procedures, training their staff, conducting walk-through assessments and pinpointing any red flags.”
To prevent a HIPAA violation, Sanchez recommends that companies create their own, custom-tailored HIPAA policy and make sure to keep a detailed paper trail of any HIPAA-related training.
“Companies are going out there and buying products and services from lawyers and consultants that aren’t tailored to their needs and they’re not getting help with implementation,” said Sanchez. “Documentation is so important. In an audit, they ask for all of the acknowledgements, all of the signed personnel sheets… you must have a paper trail of everything you do. Everything needs to be documented.”
Keeping it Fresh
In addition to providing quality care, adhering to HIPAA guidelines has become a top priority for many health care organizations across the United States. One of those organizations is HealthCare Partners Nevada, a leading Las Vegas-based coordinated care network consisting of more than 270 physicians and over 1,000 employees.
“We are constantly educating our employees,” said Denise Warren, Clinical Compliance Specialist for HealthCare Partners Nevada. “Every employee of [HealthCare Partners] is required to take a yearly online course and participate in continual training.”
HealthCare Partners Nevada has six full-time employees devoted to HIPAA, plus a HIPAA privacy officer and a 20-member “privacy committee.” The privacy committee meets quarterly, along with the company’s IT department, to review the company’s compliance with HIPAA regulations and patient privacy guidelines.
“It really is a team effort,” said Warren. “We all work together to assure our patients’ privacy and general wellbeing.”
Taking it Seriously
HIPAA is no laughing matter to the companies who take a proactive approach to their patients’ privacy. With potential fines, government audits and patient lawsuits looming with a simple mistake, it certainly helps to be organized.
“Companies need to start looking at HIPAA very seriously,” said Warren. “The federal government just started doing audits… before they had never done privacy audits and recently hired a firm to come out and make sure everything is okay. They’re not starting with the big companies and hospitals, but with the private practices.”
While HIPAA may seem daunting, scary and downright tedious at times, Sanchez said that it is only enforced to keep patients safe and make health care organizations stronger.
“It really forces people to be organized and to know where everything is,” said Sanchez. “When you really, really become HIPAA compliant, you become paperwork and data compliant and know how information is relayed back and forth.”
Need more patients for your practice? When the Affordable Care Act passed, pundits were quick to declare the winners and the losers. Both columns were equally long. Now that the Supreme Court has upheld the law, and whatever your political affiliation may be and whether or not you agree with the law, there’s one thing that is certain: it presents an incredible opportunity for Nevada’s providers to differentiate themselves from their peers and capture a great number of patients that simply were not there before.
Do the Math
Just look at the number of new patients entering the health care market and do the math. On the campaign trail, President Obama declares that under the Affordable Care Act, 30 million people will be added. However, non-partisan organization FactCheck.org took a look at this figure and found the President was low-balling it. According to FactCheck.org, “even if we subtract the estimated 10 million uninsured who are not U.S. citizens…with the Census Bureau now reporting 46.3 million people without insurance, one might think that the correct figure should be closer to 36.3 million citizens without insurance.”
According to the U.S. Census’ Community Population Survey, approximately 21.3 percent of Nevada residents are uninsured, compared to 16 percent nationally. A report by FamiliesUSA, released in 2009, states that figure is much higher. That report found more than one out of three people (37.2 percent or 841,000 individuals) in Nevada under the age of 65 went without health insurance for all or part of the two-year period between 2007 and 2008.
New rules included in the Affordable Care Act, combined with grants in the stimulus, dramatically reduce administrative burdens placed on physicians. Their roles make it easier for physicians to deal with insurance companies and help physicians implement their own electronic medical record system.
The Affordable Care Act is also intended to reduce the amount of time physicians spend on emergency service, freeing them up to focus on preventative care. Research shows more patients will be willing to seek treatment before they get very sick or develop life-altering illnesses because they have insurance.
So, you’ve got a big new pool of patients and you can make room for them in your practice. What now?
The most important thing to remember is that the Affordable Care Act has raised the national understanding of what quality health care is. Patients old and new are more educated about their health care and they have become smarter health care shoppers. They are now more adept at choosing a doctor and making decisions about their health care. The providers that can stand out from the crowd are going to win big in this new market.
Market to young adults. Studies show that a disproportionate number, nearly half, of the uninsured are under 30. When these individuals enter the health care market, they are going to turn primarily to the Internet to make decisions about which doctor to choose. Your website, social media outlets and entries on review sites are going to take on a new importance with this audience. They tell a comprehensive story about you as a provider that is going to inform their provider selection decision.
