Navigating Digital Transformation for Health Systems

Apr 29, 2022 12:00 PM1:00 PM EST

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Key Discussion Takeaways

Digital transformation has been around for years, but now professionals in the health sector are trying to figure out what it means for their systems — as it’s no longer about simply using a new tech tool or platform. So, what does digital transformation look like for the healthcare industry, and who are the beneficiaries? What are the expectations and deliverables? 

In the healthcare system, digital transformation is an opportunity to optimize the customer and patient experience and interactions. According to current health executives, it is about creating a connected, seamless experience that meets today’s consumers where they are. By harnessing customer data and backing it with a clear digital strategy, your system can stay competitive and provide better care throughout the entire customer journey.

In this virtual event, Aaron Conant sits down with Tom Hileman, President at Hileman Group, Al Zinkand, Director at Baylor Scott & White Health, Craig Kartchner, AVP of Marketing and Customer Experience at HonorHealth, and Brian Gresh, President at Loyal. They discuss the customer-centric and organizational elements of digital transformation for health systems and how to create a successful, long-term digital strategy. 


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

  • The rising opportunities for digital transformation in the health sector 
  • The role of organizations in leading digital transformation within the healthcare industry 
  • Harnessing customer data, relationships, and breadth of services for a competitive edge 
  • Choosing the right tools and platforms to drive your digital strategy 
  • The pros and cons of integrating a pilot program
  • Why it’s important to build relationships between your marketing and digital teams
  • Who’s the beneficiary of digital transformation in healthcare?
  • Assessing your digital positioning and where to begin your transformation
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Event Partners

Global Prairie

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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.

Al Zinkand LinkedIn

Director at Baylor Scott & White Health

Al Zinkand is the Director of the Operational Excellence Portfolio at Baylor Scott & White Health (BSWH), the largest not-for-profit healthcare system in Texas. Al has two missions at BSWH: personalizing omnichannel journeys to make customers feel known and letting clinicians prioritize patient care by outsourcing administrative tasks to a digital workforce. He has served four out of the nation’s five largest healthcare provider organizations and previously worked as a Manager at Deloitte.

Kartchner Craig

Craig Kartchner

AVP of Marketing and Customer Experience at HonorHealth

Craig Kartchner is the AVP of Marketing and Customer Experience at HonorHealth, a healthcare organization that is on a mission to ensure everyone has access to quality care. His focus has been on improving the customer experience, building HonorHealth’s brand among all its audiences, and growing the business through data-centric marketing. Craig is a highly accomplished market leader and served as the Senior Director of Marketing for Intermountain Healthcare before joining HonorHealth.

Brian Gresh

Brian Gresh

President, Loyal

Brian Gresh is the President of Loyal, a company that delivers end-to-end digital and AI-powered solutions for health systems and hospitals. Brian has 20 years of experience as a healthcare marketing executive, and he enjoys solving marketing and communication challenges by leveraging technology and putting user experience first. Prior to his work at Loyal, he was the Senior Director of Interactive Marketing at the University of Utah Health.

Tom Hileman LinkedIn

Managing Partner, Digital at Global Prairie

Tom Hileman is the Managing Partner of Digital at Global Prairie, an award-winning digital marketing agency that delivers high-touch, data-driven marketing solutions for leading healthcare organizations nationwide. With more than 25 years of multi-industry experience, he leverages strategic insights, measurable engagement tactics and technology to drive business growth and success. Tom has spoken at HCIC, HMPS, World Congress, SHSMD, Adobe, and other healthcare and technology events.

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.

Al Zinkand LinkedIn

Director at Baylor Scott & White Health

Al Zinkand is the Director of the Operational Excellence Portfolio at Baylor Scott & White Health (BSWH), the largest not-for-profit healthcare system in Texas. Al has two missions at BSWH: personalizing omnichannel journeys to make customers feel known and letting clinicians prioritize patient care by outsourcing administrative tasks to a digital workforce. He has served four out of the nation’s five largest healthcare provider organizations and previously worked as a Manager at Deloitte.

Kartchner Craig

Craig Kartchner

AVP of Marketing and Customer Experience at HonorHealth

Craig Kartchner is the AVP of Marketing and Customer Experience at HonorHealth, a healthcare organization that is on a mission to ensure everyone has access to quality care. His focus has been on improving the customer experience, building HonorHealth’s brand among all its audiences, and growing the business through data-centric marketing. Craig is a highly accomplished market leader and served as the Senior Director of Marketing for Intermountain Healthcare before joining HonorHealth.

