Automation Trends & Key Initiatives in Healthcare Revisited

Mar 2, 2022 1:30 PM2:30 PM EST

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Key Discussion Takeaways

The patient experience has been at the forefront of the healthcare sector for years. The technology and healthcare landscape has been evolving, with new challenges and opportunities arising at every turn. So, how can a healthcare provider meet the patient needs of personalized care?

Patients are demanding customized and better experiences, especially remote functionality stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. Understanding patient acquisition, communication, and retention are crucial for healthcare providers.

In this virtual event, Aaron Conant sits down with Tom Hileman, President at Hileman Group, and Megan Pruce, Vice President of Business Engagement Strategies at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. They discuss the advantages of digitization in the healthcare field, why marketing automation is an effective tool, and engagement opportunities based on patient demands.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

 

  • Tom Hileman and Megan Pruce discuss the digital transformation of the healthcare system during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Why telehealth is leading the future of the digital healthcare system
  • The efficiency and patient satisfaction in automation
  • Can automation provide employee support?
  • How telehealth builds value and adds marketing opportunities for your business
  • What automation tools can you use to meet patient needs?
  • A look into the synchronous and asynchronous engagement opportunities
  • Mapping the strengths and weaknesses of technology for improvement
  • The value of a digital support system on the patient experience
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Event Partners

Hileman

Hileman Group offers services such as demand generation, marketing automation, user experience, visual design, technology services and video, primarily for healthcare providers.

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Adobe

Adobe Experience Cloud is the most comprehensive suite of customer experience management tools on the market. With solutions for data, content delivery, commerce, personalization, and more, this marketing stack is created with the world’s first platform designed specifically to create engaging customer experiences. Each product has built-in artificial intelligence and works seamlessly with other Adobe products. And they integrate with your existing technology and future innovations, so you can consistently deliver the right experience every time.

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Guest Speakers

Aaron Conant LinkedIn

Co-Founder & Managing Director at BWG Connect

Aaron Conant is Co-Founder and Chief Digital Strategist at BWG Connect, a networking and knowledge sharing group of thousands of brands who collectively grow their digital knowledge base and collaborate on partner selection. Speaking 1x1 with over 1200 brands a year and hosting over 250 in-person and virtual events, he has a real time pulse on the newest trends, strategies and partners shaping growth in the digital space.

Tom Hileman

Tom Hileman LinkedIn

President at Hileman Group

Tom Hileman is the President of Hileman Group, a digital marketing agency that helps organizations solve marketing challenges. He has more than 20 years of experience in the marketing and information technology space. In his current role, he works with industries including healthcare, business-to-business services, financial services, and manufacturing. Through a variety of management roles and experience with organizations such as Microsoft, Oracle, and IBM, Tom specializes in leveraging solutions for business growth and success. 

Megan Pruce

Vice President, Business Engagement Strategies at Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Megan Pruce is the Vice President of Business Engagement Strategies at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Megan leads a team that supports the medical center’s marketing, communications, engagement, and growth-related initiatives as it works to transform its model of care and deliver innovative solutions to the B2B2C market. Previously, she was the Vice President at ReviveHealth, a Weber Shandwick company, the Corporate Communications Director at the Cleveland Clinic, and the Communications Supervisor for American Greetings.

Event Moderator

Aaron Conant LinkedIn

Co-Founder & Managing Director at BWG Connect

Aaron Conant is Co-Founder and Chief Digital Strategist at BWG Connect, a networking and knowledge sharing group of thousands of brands who collectively grow their digital knowledge base and collaborate on partner selection. Speaking 1x1 with over 1200 brands a year and hosting over 250 in-person and virtual events, he has a real time pulse on the newest trends, strategies and partners shaping growth in the digital space.

Tom Hileman

Tom Hileman LinkedIn

President at Hileman Group

Tom Hileman is the President of Hileman Group, a digital marketing agency that helps organizations solve marketing challenges. He has more than 20 years of experience in the marketing and information technology space. In his current role, he works with industries including healthcare, business-to-business services, financial services, and manufacturing. Through a variety of management roles and experience with organizations such as Microsoft, Oracle, and IBM, Tom specializes in leveraging solutions for business growth and success. 

Megan Pruce

Vice President, Business Engagement Strategies at Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Megan Pruce is the Vice President of Business Engagement Strategies at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Megan leads a team that supports the medical center’s marketing, communications, engagement, and growth-related initiatives as it works to transform its model of care and deliver innovative solutions to the B2B2C market. Previously, she was the Vice President at ReviveHealth, a Weber Shandwick company, the Corporate Communications Director at the Cleveland Clinic, and the Communications Supervisor for American Greetings.

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Aaron Conant

Co-Founder & Managing Director at BWG Connect


BWG Connect provides executive strategy & networking sessions that help brands from any industry with their overall business planning and execution.

Co-Founder & Managing Director Aaron Conant runs the group & connects with dozens of brand executives every week, always for free.