Geo-target. You may not want to go after all 841,000 newly insured patients in Nevada. The sheer size of the uninsured population in Nevada makes it very likely that many of them are your neighbors and live around your office. Readily available consumer information makes it easier to specifically identify the newly insured so you can whittle the patients you are targeting down to a manageable pool.
Consider an ACO. Being a part of an Accountable Care Organization (ACO), a federal experiment intended to develop approaches for providing high quality care at low costs, will make you stand out in a crowded field.
For more information on how to take advantage of these developments, call MassMedia Healthcare Marketing at 702-433-4331
Volunteers in Medicine of Southern Nevada, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing the uninsured with access to preventative and comprehensive medical care, has retained MassMedia Healthcare Marketing as its public relations agency of record.
“MassMedia has experience in creating and implementing campaigns for a variety of health care organizations,” said Paula Yakubik, managing partner of MassMedia Healthcare Marketing. “Our dedicated team has the tools necessary to assist Volunteers in Medicine of Southern Nevada bring public awareness to its compassionate and driven mission.”
Volunteers in Medicine of Southern Nevada was established in 2008 by Florence Jameson and a group of concerned citizens wanting to provide access to health care for Southern Nevada’s working families. Their mission is to identify, understand and serve the health and wellness needs of Southern Nevada residents who do not have access to health care.
To learn more about Volunteers in Medicine, visit www.vmsn.org.
By: Jessica Schulz – @MassMediaJess
According to the National Rural Health Association (NRHA), 25 percent of the US population resides in small towns and agricultural areas. Compared to a more urban group, this demographic still relies on traditional media for news and information, trusts local media outlets and is persuaded by grassroots and community integration efforts. To be successful, you must understand the community, get involved and deliver the right key messages.
Throughout the course of our 15 year history, MassMedia Healthcare Marketing has had the opportunity to work with clients in rural areas across Nevada. Many of our health care clients have turned to us to create messaging and plan outreach in areas such as Boulder City, Pahrump, Ely and Mesquite. More recently, we were asked by HealthCare Partners, a large doctor group we represent, to help them reach the residents of these rural areas as well as develop a sustainable and effective communications strategy. Throughout the course of this campaign, our team learned about the needs of rural Southern Nevadans as well as the best ways to engage them in our causes.
With smaller populations and even smaller resource pools, rural residents are largely underserved. Due to the recent economic downturn, rural sectors have experienced high unemployment rates, which in turn increase the amount of uninsured and underinsured residents. Many patients are simply unaware of their options regarding insurance and treatment. A need exists for improvement in rural health care, and where there is a need there must be change.
HealthCare Partners is at the forefront of this change in Nevada, particularly in the rural areas where it is merging with or acquiring small, independent practices. This type of change can be intimidating to rural residents who are not early adapters to change. When HealthCare Partners entered the community, we knew that to be successful we needed to educate residents about the medical group and quickly integrate it into the community.
The first step before planning any communication campaign is to research your audiences. This is even more important in rural areas. Combining rural residents with metropolitan audiences can be detrimental to your efforts. Another mistake is thinking that rural communities all fall into the same category. Every community is different and you must understand each town’s unique culture and style. To be effective, marketing strategies must embrace the town’s nuances. For HealthCare Partners, the tactics we used in Las Vegas were not the same that we used in Pahrump or Boulder City.
Next, we assessed how news and information are shared in the area. One channel that seems to remain consistent in every rural market is the community’s support of local media outlets. Although the print media industry may be declining in urban regions, the local paper is still a trusted source of information that rural residents read on a regular basis. They still listen and watch local broadcast programming and purchase products and services from those who support the community. One could make the argument that the media is even more important in rural areas, as news tends to spread like wildfire because of rapid word-of-mouth diffusion. We can overcome rumors and misinformation with news articles placed in key outlets viewed and trusted by residents.
With the HealthCare Partners campaign in Pahrump, we worked hard to establish good relationships with the editors and reporters at these outlets to ensure our news was communicated to the community. In addition, we were looked at as a valuable resource for their stories. HealthCare Partners’ doctors served as expert sources for public health and safety articles, and we also submitted guest columns which ran in the local papers.
Another way to ensure success is to build relationships within the community. Being perceived as a “local” is the single most important thing a practice can do to be successful in rural communities. Whether it’s providing a free service to residents, supporting a local cause, attending town meetings or identifying key influencers to engage with, you need to build trust and support to be considered a source in the community.
Throughout the campaign we worked closely with James Oscarson, director of marketing for Desert View Hospital in Pahrump, who says one-on-one communication works well when raising awareness about new services, equipment or physicians.
“Relationship marketing is the most effective tool for health care professionals,” says Oscarson.