Brian Gresh

Brian Gresh

President, Loyal

Brian Gresh is the President of Loyal, a company that delivers end-to-end digital and AI-powered solutions for health systems and hospitals. Brian has 20 years of experience as a healthcare marketing executive, and he enjoys solving marketing and communication challenges by leveraging technology and putting user experience first. Prior to his work at Loyal, he was the Senior Director of Interactive Marketing at the University of Utah Health.

Tom Hileman LinkedIn

Managing Partner, Digital at Global Prairie

Tom Hileman is the Managing Partner of Digital at Global Prairie, an award-winning digital marketing agency that delivers high-touch, data-driven marketing solutions for leading healthcare organizations nationwide. With more than 25 years of multi-industry experience, he leverages strategic insights, measurable engagement tactics and technology to drive business growth and success. Tom has spoken at HCIC, HMPS, World Congress, SHSMD, Adobe, and other healthcare and technology events.

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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 Friday 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 with 1000s of organizations who do exactly that. We networking knowledge share, to stay on top of the newest trends, strategies, pain points, whatever it is that shaping industries today, and allow that plays right now in the digital space as a whole. I talk with 25 to 35 organizations each week to stay on top of trends. And when the same ones come up over and over again. That's how we get the topics for these calls. And so just a couple of housekeeping items as we get started. The first one is we're starting three to four minutes after the hour. And as you know, we're going to try to wrap up with three to four minutes to go in the hours. Well, just you know, you have plenty of time to get on to your next meeting without being late. The other thing is we want it to be as educational and informational as possible. So if you have any questions, comments, you can drop into the chat the q&a or you can always email them to me So you kind of kick off the conversation here, navigating digital transformation for health systems. You know, this idea of digital transformation has been around for years now. It was almost just kind of thrown around a lot of companies that I'm talking with. But the action behind it is people have been trying to figure out really what does that mean as a whole. And they're starting to find out now it's not just throwing a new tech at it, right. It's kind of organizationally as a whole. They have to adopt and change. And so we got some great friends, partners, supporters of the network for years now over the Holman group with Tom Hileman. Tom, I'm gonna kick it over to you, if you wanna do a brief intro on yourself and the company that would be awesome. And then we can kind of go around the horn sound good.

Tom Hileman  1:52

Thanks, Aaron. I appreciate it. Tom Hileman with Hileman Group, we're a healthcare marketing and technology agency focused on helping health systems connect with patients and brand providers. So then Aaron, thanks and digital transformations. It's a very big word, right. So depending on who you're asking, it can be encompassing for the entire enterprise, across both clinical operations, and they actually will see the patient and provider communication side of things. I think today will focus more narrowly a little bit around them, the marketing, communications and technology side, and how we engage our patients into discussions today. But really, the way I look at it for healthcare is its digital transformation is kind of optimizing the customer experience or patient experience and their interactions with the healthcare system. And obviously, that well versus a lot of martec to get that martec contents and quite meant quite honestly a lot of change management as well, in terms of other processes in the operations work. So thank you. Now, minor edition yourself.

Al Zinkand  2:56

Sure. I'm Al Zinkand from Baylor Scott & White Health Director of the Operational Excellence portfolio, which includes precision digital marketing, some digital care journeys and consumer navigation, and then some kind of hospital apps back end stuff.

Craig Kartchner  3:11

Great. Thanks. So I'm Craig Kartchner. I'm with HonorHealth, which is a health system in Scottsdale, Arizona, six Hospital Health System in Scottsdale, Arizona. So I work on marketing and branding, advertising and customer experience. So let's kick it off to Brian.

Brian Gresh  3:32

I think I'm gonna wrap it up. So my name is Brian Gresh. I'm with Loyal. We're a digital health platform company based out of Atlanta, we focus on helping health systems really better understand and better understand their customers and really focus on the patient or the customer experience through a variety of omni channel tools, and then really focusing on the analytics on the background to help help those enterprises better understand their customers. That's That's me, I think. I think that's everyone. Right. I'll pass it on back.

Aaron Conant  4:10

Yeah, it is. I think it's a great way to kick off the conversation. And yes, feel free to jump in. You know, it's kind of like this fireside chat, but others if you have questions, drop them the chat the q&a, or email them to me, But just kind of kick it off. Like you were saying at the beginning. Like it means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. You know, Tom, what is your take on the topic as a whole, you know, as your team and organization like view it I know, you're just dealing with so many different organizations as a whole. It's nice to kind of get that overarching view. And we can kind of bounce around with some of it as well.