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Discussion Transcription

Aaron Conant  0:18

Happy Wednesday, everybody. My name is Aaron Conant. I'm the Co-founder and Managing Director here at BWG Connect. We're a networking and knowledge sharing group of 1000s of organizations that do exactly that we network and knowledge share together to stay on top of the newest trends, strategies, pain points, whatever it is that shaping digital as a whole. And it's just really interesting over the past couple years how digital has expanded exponentially into multiple other sectors as well, outside of just you think the traditional direct consumer side, but now, healthcare is huge. Banking is huge, is super interesting as a whole. So I'm talking with 30 to 40 organizations each week to stay on top of those trends. And when the same ones come up over and over again, that's how we get the topics for these calls. Just a couple of housekeeping items as we get started. We want it to be as educational and informational as possible. So at any point in time you have any questions, comments, drop into the chat, you can drop into the q&a, you can always email them to me as well, Aaron aaron@bwgconnect.com. We'll try to get as many of those addressed today as possible. The other thing is, we're starting it at three to four minutes after the hour. And just so you know, we're going to wrap it up with at least three to four minutes to go in the hour as well. We'll give you plenty of time to get on to your next meeting without being late. Yeah, I think that's about it, I want to kind of jump into this because we got some a topic that's come up over and over again, we did a study with Adobe and with the Hileman Group last year, and a lot of it was around digital trends. And again, getting back to how much digital is expanded. Like we saw this, you know, digital trends that happened over the course of what would have taken, you know, five years compressed in just to a year or so. And so, um, that's where we get into this automation trends and key initiatives in healthcare. That's why we're saying this revisited, because we're kind of on the backside of that now and wondering what trends look like going forward. But I've got some great friends, partners, supporters of the network with Tom and Megan here in I'll just jump out to them if they want to do a brief intro on themselves and their organization, and then we can kind of jump into the conversation. Sound good.

Megan Pruce  2:17

Okay, sure. I'm Megan Pruce. And I have the privilege of leading some incredible professionals at Vanderbilt Health and Vanderbilt University Medical Center in the Nashville area. And we work on lots of different areas for the medical center. And we get to use technology and digital solutions in a number of different ways, especially for some of the newer business activities for the medical center. So that's kind of where my bent and focus is most of the time. But I'm grateful to be here and happy to share what we've learned.

Aaron Conant  2:56

Awesome. Tom, kick it over to you.

Tom Hileman  2:58

Thanks. Thanks, Megan. Tom Hileman principal, the Hileman Group, we help healthcare organizations engaged digitally with their patients, providers and their entire network of folks that they interact with. So we spent a lot of our time working with digital technologies and automation and specifically to help these organizations out. So look forward to discussing that with Megan and Aaron today.

Aaron Conant  3:21

Awesome. So again, if more people have joined, you have any questions drop into the chat or the q&a section there, email them into me, Aaron, aaron@bwgconnect.com, but I want to kind of jump into just this thought of, you know, following up on that study, and if people want a copy of it more than happy to share it. But you know, Tom, you know, we were chatting probably, you know, or just before this, he checked it off. It's like you're curious to see health care almost lag a little bit behind in the rate of change and digital. And, you know, that the study that we did show that they were keeping on pace in what what do you see happening right now in trends, pace of, you know, new advancement in technology or automation or whatever, whatever it is. And on the healthcare side now, is it changing? Is it the same rate? What's it any key thoughts there?

Tom Hileman  4:11

Sure. Well, historically, healthcare has lagged several years, sometimes up to five years behind other industries, typically, b2b and some of the direct consumers have been quicker adopters of specific types of technology. However, I will tell you during the pandemic, it's kind of healthcare led was on the leading edge of, of the adoption of telehealth and the video conferencing, as well as a lot of the automation platforms. So I think you're in there are a few phases on it early on, when back in 2020 days, you're where we didn't know exactly what was happening at the minimum pandemic, there was a little bit of a slow adoption. And then once we got going with the different models of care, virtual visits, telehealth, it really exploded. And then I saw it kind of slow down a little bit during on the Omicron and Delta or Delta Omicron I should say, as the health systems became very overlooked, loaded with patients and relive those priorities. But right now we see a huge explosion, a lot of pent up demand is folks are coming on the other side of Omicron, and really wanting to continue their transformation. I mean, labor supplies also kind of fed into that people realize it's hard both on the clinical and non clinical sides to get people and retain those folks. So a lot of the work going in automation supports personalization, as well as kind of helping with those labor, labor issues that we see. But that's kind of I see from my perspective, I don't know Megan, with it from the health system side, what do you seen?

Megan Pruce  5:37

Yeah, there was definitely, you know, we were making inroads to several areas of automation and digital transformation before the pandemic. You know, we had large efforts put towards telehealth, as Tom referenced, you know, a strategic initiative around the paperless clinic. You know, we were really investing a lot in digital content development. But, you know, the, the circumstances of the last two years, obviously, have greatly accelerated that work. So, you know, from a telehealth perspective, I mean, that was significant resources put towards what it would take to ready, more and more and more of our clinical teams to deliver in that context. And I think the new norm is operating in a paperless world. And, you know, for those of us that continue to work from home, I would wonder how many people use their printer at home as much as they used it in the office and how much we have the expectation that we're going to be engaging with things strictly, digitally, in a lot of senses, and so that the paperless clinic, and having paperless operations, has really opened the door for a lot of automation opportunities as well. That's one that I think is staying forever. Great. I can't hear you, Aaron. Aaron was super,

Aaron Conant  7:14

really quick. Sorry about that. What do you see as trends within telehealth? You know, just, you know, as a whole, I know, there's a lot poured into it, right at the beginning of the pandemic, and even into last year. What trends do you see as far as stickiness that's going on? You know, I don't know if there's a demographic that you're seeing or would love to hear your thoughts there in Tom's as well.

Megan Pruce  7:38

I think what we're seeing is that there's, you know, the, the valley between those interested in willing to do it, and those who want to continue to do it to do it are is widening back to more pre pandemic levels. And so it's a matter of how do we continue to meet the patient where they are and how they want to receive care, whether that is in a virtual sense, or it is in person and making sure that those options are available to them. We're doing some work with our own health plan. some pilot work with our own health plan to feature telehealth more often, I think we'll get some really good learnings from that to see how we might be able to feature it more to our consumers and our patients. But, you know, you have to have the right combination of incentives at this point around telehealth. They can't just be that we offer telehealth there, I think there has to be some other incentives like lower copay or, you know, expanded hours, something to that effect to get a few more of those people that would maybe prefer to be in person to consider a telehealth option.