He explains that offering health screenings, immunization and flu shot clinics are very successful in Pahrump. “They must be at no cost to the patient. That doesn’t mean free, of course, this service should be subsidized by new groups entering the market.”
As with any relationship, rural community members will accept you as long as you remain true to the things you say and the commitments you make.
“The service has to be demonstrated and available before the advertising begins,” states Oscarson. “Always under-promise and over-deliver; the community will respect you and will be more likely to keep using you.”
By: Georgeann Pizzi – @gpizzi & Pam Myers – @pammyers310
Adults more than 55 years of age account for nearly 25 percent of the population in Southern Nevada. This demographic segment continues to grow at an increasing rate. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of Americans over the age of 65 will double by 2030. Because seniors are large consumers of health care, medical groups must be keenly aware of this demographic shift from not only a service standpoint, but also as it relates to their communications efforts. In the new era of online and digital marketing, doctor groups should not lose sight of the power of traditional media and its ability to reach senior patients.
The goal of any outreach or advertising campaign is to convey your message to your target audience and the first step is to find out how they obtain information. Pew Research recently reported that nearly 70 percent of seniors read newspapers and magazines as their primary news sources. Further research shows that despite the shift to online communication, seniors continue to consume news mainly through traditional media, including print, television and radio. Despite these compelling statistics, a blanket campaign across traditional media channels will not ensure you’re reaching the right audience. There are specific TV networks, radio stations and publications that rank high among the senior population and others that reach only a small segment of this group.
To effectively reach seniors through advertising, it’s important to take your strategy a step further and do the research necessary to gain clear insight into their behavioral patterns. Important aspects to consider include what communities or areas have higher concentrations of senior residents, what publications are specifically devoted to this group, what television and radio stations have the highest concentration of viewers and listeners, and what programming and day parts are most popular. The answers to these specific questions will help guide where and when you place your advertising, and it will ensure your efforts are reaching the right group.
MassMedia Healthcare Marketing has conducted a number of focus groups on behalf of our clients to get direct feedback from seniors with regard to their communication preferences. Our findings consistently show that seniors are loyal to specific radio and television stations and print publications, and that they listen, watch or read their trusted sources on a daily basis. This is good news for marketers and we can be confident our placements will achieve favorable reach and frequencies relative to our advertising dollars.
With its moderate year-round climate, Southern Nevada is fast becoming a retirement destination for seniors throughout the country. As a result, there are a growing number of niche publications and special sections that specifically serve the senior community. The Las Vegas Review-Journal publishes a monthly supplement to its daily paper with content for senior residents. Master-planned senior housing communities, including Del Webb’s Sun City Anthem and Sun City Summerlin, publish their own magazines. These are great opportunities for doctor groups to promote their services to seniors through highly targeted advertising, which can be much more affordable than marketing to the general masses.
While traditional media remains king among most seniors, it’s important to note that adults over the age of 65 are using the Internet at an increasing rate. For that reason, online advertising should always be considered for your advertising mix. Remember, advertising is only one way to reach the senior community. The best approach is always an integrated one with grassroots, public relations and direct marketing strategies and tactics.
By: Melissa Gonzalez – @mmariegonzalez
This September, MassMedia Healthcare Marketing was hired by Women’s Cancer Center Foundation for Research, to plan and execute an awareness walk entitled “Owareness – A Walk for Ovarian Cancer,” a sequel to last year’s Owareness Rally. The challenge of this year’s event was to build on the success of the previous year’s rally by developing it into a community walk to grow additional support and have a more lasting impression for the cause. The new objectives included building support with strategic partners and influencers, overall execution and raising increased community-wide awareness.
The team developed a strategic plan which included media relations, social media, promotional materials, website updates, sponsorship outreach and special events coordination.
The agency revised the name from “The Rally for Owareness” to “Owareness – A Walk for Ovarian Cancer” to communicate the key message and purpose of the event without changing the established Owareness branding. Fliers, posters, e-blasts and the Owareness website were updated from the previous year to promote news of the event.
NFL Hall-of-Famer Jerry Rice became the name celebrity and to raise awareness for the event, promotional materials were distributed through multiple channels, including the Women’s Cancer Center office and OB/GYN offices throughout Southern Nevada. Tthese materials were also provided to ovarian cancer groups and organizations such as the Ovarian Cancer Awareness Network (OCAN) in Southern Nevada.
The agency’s team used the Women’s Cancer Center and Owareness social media platforms to make announcements, promote sponsors, engage new supporters, and provide education about the detection of ovarian cancer. Videos of patient testimonials, community partners and physicians were also posted to social media sites. In the two months leading up to the event, MassMedia grew the Owareness Facebook page by 81 likes, the Twitter page by 68 followers and quadrupled the amount of engagement from the previous year.