Tom Hileman  4:44

I mean, we view digital transformation really is an opportunity for health systems got to rethink the way they engage with patients and today patients really want a variety what I call the touch levels, from touchless to millennials who want to have their entire engaged Get through apps and digital, whether it's web, whether it's social, whether it's the app side of things to other folks who want to have a mixed mode, where they want their in person visits as well. And they want those to be seamless, and also as touch free as possible, given the COVID and things like that, right? So we have an opportunity now as consumer mindsets have changed around technology and adoption has been sky high with things like telehealth to really rework our entire customer experience. And I think that's where we focus in our work with health systems is really looking at that customer experience and that journey, and then how do we meet people where they are, and with a very personalized, and I think Al, that's one of the things I was I was precision approach, right. So precision medicine, Precision Marketing here in terms of communicating with folks where they are, when they are with the right message for where they are in the customer journey. That's kind of our angle on it.

Aaron Conant  5:49

Craig, we'd love to hear your thoughts here as well, how are you guys like viewing? Because I think it's that, you know, I don't know if it's the first step or if we've all done a bunch of first steps. And now like second step is tie it all together. I'd love to hear your kind of your thoughts how you view it.

Craig Kartchner  6:05

Yeah, you know, when we first started talking about it, it was we talked about it in terms of digital front door, DSD. And that's, I know what the sexy term for a long time, I think it still is in vogue and a lot of places, but I never liked the term because it negates so much of the experience, just getting them in the door, it seems a little too marketing centric, like there's no front door, let's get him in this door. And then whatever happens, it doesn't matter. When in fact, we need to create that connected health experience where the entire journey across from before they even know they need care all the way until well, after they leave our doors, they have a connected, seamless experience that is as easy and convenient as possible, and anticipates their needs. So we think of it in terms of connected care. And the other aspect is that it's not just for the patient and the customer that you really need to create that same seamless experience for the caregivers for the clinician, or you won't be able to deliver it for the patients. So it's at least those two views of the caregiver and the patient and probably a lot of the ancillary team as well.

Aaron Conant  7:15

Yeah, no, I agree. I mean, they, it seems like there's like huge focus, though, on the patient at the beginning. But in reality, the back end, right, the organization has to be able to deal with it. And I think that's some of the major changes that have been taking place, you know, from an organizational I'd love to hear like and the organizational standpoint, like, is there different training that's going on? Where do you start? Where does the education and then who leads it?

Al Zinkand  7:41

We're actually there training going on? Yes, is the short answer, we are actually starting to spread the sort of agile approach from digital to operational areas. So we've been able to enable a lot of our digital transformation by getting operators to start to think in Sprint's and in pods or squads, whatever you want to call them. But our agile squads are no longer technical focus, we want to have represented representatives from surgical or marketing or whatever operational area, we're impacting in that squad with us. And everybody's using the same approach.

Aaron Conant  8:17

Yeah, Brian, love to hear your thoughts here as well, then, you know, I'd love to hear Tom's in the back end as well, from an organizational side, then others dropping questions, is it as you see fit? Yeah,

Brian Gresh  8:29

I think, you know, Craig kind of started with this, you know, around the digital front door terminology. I think if you if you look at the way the term, digital has been used inside of healthcare organizations, it really started, I think, in the marketing function, that there was really this focus on digital marketing and using digital tools to connect and understand customers. And it was really more on that demand generation side. But it's really expanded across the organization, you know, its digital access, its digital health and the clinical areas. And so it's been kind of spread across the organization. But I think now, the both the challenge and the opportunity is, how do you take all those different digital touchpoints and connect them together, so that all of the stakeholders across the organization have kind of that singular view of the patient or the customer kind of depending on where they are in their journey? And I think that's been that's been the biggest challenge, right? There's, there's a lot of great digital tools out there. And, and a lot of them don't talk to each other. So you know, I think the next big push on this is going to be for when we talk about transformation is it's really transforming it into a singular experience and seen it in a new way.

Al Zinkand  9:52

Brian, I'm going to tack onto that. I think honestly, there's a mindset mindset shift that needs to happen to it. Um, if healthcare is I think somebody use the term paternalistic on our team once, right? We know what's better for you. Just listen to us, we're doctors. And there's a shift coming where are our competitors are not so much the other hospital systems anymore. But people like Amazon right now are starting to get in the area, and they will carve out meaningful parts of our market, if we're not able to shift to a consumer journey instead of individual digital point solutions, like you're talking about. I agree. I mean, I think

Tom Hileman  10:32

I was gonna say I was gonna, yeah, I was just gonna say, yeah, it's, it's really a partnership, right. And I think the paternalistic view is to come in to be a partner in your own health and, and your own health journey. Specifically, when we have home health care and retail health care options, as well, as is kind of where you're going there. I think that's just critical. It's a mindset, like the outlets, but let's be the trusted adviser. And I think physicians, clinicians can fill that extremely well with their history and what they've done. So I think that's one mindset. And they also think the other mindset, I think, where Brian was going a little bit, too is, is application integration. But there's really true data data understanding, like enterprise data, and that actually knowing the customer, all aspects of them, how they interact with your health system, demographics psychographics. we're uniquely positioned in healthcare. I think that'd be a great conversation for us to chat on a little bit, too is where are we all taking that next data being the next level of oil, right, in terms of how do we best serve our customers?