Tom Hileman  8:50

Yeah, I agree. I mean, we work across many health systems profit for profit, non for profit, like mailer, and Cleveland Clinic and chs. And we're seeing pretty similar things. It's about access. And I think, Megan, you just have a key point meet them where they want, where they are, where they want to be you for the digital offerings you need to have, there's also some payments, payment concerns about what the future is gonna hold for reimbursement on that as well. So that gives us a fairly uncertain future. And then also some desire to get patients back into a lot of these facilities that we've either built in the interim, or we have all this capacity for to utilize those. But to me, it comes down to meeting the meeting the patient where they want to be, and I actually think the world is going to be hybrid. We've seen the benefits of this type of technology for these kinds of webinars, right? And we see where that makes sense follow up visits, things that don't necessarily require you to do diagnostics or hands on kind of things. I think we'll still use a lot of telehealth, but it's got to be like you said, Megan, it has to be value add to them, right. So if I do a telehealth visit, what do I say? Do I get access and later hours? Is it that don't have to drive in and park and do the way fine and maybe find childcare or whatever it may be. So and then there's also Aaron that the age demographics to other pretty telling, as the type of relationship that the patient wants to have with the health system and the end provider in general. So those I think, are some pretty key aspects of what we need to think about as marketers more than just pushing telehealth versus not as looking at that journey. And what gives the most value to our to our consumer patient this case,

Aaron Conant  10:29

it's interesting, because we're living in an age now, where it's the Spoil Me Now mentality for a traditional consumer. And that's carried over now into the healthcare space as a whole, right, if you don't want to, you know, waste their time, and you think you get into the telehealth or the automatic dial back in those file up, and those follow up visits, you don't have to wait in an office anymore, you know, they can just dial you back, like you were running 15 minutes over, there's a lot of different things you can plug in. But you also brought up another point, which is around like, you know, marketing, you know, as a whole communicating with them. And I know, in the study that we did, a lot of what came up was around marketing automation. And we'd love to hear what you guys are seeing in that space, is that still a trend where people are trying to basically get into marketing automation and those tools and technology more than they were before?

Tom Hileman  11:24

Well, I would say I'm sorry, maybe I'll jump in first here. I know, I'm passionate about marketing automation. So certainly, it was a big trend before pandemic. But I mean, during the pandemic was one of the main tools that we had, right. So if we're going to meet people, there's through social, through email through different digital tactics, that marketing automation was kind of one of the main tools in our tool belt in a disconnected world. So the things that it does well acquisition, providing access, education, awareness, kind of things it does is a great app. So those things are going to continue to grow. And we're seeing now is a lot of folks who would put some of those initiatives kind of on hold or on pause during the pandemic, either from a budget perspective, or just available internal resources, given how everyone stretched them, we're seeing a lot more demand to push there. But I would also argue automation in general, even beyond applying the marketing automation tools for what are not traditionally marketing automation areas, things like recruitment. We've done a lot more work and physician nurse, clinician recruitment, and in business process side and I know Megan. That's a place that you've put a lot of thought into.

Megan Pruce  12:35

Yeah, and that's really, you know, my bent on marketing automation is, you know, it's much more than marketing. And, you know, I think those of us that are in marketing can sometimes be the first on the balance sheet to look at budget cuts and things. And so when we can talk about what we're doing beyond beyond marketing with a marketing automation platform, I think our ability to use that kind of tool and have to have that kind of reassurance from the organization that we're delivering critical business functions is really important. So yeah, of course, we're doing a lot of the work that Tom referenced with, you know, nurture campaigns and acquisition campaigns and lead gen, both on the b2c and b2b sides. We have b2b businesses at Vanderbilt, along with our b2b and b2c care models and care programs. But you know, the areas that I think have gotten the most traction for us, especially during COVID, when there were plenty of times where we weren't looking for more volume, the areas that we were really able to make significant inroads into the organization were around process efficiency and process business process automation. And using the tool that we have Marketo to do that has been really a game changer for us in a lot of ways. We have we work with various parts of the organization that are doing new care models. All of them are value based care models, and they have risk associated with the payment models. And so we've been able to use our marketing automation platform to support the care team in the care experience that they're delivering, to keep people aligned to the care program the the expectations of participation, and to deliver a really personalized experience that we would not be able to do otherwise. So you see that in employee satisfaction. So we are helping to take off some of the lift on our human resources by providing digital efficiency and digital automation behind a lot of What they are doing. And you see that in patient satisfaction. So we're also measuring the net promoter scores of some of these services as well. So we see we see the wins on both sides. And that's been really rewarding. One of those that Tom referenced is our care management team. So for those of you that might not be as familiar with this kind of a function, you know, if you think about the patient pyramid, and the sickest of the sick patients are at the top of the pyramid, but they also account for 50% of your healthcare spend, for your health plan, those people need extra supportive services, social work, pharmacy, care navigators and those kind of people because they're usually managing multiple conditions. And we've been able to put a Marketo backbone to the work that the care managers are delivering, to really keep people you know, connected to that program, and ensure that, you know, they're staying committed to the resources that we have available to them. So better quality and lower cost care for everyone is something that we can help support with marketing automation,

Tom Hileman  16:19

or automation, right. So we use the word right, we use the word marketing automation for the platform, but I would argue, at least a third of our use cases have nothing to really do with marketing, they really have to do with cat with a care automation factor of that