To further its reach, the agency partnered with OCAN, which assisted by promoting the event to its members, support groups and other cancer organizations throughout Southern Nevada.
In addition to the promotional outreach, the MassMedia team also assisted the center with outreach to sponsors. The agency contacted many service providers of the Women’s Cancer Center to secure support and help offset costs associated with the event. More than 13 companies provided their support and helped fund the cause.
The event was held on Saturday, September 24 at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) student union. The one-mile walk took place throughout the tree-lined interior of the campus. Sponsors were allowed to set up booths around the perimeter of the event. Balloons, signage and a DJ helped create a fun atmosphere. Dr. Nick Spirtos, director of the Women’s Cancer Center; Jerry Rice; Mayor Carolyn Goodman; Congresswoman Dina Titus and cancer survivors spoke to the crowd.
Approximately 200 people attended the event, doubling last year’s attendance. The attendees included survivors, patients, family members and community leaders. The agency secured interviews on five TV stations and segments on various news and radio talk shows. The event also received positive press coverage in several print publications. The Owareness social media pages continue to grow with 262 Facebook fans and 1,394 Twitter followers to date.
After months of planning and outreach to organizations and sponsors in the medical industry, MassMedia raised more than $20,000 for the foundation to go toward research, helping uninsured and underinsured ovarian cancer patients pay for chemotherapy treatments and continued education in the community about detection and screening for the disease.
Watch the following video to learn about one of MassMedia’s newest Assistant Account Executives, Melissa Gonzalez, as she talks about why she loves working with healthcare clients, her past experience and more.
By: Pam Myers
Healthcare decisions are extremely important to older adults and thankfully seniors are living longer these days. That means advertisers need to make sure they are communicating effectively to older adults through an integrated approach within their daily lives. This group will be most engaged through traditional media outlets.
Can you guess what one of the most effective ways to reach seniors is? Through the local newspaper. Even though most newspapers are continuing to suffer revenue declines, the Las Vegas Review Journal reports, adults 65+ have the largest readership reaching 113,700 (30.2%) daily and 130,000 (26.4%) for the Sunday paper. In addition, according to the State of the News Media 72% of seniors consistently read the daily newspaper. Many of the younger generations are getting their news through online sources such as Twitter and News apps, but seniors like to touch and feel their daily newspaper.
Where else are seniors obtaining information? Traditional advertising channels such as television and radio. According to a study conducted by Marshall Marketing, within the past week 94% of seniors watched television and 64% listened to the radio. By working with the stations you can craft a schedule where your message will be heard by the target audience. Pulling show rankers will allow you to review and analyze the shows they watch and listen to, along with getting the most reach and frequency for your advertising dollars. In addition, of all the traditional media, the audience for AM/FM radio has remained the most stable during this tumultuous couple of years.
Knowing your audience, what they do during their daily lives, and where they get their news will make your marketing efforts more effective and impactful. It requires a great deal of research and planning, but will be well worth it.
Follow Pam on Twitter @pammyers310 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
By: Carmesha Thompson
MassMedia Healthcare Marketing has always encouraged our clients to use social media to provide their current and potential patients and/ or constituents with useful health content pertinent to their practice/organization. As a result, their target demographic will perceive them as being a valuable resource and trusted source of health information. By posting this content on social media applications, practices/organizations are bringing the information to their patients and/ or constituents, saving them from otherwise having to look for it themselves. We also recommend that practices/organizations take advantage of the accessibility of others through social media and use it to interact with and influence their target audience.
Recently MassMedia launched the social media pages of Nevada Early Childhood Advisory Council whose Head Start and Early Head Start programs promote school readiness for economically disadvantaged children by enhancing their social and cognitive development through the provision of educational, health, nutritional, social and other services.
Using their Facebook and Twitter pages as well as their blog, Head Start plans to interact with and influence media, political and community leaders, and of course Nevada parents on a daily basis. By establishing a branded presence, interacting with influencers and sharing appreciated and unique content, Head Start and MassMedia will create an online community that provides valuable information and fosters increased engagement.
These networks will feature tips for parents on keeping children healthy, cognitive development (such as counting games), and family activities that are local. Their social media pages will also include useful facts and health-related news, trends and reminders regarding children. In addition, the networks will also include links to assess children’s development and milestones as well as links to tips and resources to help children learn and understand (such as printable worksheets to practice writing). Many of the updates will be translated in Spanish to further the reach of the message.
Be sure to ‘Like’ their Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/NevadaEarlyChildhood) and follow them on Twitter (http://twitter.com/NevadaECAC) to not only receive this beneficial information, but to also observe how we utilize social media to engage and inform their audience.