Craig Kartchner  11:34

Tom, I think first off, you're totally right in terms of measurement, knowing your customer knowing their pain points, how can you understand where to focus, if you don't understand where the pain points are, and delight points are to replicate those delight points. Spot on, we do a lot of journey mapping that on our health to try to understand what our customers want. In fact, we came up, we brainstormed a bunch of ideas to solve problems that came out in these in this journey mapping and then went back to online panels to have them help prioritize. And we came up with some really surprising results like people weren't in as in love with telehealth as we thought they were even on demand options for telehealth, it wasn't as sexy as we thought it would be. That was a little surprising. There are a handful of other surprises. So I think you're spot on with the the measurement element that you mentioned. Another thing that I think is kind of interesting is if you think about what we have in traditional health care providers, hospitals, and clinics and provider systems, right, what we have versus Amazon, Villa gente, some of these upstarts that have to have the culture to to innovate quickly, and to use technology in a really brilliant way. What they don't have that I think we need to leverage is the breadth of services, and the relationships. So we have to really lean into the relationships, the long term relationships with patients. And then the breadth of services, we have to make it seamless that pass off from from place to place in the navigation of care throughout the entire continuum, have to make that seamless, because that's what we have versus what the Amazon and Walmart healthcare sell. Yet, I think it's

Aaron Conant  13:22

I think it's also because what is the year right, Amazon that it comes in, they almost have the blueprint for it, right? Because if you think about it from an Amazon standpoint, there, they know, I have so much data to your point, I only have so much data around you that everybody thinks of that search algorithm is, you know, the standard one, but the search algorithm functions different for everybody based on your past search habits. And what is giving you is the best product for you that you're most likely to buy in the least amount of time. Right. And you know, it's just Craig, what you're saying is it hit me it's like, yes, they have the blueprint. Well, what they don't have, which makes Amazon very successful is The Everything Store. Right. But they don't have everything and healthcare today. And the healthcare organizations, they they have the full selection. Right? They always within there's the blueprint out there, but it takes data time. To your point, it takes the data. How are people gathering that today? No,

Tom Hileman  14:15

I think competitively. The tournament, I think was a question that may have popped in there. And I caught up briefly on the screen, how hard

Aaron Conant  14:22

would it be for Amazon to obtain what we have?

Tom Hileman  14:25

So the good news is, I think really difficult because what they don't have, I think, Craig, this is where you were going. This is the weapon that we can all use in all of our health systems. They don't have specialty care, right? So really, they have primary care, and maybe they'll have a little bit they might have ortho or they may have some of the urgent side of that but they're not real. They're not really going to have oncology right or neuro or digestive diseases are the driving that Craig is recalling at the breadth of services. Right? So our bill now we have to be we our challenge is to make that unified and not look like we're just passing people along referral, referral referral, right. And navigation, patient navigation, I think was a key piece of that. But I think that's the moat, right? Because if you need anything beyond primary care is going to be incredibly difficult. What's Walmart going to do put an MRI machine in every in every building? Right? And how would they possibly get utilization on that? To make that even cost effective? Right? So there's, there's I think there's the moat is the real the relationships Craig talked about. And I think the trust in that because people don't necessarily trust the online providers. Right? If you look at the data, look at Facebook, and Amazon's level of trust is not very high compared to provide to people, clinicians, physicians, nurses, and health care organizations. So I think we have a trust aspect. And we also have a moat, when it comes to the deeper levels of specialty care.

Brian Gresh  15:53

Yeah, I want to jump in on the Amazon piece for a second. So I actually get I get really frustrated when I hear inside of health systems, like we need to be more like Amazon. Because I think what Amazon does does is pretty easy when it comes to their customers. I mean, when you have access to all the data on your customers, and you can use it at will, it's I think it's pretty easy right to determine what people want when they want it. But but you know, and I think this is where you were going a little bit Tom is like, you know, healthcare is really unique the relationship with a patient, there's a different trust factor there. There's the privacy aspect, there's that that very kind of intimate relationship that happens between clinicians and their patients. And I think the way you have to handle that journey is very different. So I think you can take some kind of examples and best practices in from the from, like the digital tool set from a company like an Amazon. But I think the way you apply it in healthcare has to be very, very unique and very different. I think the way we use data and healthcare has to be different. Clearly, you can't just tap into the EMR and use anything you want. There's there's a lot of of different factors that go into it. But at the end of the day, I think where healthcare has to, you know, get to, that Amazon understands is that patients customers, they understand how to use digital tools, and you have to align with them on that. So you can't just make it a phone call, you can't just make it the in person visit. You've got to accept that they're way more savvy than we give them credit for and and think about that is in the relationship. So sorry, I'm on my soapbox for a minute at all. I'll hand it back. No,

Craig Kartchner  17:54

it's a good. It's a good soapbox brand. And I totally agree. Aaron, how hard is it to share screen? Can I share screen? Or is that not that hard to do?