Aaron Conant  16:35

is that like, so on the traditional DTC side, you know, it's like Digital 2.0, where you know, that you can't just have the email, the SMS, you can't just have the CDP or whatever it is, on the backend, where you're checking the boxes, you've got to take it to the next level, with all of those tools and connect them all together and get everything out of them that they have to offer. And like the best in class companies are evolving into this digital 3.0. And that's kind of, it seems like, you know, even when we did that, that study, there's a lot of people selectively using, you know, like, there's a marketing automation, specifically around reaching new patients, or communicating with patients, but you're talking about taking it to the next level and using it internally. You know, I'd love to hear a little bit more about that. And also the KPIs because one KPI, cool KPI that I just took away, Megan from you, was employee satisfaction, right? Because a lot of times you look at the return on investment, you know, from a financial standpoint, but if you have less turnover, because employees are, you know, happier and more efficient. And that's a cool,

Megan Pruce  17:43

yeah, there, there's a way to use automation to try to support people working type of license. So that's a term that we use in the industry where, you know, you want physicians doing physicians work truly work of a physician, you want nurses doing work that truly only nurses can do. Right. And I think, you know, there's so much that people that have a digital marketing background can offer to support a care team like that. And it does at a time when employee recruitment and retention is at the forefront of everything, probably all of us on the call are doing. It's one way that we can show a commitment to using, you know, digital processes, digital enhancements, you know, is there this, we had this call today, right? Our lead gen activity is resulting in more calls than the human beings that we currently have, can take in this one program that we have. And so we're saying, Hey, we can bring more automation to this process, so that you guys continue to work to your best and highest ability. And we're thinking about how our digital tools can be used to answer those, you know, patient's questions without necessarily having to draw it out on human resources. So it's an efficiency move, but it's also an employee engagement move as well. And, you know, nobody wants to be doing work that they feel is below them, or not the best and highest use of their skills and abilities. And so, there's a lot that we've been able to bring to the table to our operations teams to say, you know, I think that there's more we could be doing from a digital journey, perspective to you know, give the patient or whoever that key audiences what they need and what they're looking for in a timely and efficient manner, which is what they're looking for. And, you know, we can protect our valuable human resources to make sure that they feel like they're really doing their best and highest work.

Tom Hileman  19:54

Yeah, that's right on. I mean, there's tools like chatbots that come to mind, where you think about the call centers right Call Centers are difficult to staff now. And the last thing we want our call centers to do is help with Wayfinding, or the phone number for facility, right? So if we can chop off 20% of the value by using a tool like, say, from oil hills to one of their chat bots or whatnot, where we can answer the basic wayfinding and some information on routing for financial questions and things like that, and then save our call center for the human interactions that we need where they're impactful meaningful, as opposed to answering some rote question. That is better use of that labor force, right? happier, happier employees, happier patients, because they're there, they have people when they need people, but they get their answers quickly, when they don't necessarily need to talk to someone. I think that's where digital gives us a lot of offerings, whether it's, whether it's chatbots, whether it's artificial intelligence, whether it's some of the automation platforms that we've talked spoken about, like there's just a lot of creative ways that you can apply these things. And I think the future is going to be scarcer in labor. And we want to keep people doing the best highest use that a human being can do. And when to kind of automate some of the mundane would be some of the one of the trends that I see.

Aaron Conant  21:14

Yeah, I mean, even in that case, what you just outlined, there's an easy way to calculate an ROI. Right? If 20% 1518, whatever it might be, it's really easy to draw a line and say, Hey, this is how much money was actually saved in staff time, and therefore, because this always the balance, right, like, time, effort, money ROI, do is it worth the install or not? Right? That's the that's a tough thing. I think that that people deal with, right, right. Is that like, how do you guys look at evaluating new tech and pulling the trigger on it? And then Tom, would love to hear your thoughts on that as well. And then I want to get into another thing that came up, because just you know, Tom, while you're talking me thinking about AI as a whole, but

Megan Pruce  21:57

yeah, I mean, in the last couple years, we have not had, my team has not had as many tech implementations, probably, mostly because of, you know, COVID, just, we've had a couple enterprise implementations that go across the whole place, but specific to our department, you know, we've been trying to make the best use of what we've got get the most value out of what we got. So, you know, I think we thought very intentionally about how we would implement our marketing automation platform when it was first given to us and we've been socializing that as a process and digital efficiency, opportunity to the businesses just as much as we've been positioning them for, you know, lead gen, and, you know, nurture capabilities, acquisition capabilities. So I think, you know, that conversation was started before COVID. And we had a few use cases where we were doing that. And then it just really exploded after this, we really didn't have a choice. But to create digital journeys for patients, we had a couple new products that we developed during COVID. And those have a Marketo backbone, they have a lot of telehealth associated with them, because they were built during a time when digital was the only way we could do things, not the preferred, it was the only way. And patients that are part of those products and programs with us. They find it to be very efficient for them. And we also set the expectation right from the get go, that, you know, we're going to have tele lactation, we're going to have various parts of your care are going to be the telehealth and, you know, when that's the expectation versus presented to you later, as you know, what would you like lactation services via telehealth? Or would you like them in person? You know, it's just a different conversation with people. So I think I think for those that are going on this journey, that that's what I would recommend is to think about, you know, how you can position this as a enterprise value, not just value to the marketing department. And there's countless ways we We just helped one of the businesses implement electronic funds transfers, for their, you know, shared savings checks, like a quality bonus that practices we're getting, you know, I mean, paper snail mail, you can imagine, you know, conference rooms full of letters and checks and these poor people having to fold and stuff and lick all these things, right. That's what we did before. That's not high employee value or satisfaction. And we were able to use Marketo to implement electronic funds transfer, like initiate that outreach, and then, you know, kind of guide that process with finance.

Aaron Conant  24:54

Awesome. Yes. Tom, I'd love to hear your thoughts because I know you're helping a lot of people in the space and the you know, strategy. execution and everything, you know, what do you what do you see as a whole, and then I do want to jump into the AI side of things. Because that was another thing that resonated on the study is a whole

Tom Hileman  25:09

you were seeing, I think, when you look at it, you got to look at value in a couple of ways. So there's traditional ROI. So when we're talking about chatbots, and in a call center, if you can show the do the Pareto analysis of whether call topics are right, and before and after, and then measure the impact of what a tool like that will do. That's pretty clear, straightforward ROI. I'd also argue there's an employee, it's that side of that that should be measured personification of just handling those of those questions, and whatnot. So the metrics there in the call center are typically pretty clear ROI, call length, number of calls, values, types, those kinds of things that you can really kind of go through. On the other sides of things, when you're using a marketing automation tool, it really comes down to the type of engagement. So Megan's example of automating a business process around the EFT, EFT and handling funds, right, that's all about just being more efficient. And that amount of time it took before the amount of time it takes. Now, I'd also argue there's probably a satisfaction on the provider side of that, of getting there, instead of getting their checks in the mail, they're getting their money faster. And it's a more clean and kind of efficient process from their perspective. So typically, you want to look at the axes, a couple of those different axes of satisfaction of the customers, your boys, and then also the kind of the hard financial return that you get from that. Those are typically the three axes and the metrics that we look at. In terms of AI, and I think we have some interesting areas in particular area that you wanted to kind of jump into.

Aaron Conant  26:44

Yeah, I mean, it's just that it was this that a large area of growth, right, so we did the study, 66% of the respondents said, Hey, this is a focus for us. And yet, AI is a term that's thrown around kind of like, tarnish Bernie here, you know, like, oh, it's AI, it's AI, it's AI, you know, and so, you know, how are people, you know, using AI to improve automation efforts as a whole? I mean, I guess that would be it?

Tom Hileman  27:10

Yeah, well, there's tons of places, right. So there's advertise AI that you can use when you're doing your digital advertising. So, right now, Google does a lot and Facebook as well, they do a lot of different types of activities when it comes to the automation of your bidding. And for optimization of ad groups and things like that. So AI is applied there a lot on the advertising side, where I'm most excited about, it's kind of the targeting. So in healthcare, we have a lot. So we have a lot of data, right. And we have so much data that we don't really use it all that well as it is my experience. So some of the tools out there, like a company axiom has a great tool for looking at existing patient populations, and identifying the most at risk folks, and ability to target them. In a world where specific kind of specialty coverage capacity is going to be limited, at least for the hope for the next six months or so as we kind of get started to get back and doing that, quote, elective care, we're going to need to be able to prioritize and target patients effectively so that we can feel capacity needs and whether it's a service line level, whether it's a specific facility or region. So the AI tools area allows us to better target. And that allows us to better match to the patient needs as well as the organization's needs, from where they need, the volume and the activity. So that's, that's one of the things I'm most excited about is the ability to use AI to comb through lots that data that wouldn't even be sent even a labor issue, it really wouldn't even be possible from a human perspective.

Aaron Conant  28:46

Awesome Megan Are you looking at AI? Or are you know? Are you guys putting in, in in practice today?

Megan Pruce  28:53

Yeah, we're, that's not it's, it's not at the forefront of the priorities. Right now it is on the list. But it's not at the forefront. Just there's a lot of, you know, stress on the organization's right now, with this last wave. So I'm confident we'll get there, especially as we do more and more of this risk based activity. You know, I think that we have shown that that through a tool that wasn't net wasn't intended for this purpose, but through a marketing automation platform, you know, we've been able to lower the risk to the organization of taking on some of these risk based contracts. And I can see a easy jump from the credibility and trust we've built with the organization through that work. I can see a pretty easy job in getting people over to using more AI functionality to even improve that lessen that risk even more. It's just got to be the right time. You know, that there's there's a season For everything. I think before COVID, the AI talk was a lot more frequent. And it'll it'll get back there for us. But there's been a lot of distractions and just trying to make the most of what we got.

Tom Hileman  30:18

Yeah, I think wherever wherever data is rich, Megan, your point, the risk data, right and claims and all those pieces that's is a natural place for AI to be applied over time. Just because there's so many there's, there's value we pull out of that, in a value based world, there's a lot of value be pulled out of the data and understanding where those risk factors are. So I would I would expect that as this year progresses, and hopefully we continue to put COVID in the rear view window. We're gonna have more and more opportunities there.

Aaron Conant  30:47

Yeah. Yeah, it's super interesting. Because I mean, I agree, you have to tackle what's in front of you right away? What do you see, you know, time, like when AI starts to really move in, you know, on the drug consumer side, it's the CDP platforms that are popping up and help take it, you know, taking the data, crunching it and saying, Hey, put it in these different cohorts and target these people this way. It's kind of like the same thing that I'm hearing from you. It's like, this ton of he added is just we're at the very forefront, like, if people are, we're most people out that you're dealing with right now in regards to rolling out some kind of AI help. I'm just thinking, if I'm on the line, today, I'm sitting back there, like, am I behind the eight ball? Or, you know, am I in just looking into it? Am I at the forefront of what's going on?