Aaron Conant  18:01

Oh no, I in this video, I'm a very you

Craig Kartchner  18:05

should be a good I have this. I have this graph that kind of captures one way I look at it. So when you're talking about this actually was animated, but I didn't want to take the time to animate. So when you're talking about this area where patient volumes are really high, but severe severity or acuity is low. So this is your urgent care, easy stuff, right? The customer is just focused on convenience. They're not doing research, they don't really they just want to get in out and on their way. So that we focus on simplifying and because we have the breadth of services and the relationships, it doesn't mean that we can just ignore convenience out we got them we got their loyalty. Who cares about convenience? No, we need to really treat them like customers, meaning we have to earn their business every time on that low hanging. easy, convenient stuff, right? We definitely have to transform to do that. But on the higher side, this is the thing, it's harder for Amazon to get into. When the severity and acuity is high and patient volumes are low open heart surgery hailer really technical stuff, the customer is willing to research. So we've got to focus on transparency, we've got to focus on seamlessness on transitions of care. And if we can do that, if we can do both sides of this, then we can take maintain that relationship and we stand a chance to compete with the Amazons. There's one other thing that that triggered in my brain that happened to be in the same presentation, and that we find ourselves in the middle of think of ice cream, right? The traditional healthcare providers were like your run of the mill ice cream dryers right? And we're getting picked off from the low end, low margin quick convenient type of stuff, the great value brands, but also from the margin, high margin niche brands like the you know, keto ones and haloed Top. And so the the analogy is that traditional player HonorHealth, there are a lot of specialty centers out there that are taking the high margin high acuity stuff, right? Some of its even cash based. And the minute clinics of the world and the village Indies and whatnot are taking the low end. So we're being squeezed. And if we don't pay attention to that x graph, the elements of this x graph, and we're going to be squeezed right out of business.

Aaron Conant  20:29

To go down, jump in, they'll say you're gonna say something,

Tom Hileman  20:35

oh, that was all great. I mean, Al you guys are doing a lot of work, understanding your customers and kind of really honing in on that precision journey, I think that might be some good aspects to share here as well.

Al Zinkand  20:47

Yeah, we've got about it a couple of ways. The first was just a really long journey of surveys with our consumers. And what we've found is, if you look at all the problems across the healthcare continuum, you'll drive yourself crazy trying to solve them all. So the better part of valor is picking the ones that really matter. So we have done a great deal of research on moments that matter and understanding which ones will influence people's decision to switch health systems. And that's what we're targeting digitally. As far as how we're understanding the behavior, we've done a lot of work, particularly with how elements help to embed personalization within our marketing journeys, not just putting the name at the top of the email, but segmenting our customers by data based on demographics and behavioral and then starting to customize the content that they receive in nurture email campaigns, for example, to who they are to the conditions that they have, etc. And with Alan's help, it's it's turning out some pretty great results are waiting the search game very effectively. The next piece is conversion, and then understanding loyalty. And to your point, Craig retention, that's how we see ourselves avoiding the squeeze.

Aaron Conant  22:00

One thing I want to jump in on is around all the different providers that are out there, right, there's a ton of tools and platforms, especially over the past two years, that have just been dumped onto the the industry as a whole, like Tom, a, just because I know you deal with a lot different organizations, how you shift through, okay, you know, our sift through a these guys work these guys don't, I guess we're all inundated every day, right? With the, you know, the next best, you know, thing to sliced bread with

Tom Hileman  22:34

silver bullets, right? They're there. They're supposedly everywhere. And I think one of the hardest jobs that we have to do is kind of sort through the noise and find out what what's real. So when I look at what I think about it, there are tons of tools in the space. And Brian, I think, is uniquely positioned to talk about some of that, given what him and his team do. But I think it's always because I'm a coffee guy. So begin with the end in mind, like what are we trying to achieve as an organization? And then what what are the things that we need to do that, and typically, Iran revolves around some pretty core things people, right, we need to meet, we need people to change and do things that help the organization, the process that we take, the technology that we have is one piece of it, and then the data. And I really think that if you look at those kind of four axes, and you have good clear vision, and I think Greg showed some of that in terms of where do we play? And where don't we play, right? And when, with the moments that matter, interesting moments is what I like to call them, right? Where Where can we make it meaningfully make a difference? Because the world's too big to solve everything, at least yet. So we'll see. Maybe they will get there eventually. Who knows? So that's kind of how I look at one of the organization's objectives, right? And then where can we find where can we make a meaningful difference? Where can we matter, and then the tools really play into what's the tool set that will help us achieve those goals, and play well with others. So I think that's kind of how I look at it. And then you can do if you know what your objectives are, and you know what you have today in terms of data integration, or operability, then you can kind of see whether that that tool is really going to give you a lift, and then test and measure it. And make sure it does run a pilot, I love pilots, because let's prove it before we go and invest lots of money. Let's pilot it out and see if we can see where the lift is gonna come from Brian in the, this conversation every day, in your kind of the other side of it from a platform perspective. But how do you look at it? Yeah, I

Brian Gresh  24:27

mean, I think one first, I completely agree with you. There's lots of there's lots of tools out there, and some are great, some aren't. But ultimately, I think regardless of the tool, you have to have a strategy first, right? So knowing knowing why you're going to use this tool and thinking about what you want the outcome to be. Measure, obviously everything but, you know, the tools themselves aren't going to be determining the success. It's going to be the strategy, it's going to be making sure you have the right state Take holders aligned around that strategy. Governance, you know, I mean, health care systems, everyone knows it's, you know, I'm preaching to the choir, they're complicated, they're, they're complex, you have to do the work upfront to make sure that when you launch any piece of technology, that it fits into the organization, because, you know, we see it all the time, you know, lots of point solutions being used by various departments, sometimes you have, you know, redundancy across different parts of the organization. And that's never successful. So I, you know, to me, it's really about putting that, putting that bigger piece in place, and then applying the technology over it, so that you can map out your success, and you can determine when you need to adjust as well. I feel a little bit different differently about PILOTs, I think, some pilots are okay, but for a lot of technology to work, you've got to be able to go go long term, right? There's, there's a lot of a lot of technology, that's it's not going to be successful in two months or three months, like you've got to build the foundational piece with the data and the back end stuff, you've got to be able to adjust a bit along the way. And so, you know, if the pilot can be a little bit longer than I guess I would support it. But but you know, I think all of those things have to come together to make it successful. And Craig, I'd love or, you know, I'd love everyone else's opinion on that, too.

Craig Kartchner  26:32

Well, I'm glad you brought up the pilot situations, Brian, because I was about to jump in with that exact point. And I would love your thoughts, especially, from the provider side, your thoughts on pilots, it seems like it takes so long to integrate, not just to get through the supply chain process that onboard content for that short can be a chore in and of itself. But how do you integrate it with all the systems in a short enough time to call it a pilot and get meaningful data to then make a longer term decision?

Al Zinkand  27:06

Honestly, that's, that's really tough. And I think there's the, it depends on what you call a pilot of highlight realistically is, is six months, if you're taking on something worth chasing. Yeah, to your point, you're gonna spend 90 days integrating data and then 90 days figuring out if you've hit your operational metrics before you want to go forward. So you got to just kind of take your lumps on that one biggest thing, at least that that we've seen is transitioning from pilot to operations, that's actually or to normal state. That's where things go wrong the most. Because usually what happens is you have a lot of really good digital and tech involvement in the pilot. And the operational teams can sometimes see that as a crutch where they don't necessarily learn the skills they need to optimize the campaign or whatever you're doing once it's running. So we've made a really big push and making sure that our analytics are self explanatory, and it doesn't take a PhD in Google to understand how to optimize specific digital campaigns,

Craig Kartchner  28:05

specifically in marketing. I know another thing I'd love you're going right, sorry. Go ahead. So another thing I'd love your your thoughts on is kind of an extension of that. We've gone through Alva same process that you mentioned. And we find that as we operationalize it, initially, we have great pickup people are doing that the, you know, front desk staff and others are doing exactly what they need to do. They're looking at the metrics, but then it always slides up, we have this level of recidivism, you know, and then people stop doing it the way that that makes sense. They stopped looking at the data, etc. And it's just this constant spinning of plates, getting people back up and trained and committed and they slide back. Have you found any way to avoid that recidivism?

Al Zinkand  28:52

Shameless bribery of our marketing team. So digital and marketing event dealers are incredibly closely connected. And that is how we've been able to have continuity. So our Chief Digital Officer and our chief marketing officer kind of make it a point that if anyone on boards in either area, they need to be cross trained, and they need to be able to understand what their predecessors were doing, particularly in the staff staffing or talent environment that we have right now is the only thing in country worse than the housing market. You've got to make sure that the new people who come on are connected to the mission that the of the of their predecessors

Craig Kartchner  29:27

here you're about to say something I interrupted you.