Tom Hileman  31:35

Well, a lot of people are claiming to do AI, I would argue that most people aren't doing AI at all, they're really doing a little bit of predictive analytics. They're doing some prediction models, but not really using artificial intelligence to do machine learning and predictive analytics are all good. And we use them all the time, right? We want to be able to forecast the effectiveness of our campaigns or the communications that we're doing. But where AI comes in is telling us what telling us things that we don't even know we don't know. Right? So that that's where it's one thing to say how successful this be? Or how do we optimize here, and machines are great at that, because they can spin this off faster, and we can get the wood chopped even faster, more efficiently. The question is, is what what should we be chopping? Sometimes? Should we be forced focusing on cardiovascular versus wellness visit biggest patient? Well, that's a that's a thorny question. Right. As a health system, we have a couple answers there. But for that patient x that's it's it's a different answer, what's important to them at this moment. So I think we're if you use the baseball analogy we use in the study, we're early in the innings first or second inning of what AI is going to do in our from a healthcare perspective. Today, mostly, we have bunches of tools that we're trying to do AI kind of in each tool. But that's not really the answer. What we really need is more of an AI layer that looks at CRM data in healthcare, it looks at claims it looks at that looks at EMR data that looks at engagement data from marketing platforms and puts it together. And then we we draw our conclusions, and we take our actions out of that. So that intelligence layer doesn't really exist almost anywhere. Now, some of the larger systems claim they have it, but only kind of within the scope of the data they have. So for folks on the on the webinar, you're not behind. People talk about it, it still is still way early on. There's some good initial applications, but like the world, that we the way that we manage to move data, and then leverage it for intelligence is going to be the biggest change we see in the next five years. For certain, from my perspective

Megan Pruce  33:35

it's Yeah, I agree. I would agree with that, you know, we have a wealth of data. And we're still working to knit all that together. You know, we have a big initiative around patient reported outcomes measures now proms. And, you know, that is, in a lot of respects, the customer talking to us about their priorities and how they're feeling and looking at that data over time to see health improvements, not just in the traditional measures of length of stay and, you know, admit, readmit type of quality measures, but, you know, really looking at, did we make an improvement in their health over time, and, you know, you would expect that that could be a trove of opportunity to find out other things that could be a value and help to those patients. And, you know, it's all just getting it all connected.

Aaron Conant  34:36

It's super exciting. I mean, looking forward the future, like you're saying, We have a ton of data, that to have it all intertwined into the identity, you know, being able to identify different patients in high risk categories, five years, 10 years, by the way, you've had these 18 Different things that happened, and these other 100,000 people, there's a 95% chance x is going to happen if you don't do Y we should talk about about that, or bring this up with your physician. I mean, it's super exciting. You know, from a, from a patient standpoint. You know, are there other, you know, things that you guys see as exciting as well? Or are there other things that are fading away that, you know, aren't as important, and I shouldn't say as important, but just, you know, maybe they're aging out on the side of marketing?

Tom Hileman  35:26

Um, I think our discussions on access will change. We talked a little bit about this before Megan, like the access messaging is going to be much more nuanced. Now, in terms of how do you want to interact? So I think that's an area that we're going to see a lot of change in, in terms of because obviously, before the last two years, digital was the tool, and now we're going to have a lot more capabilities there. I think we're going to see a re emergence around CRM, as we have more folks coming in and out and just kind of add person to person interactions and things that we want to manage, and track. And that'll become more important in healthcare as we have those values of things go up. And I think the risk side to Megan, you talked about before, the risk out of the out of the value based care is going to be another and it's going to continue to grow and grow.

Megan Pruce  36:13

Yeah, and from my perspective, I would add on to that, those are all great points, Tom, you know, I get most excited about what I see in terms of synchronous and asynchronous events, and our ability to continue to offer both. So you know, I think those are terms that we've used a lot in education, we've heard over the last two years, you know, kids in school doing synchronous and asynchronous learning. But that actually applies to some of the care that we can deliver as well. And so, you know, some patients want to be doing things in real time with a provider, you know, perhaps in person, and some people are more wired to do things on their own time on their own schedule? And how do we offer our services in the appropriate ways, both synchronous and asynchronously. So we can do that with education, we can do that with our engagement events, you know, I, I enjoy going to in person conferences these days, because it is an you know, something we've all missed. But at the same time, I can just as effectively take in a lot of that information at eight o'clock at night with a glass of wine, maybe. And, yeah, right, a spritzer. Um, and, you know, there's also a lot of value in that understanding people's how people like to consume information. Are they audio learners? Are they visual learners? You know, do they need, you know, supportive things around them to understand what we're talking about, you know, you can apply this in a patient ed, and marketing sense, making sure that our campaigns have kind of synchronous and asynchronous elements to them. And you can apply this in a provider engagement center, as well. So that's what we're seeing is, how do we, you know, meet our audiences where they are with learning and engagement opportunities that are of multiple types. You know, it's beautiful here today, and I would happily listen to a podcast today when I'm out, walking, but I'm not gonna bring my laptop with me and watch a webinar. So anything that is available to me from an audio perspective, I will consume. And I think a lot of people are used to that at this point. And we need to be making sure that we are accounting for that in our channels and tactics. Moving forward.

Tom Hileman  38:51

I mean, the piggyback on that a webinar like this one will be viewed at least two to three times as much asynchronously as it is synchronously right now. Right? And do you plan for that about your content, that's what we see. Right? We can generate, whether it's marketing content that we're using from, you can have a whole bunch of provider specific webinars, right, or patient specific webinars that you can reuse in a variety of ways. So these tools from a synchronous and asynchronous environment allow us to really capitalize on the investments that you make. That's, I think that's the great boon of, of what we've learned, like you mentioned, podcasts, will podcasts have exploded over the last two years, because people can do those while they're exercising while they're doing whatever

Megan Pruce  39:34

that is, and that really wasn't on our radar before 2020. Investing in audio format, strictly audio formats was not was not on our radar. And now, you know, we have one of the top healthcare podcasts in the country and we have a secondary podcast that's just for our providers that are part of our network. So, you know, we've tremendously expanded our audio content for that very purpose.