Tom Hileman  29:34

No problem. That was that was a good. The recidivism is quite a question losing the momentum, right in terms of sometimes it's the shiny new object or the or the pilot that goes like it's you got the energy for it, but then it's kind of like maintenance versus the new build, right? People like to people like to build the house or buy the paint walls, but no one wants to paint it again or touch it up a little bit later. So it's a little bit of a human aspect to it. Yeah, and I agree if you're doing foundational stuff, Brian, we're talking about you really can't pilot, right? Sometimes you got to make big buckets, and do the research upfront, and then make the call and make the investment. I think you've got a good stack in place and a good understanding of the data, I think then you can make much more informed decisions and having that strategy approach. One thing we've seen great success with, though, and I think we talked out and Craig talked about was the metrics, the health systems that were really successful once we take those metrics, and we get finance to agree to them. So things like contribution margin, how we're calculating ROI. Where we've seen real success is when the organization believes those numbers and the finance people support that, that way, when the information is not the Google PhD, like I'll set, but it's really clear business metrics. And they've approved those, the way we do the measurement and check that. So we found that our healthcare, marketing and comms and tackle areas can get a lot more reach and a lot more access to budget, when they've kind of proven the business metrics. So I don't know if you all didn't send more things in your systems, but that we've seen real great success with our clients there.

Al Zinkand  31:13

Yeah, we live with a lot of help from Hileman. So Tom has on my thanks to Kyle, he's amazing. But with a lot of help from him, and we went through the painful exercise of connecting contribution margin for both joint ventures and polio to manage all the way back to the keyword that actually brought that person in. So we can now sort by our keywords and say, You know what, that one is a two to one ROI. Keep it in that one, we haven't gotten any nonprofit. And we were really lucky. That's been incredibly efficient in our digital marketing spending.

Aaron Conant  31:47

Yeah, super interesting, too. I mean, you know, Tom, I'm thinking also like, buy in as well, right? When you've got finance and everybody on board, and they've had an act of hand and blessing something or a new tack, or, you know, a new strategy, they're on board than to they literally bless it. And at that point in time, yeah, you can be held accountable. But if we believe in it, then yeah, we're gonna willing to give it a try. You know, super injuries, but that it's, I mean, if we think about, like, organizational change, as well, where does that we talked a little bit about, you know, hey, there's the Hey, this is awesome new tool, and I don't do it, hey, is awesome new tool, I'll do it. But we're like, what's the starting point on a culture, I think, is a big part of it. Right? That before you even start onboarding, or you start your digital transformation journey, which is another question of where how do people know where they're at on the continuum? You know, you know, we can kind of like, balanced this one around as well. But you know, how do you start training the staff, right, because we can think about the customer, customer customer all day long. But you have to be able to execute the plan and the strategy internally, and they have to be on board. And you know, I think you're saying a little bit about the culture there as well, when you bring in a new person on.

Al Zinkand  33:03

Yeah, honestly. Grabbing a beer after work gets harder in the COVID age, but it's still one of the most valuable things you can do. We this is probably true. I have heard rumors that have only been failing for about two and a half years. And I've heard rumors that prior to that time, the relationship between digital and marketing was sometimes contentious. And we have worked really hard to make those two teams feel like one family and gotten the dividends out of it. Honestly, there are several firms out there who do trainings on how to operate and build shelter in a remote environment, completely worth the investment. Be friends with your marketing buddies.

Craig Kartchner  33:46

You know, I think that's totally true. And then Thankfully, it seems like maybe the pandemic is not over. But it's getting to the point where we can share a beer and build those relationships because it does come down to people in relationships in the end. Another thing is, that I'd like to point out is this is like the oldest tenant of marketing ever. But I found when we first started doing some of these digital transformations, I was browbeating people with data and I didn't realize it was coming off that way. But it was from our journey mapping and a lot of our market research. I was just browbeating care team saying look at what your your patients are saying this and look at this data here your pain points here and here and disappointed here and you're losing market share and and it came off as just an assault, even though I didn't mean it to be that way. And even to the point where I they thought they perceived that I was saying that you're not patient centric. You're not focused on patients and their thinking the doctor looked at me like what sort of idiot are you? We focus on the patients every day all day. We're always worried about their health and how to heal them. Who were you to come in and tell us that it was kind of that that exchange, and so I had to change my time. Back, even though I did not intend for it to come off that way, it's more about setting the vision, if you want to share data certainly have to be data centric, but you've also got to share the positive stories. It's a lot. It's about storytelling. It's about literally bringing patients in to talk about this incredible experience they had and why and, and recognize people and tell those stories, that helps you sell that vision. So you're not entirely datacenter can come off as a really offensive robot.