Aaron Conant  40:01

We've also seen a lot of uptake in just even internal training on video and podcast, as well, if you think about both sides of it, right, like patient side, but also the internal training, because there are so many people working remote, how do you get a, you know, like you're saying you'd use something at eight o'clock at night, you know, the All, all team, all hands on deck meeting is really tough to do. Well, now you can basically just record it, and just have people watch it on their own time, and still track everything on the backend. It's pretty neat. Where you, you know, Tom, like from the standpoint of like, digital transformation, you know, a lot of what we're talking about is that and that that term is thrown around a lot as well. But, you know, for people that are like listening in, that are just at the start of this digital transformation journey, because they've been, you know, just trying to handle everything thrown at them over the past couple of years. Like, what advice do you have for them? And then we can kick it over to Megan, you know, kind of where you're at as well. And last, too, but you know, Tom, what advice do you have for people that are just starting this journey as a whole?

Tom Hileman  41:05

Well, first, I'd say relax, a lot of people fall into you too far behind, because all the articles get published by people who are on the cutting edge, right. So most of the time, you're not that far behind. Most things are in early adoption. After that, I would say first focus on your business priorities. I think that was what Megan kind of did with some of the opportunities in her b2b channel. Right? What do they need? Right? And before you engage with the around engaging, whether you using a consultant or an external third party, I think it's good to think kind of long and hard. And what does the organization need? Because external experts will be able to tell you a lot about how to get there, and what they're seeing in other places, but no one knows your organization better than you do. Right? And so if you think about what do we really need today. So that firstly, I would just think about the business priorities, and what's changing what's working, what's not, well, the classic kind of SWOT analysis, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats, then the next thing is, I think, find a good partner that you can work with, whether it's an internal change agent that you may have, via those with inside your organization, or an external partner, and perhaps some of your thinking together. But as you meet as you go to work with them on kind of that strategy landscape. So I think that's really important, because you know, the nuances of your organization, and what will work and what weren't what work so governance and change management and all these things about the pace and rate of change that you can do in your organization, you'll know that I would say, find an external partner that you trust and help kind of develop a roadmap. And then from that roadmap, pick up, pick off some easy things, easy wins that are meaningful to leadership. That way, you can continue, they can see or at early return. And they can also see how that application works, the application, the technology, or whatever it is, works. And so that way, you can continue to get the funding that you need, and the resources that you need to kind of advance those things, and then rinse and repeat. And obviously, the most, the biggest value typically comes from the thorniest problems. So you want to get some wins under your belt before you go tapping tackle your EMR integration, or something like that, where you have a much heavier tacky and organizational lift. That would be kind of my four step process there. Aaron,

Aaron Conant  43:20

you know, are you able to jump in then just do that evaluation? Because I think that's what happens a lot, right? You read the the LinkedIn article, you read the latest report, you know, everybody seems to be lightyears ahead of you. But reality is like one or two cutting edge organizations that are probably a fraction of the size, right? The larger that the the organization, the harder it is to stay at the forefront and be quick and nimble. Do like do that assessment and just kind of say like, Hey, you're actually not 10 steps behind you're you're one step behind, or you're even keel

Megan Pruce  43:53

maturity framework. Yeah, yes.

Tom Hileman  43:55

And we have, we have maturity model that we use from our attack and for digital marketing operations that we use, and it's got a four levels, and we kind of work through and check those boxes with it most the time here, and it's not so many that there, people are at different levels in different areas. So usually an organization maybe I had an application of certain technology or certain business practice. And sometimes there's the Nimble folks who are way ahead or perceived to be way ahead, but they don't have scale. It's kind of like turning the battleship versus turning the tugboat, right. So there's that aspect to it. But then there's also just certain areas that get ahead. And so there's the folks that talk it's kind of the survivorship bias. If you look at trying to like when you look at results that come out of even patient outcomes, right, Megan, like those are survivors, they're heavily survivorship bias, because they're the folks who have the positive outcomes, and they can report back. So yeah, those are the key current state assessment and then the next step is to do the kind of the future state desire and then map out the gap and we use some of our marketing maturity tools and some of our assessments that kind of help folks understand where they are

Megan Pruce  45:02

I'd say from Yeah, from, from our experience, we've found that the best places to start with new pieces of technology or new approaches, right that that put marketing strategy closer to operations and innovation and strategy, we found the best places in our organization to start with are those that are also trying to build and establish themselves, right. So it's very hard for, you know, a lot of my colleagues that work on the legacy, you know, 150 year old business pieces, parts that are already wired and mired into doing things a certain way. However, you know, we had, you know, we had an opportunity to work with kind of the innovation engine first, the parts of the organization that we're currently building currently developing currently, you know, doing their strategy, we were able to work with them first. And it's been, so we were able to build their products and their processes, with automation, and with digital behind it from the get go. And it's been pretty incredible to see how that part of the organization is influencing the legacy parts of the organization, just the way we wanted them to write, they're seeing, hey, they were able to do this over here, I want to change my process to do it like this over here. And that's been I think the real reward is just, you know, instead of trying to fight the current tide, and figure out where the tide is going and and that's, that's been the secret to our success, I think, is to double down on the innovation parts organization, and then use that to convince the rest of the organization on these approaches.

Aaron Conant  47:01

Is there like an area that you're most excited about, like in terms of automation, but this is something you're most excited about working on over the next year, or just wrapped up like?

Megan Pruce  47:16

I've from, from my perspective, we're doing some pretty innovative work with support people, or caregivers, I know a lot of the provider organizations on the line probably call their employees caregivers. So I'm talking about the support people to patients when I say care caregivers, but we're starting to add a digital layer underneath, you know, kind of the care plan for some of these programs, these value based and risk based programs, we're adding a layer of supportive layer of these support people campaigns. And, you know, the patient can choose a support person to regularly receive information, not specific to their case, but specific to their journey, you know, if it's a total joint or expand surgery, or it's maternity, you know, that support person is going to be getting kind of updates about what is top of mind to the patient that the family member that they love, how can they be best supporting them, things to look out four ways to find information and and also to, you know, protect their own health, because we know that caregivers usually take a lot of the stress on themselves. So I'm excited about that work, just because I think it's innovative. And I think it is, it's the right thing to do. And I think we don't use the family member and their genuine interest in achieving the goals that we have as well, which is like best outcome. The family member absolutely wants the best outcomes too. And they can they can help us in that. And I mean, think about also like the brand implications of that too. Right? Not just the patient experiences our care, but their family member sees how supportive we are in their care. And I mean, talk about brand ambassadors. I mean, come on. Right.

Aaron Conant  49:09

Tom, what about you? What are you most excited about in this space?

Tom Hileman  49:12

Oh, well, I know where Megan's going. I mean, I'll guess I'll pick you on that back on that for a second. Think about, think about the caregivers, right. I mean, that the caregivers, about the influence that they have with the brand, but then also the philanthropy opportunities that come out of that as well, are huge. We work with a lot of philanthropic organizations that are tied into the health system. I'm going to get you back to your question, I guess. I'm always excited about kind of the what's next and where we're headed. And I really think we're headed into the dawn of like intelligently using our data. So I really think that we've so far in our histories, we've stove piped a lot of information into different systems and it's it's a bit fragmented, and we're starting to see things like CDP's and different CRMs filling different voids there. I'm going to get into more complete view of a patient, or by this case patient or provider, it's getting to the b2b or b2c aspects. So I think we'll be able to do some tremendously interesting things that'd be that'd be really valuable for patients and providers. So the life, the life cycle mapping, the journey mapping of helping them engage a lot of this asynchronous and synchronous communications, mapping and mapping it out, I just really see that we're at war in the dawn of when the dawn of a change because we come out of the pandemic, I think we all have seen that digital can do a lot. And some of those traditional barriers, the providers who said they would never do virtual visits and had to just kind of keep doing their thing. So I think people's minds are more flexible for a while, that it'd be interesting if we, I think we have appointed a period of time for maybe a year or two, where we can really tear things down and put them back together and more efficient models underpinning the data. Because I think the I think the tables are bare, right? We got to Greenfield because people know that we've had in two years, we've been up and down in a lot of different ways. And a lot of the old assumptions can be challenged and changed. So I think we're going to be an era of change in healthcare, and 22 and 23, assuming COVID doesn't have a variant that comes back and comes roaring back at us. But I think I think Aaron, a lot of things are gonna be on the table that were never on the table before, including how much data we have and how we share that data with patients. And how we utilize that data for communications. I mean, things that traditionally have been verboten, I think you're going to be able to go there now. Because people, people can see what this what that change we've experienced allow us to do in the future.

Megan Pruce  51:38

Think journey mapping has been a game changer for us. So thank you for mentioning that. Tom, I would say that, when you can sit down with a group and actually map out, you know, what is the journey that we're going to take with patients? It is so eye opening to them to think about all the automation and all the digital touch points we could put into that patient journey. If it speaks for itself, you really don't need to do anything other than, you know, kind of map out that process. And then it becomes a very easy conversation to say, you know, hey, I think we could support the journey here. I think, you know, we could be inserted here. I think our technology and our approaches could be helpful here. So journey mapping, game changer.

Tom Hileman  52:24

No one wants to do one until you show them it. And then they're like, Oh, that makes perfect sense. Right?

Megan Pruce  52:29

Yeah. And I have some amazing people on my team that have figured out how to do it virtually. And not with any fancy technology. So yeah, it's possible to do it, you know, in this virtual work environment that we're in for sure.

Aaron Conant  52:46

And I can see where we're coming up here right on time. You know, Tom, any kind of key takeaways you want to say quick thank you to you. And Megan is just you know, all around awesome conversation. Know, if anybody's looking for any follow up information, knee, you want any advice need any help in this space. Tom and his team are just crushing it over there. They come highly recommended from a ton of different organizations within the network. 100% worth setting up some time and just picking their brain. They're all around the experts, but also just all around great people and fun to talk to as well. Tom, I got a quick key takeaway as we wrap it up.

Tom Hileman  53:19

Well, thank you for the kind words, Aaron, I appreciate it. And thanks, Megan, for making the time today. Enjoy the conversation. I think this is an era of change right now. So I think when we think about automation, think about things that are outside the traditional sphere from the marketing space, where you can be impactful Megan showed some great examples on that these tools we can be we can use them in a myriad of ways. And for a lot of value. So I think this can be flexible in our thinking and apply that and see where we can kind of make some significant changes. Now that we're kind of back in the ramp up phase of what are what marketing and comms can do for our organizations. So thank you. Thank you.

Aaron Conant  53:58

Yeah, absolutely. Thanks, Megan. Thanks, Tom so much. It's been awesome. Everybody. Yeah, take care. Stay safe. Hope everybody has a fantastic rest of the week. Look for follow up email from us. We'd love to have a conversation with you. And with that, we're gonna wrap up, everybody have a wonderful week. All right. We'll see you again, Tom. Thanks, Megan.

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