Brian Gresh  35:32

Yeah, I think, you know, what you're saying, Craig to about, you know, the clinicians thinking about their piece of the journey, right. They, they're, they're doing a good job with that relationship. And I think where we still have a lot of work to do. And this is what I think about digital Trent, or how I think about digital transformation is, again, connecting all those individual journeys, right. So, you know, the billing department, they're managing a relationship with the patient, at that moment in their journey, and they think they're doing a really good job. Marketing has traditionally focused on the front door, bringing new patients in right thinking about that aspect of the journey. There's the clinical space, there's the post care experience, you know, that's been patient experience, and cat surveys and those kinds of things. And I think all of those individual areas, all meet all mean well, and are all doing the best that they can do. But we have to start thinking about how we impact each of those areas. And how do we bring those together? Where are the connectors, and it goes back to that underlying data. And then the data that you're feeding in, as you as you connect with those patients and customers. So I think that's when we when we think about where the next kind of phase of digital is, I think it's connecting all those dots, I think it's you know, now we actually can tap into the EMR, interoperability is real, like, like the people who, you know, still use that as an excuse for for not, not being able to move forward. They're going to be left behind. We can tap into data sources, we can connect these things we can integrate. And that's that's where I think digital transformation is going to be taking us. No agreement is it's that

Aaron Conant  37:26

idea that there's so much data out there. And there's now the tech platforms to handle into crunch it into advice and help make decisions where you'd have to throw a data scientist at it for hours on end. And by the time you get through it. You know, it's just that I don't know, those tools have finally arrived over the past couple years, I think we've gotten to the point where we got some things that are really, really reliable. I also have a question that came in. It says one of the questions is who is the beneficiary of the digital transformation, you know, a new system such as Amazon, it looks like they're employees in the level of preventative maintenance, medical care, when it's urgent, serious, expensive, prolonged period, etc. How fast the referral system is, insurance coverage, patients will be able to get the medical treatment in timely manners. Hey, there's just a ton of their stuff. So I want to go back to the core question, you know, who do you see as the benefit beneficiary of the digital transformation? Right? I mean, it is the healthcare system, but seems to me like it should mainly be focused on developing it for the consumer, the customer,

Tom Hileman  38:35

I think it was. I'll jump in, I think it's everybody, right? So and I use the triad there, the health system, certainly benefit benefits by transforming from an efficiency perspective. And hopefully, loyalty retention is where I was going there, the patients should benefit because it should be easier to interact and get the care that they need and they desire. In quite frankly, I mean, they've individual from the caregivers, like if we really want to have a virtuous circle that's really going to be maintainable long term. We need the caregivers to win, we need the patients to win and we have the system to win, right? And but subsequently society, right? If we're more healthy individually, we're better collectively as a society. So I think that doesn't always work that way. Because there's certain areas where I billing, sometimes it's was just an efficiency play to make it easier for the patient. Right, the system may not win a lot there to make that to the investment there may just be neutral. But in general, if we're really, if we're really doing our job transforming digitally, then everybody's winning because it's easier for the patients. It's easier for it's easier, more efficient for the health system and the and the caregivers can do it focus their time on what they love to do and do really well to Brian's point, which is taking care of patients. Almost no one has a bad caregiver experience. There's a few right, but most of the times that that's not what you see what you see is the touch points across the enterprise don't don't pay off The individual ones maybe just fine, but the collective experience maybe in the pool is typically the poor

Craig Kartchner  40:05

thing that we see. You know, I think it's interesting that the I totally agree, Tom, I think it's interesting that we there three departments, at least three areas to focus on the transitions of care for very good reason, the quality folks, they know that if there is an error in care, that's going to diminish the clinical outcome, quality is going to be likely in the transitions of care, it's when you switch from shift change from one care team to a different care team, it's when you go from ICU to the step down, and so on, that's when those errors tend to occur. It's also when you have financial issues, right. And when you run into errors with billing, you're involving maybe a different provider who is not employed by the system, and therefore there's some billing challenges there. It's the same with customer experiences, it's the integrations we've been talking about, the times when the experience is poor is usually in the transition, it's going from the primary care to the specialty, or it's going from the digital scheduling to the, you know, the specialty care where there is no digital scheduling, or getting your lab results in a different fashion from a different provider. It's almost transitions. So that shows you that if we can solve the the make it more seamless. So all those issues in the transition, we're going to be more efficient financially, we're going to have better clinical quality outcomes, and the patient experiences you're gonna go up. So Tom, you're totally right. Everyone benefits if we can do it the right way. How do people

Aaron Conant  41:38

know? How do people know where the quick where they're at? Like, on the everybody wants to rate themselves? Right? They want to know, hey, am I with the pack? Am I behind the pack? Am I ahead of the pack? Like Tom? Like, is there? How do you approach that assessment?

Tom Hileman  41:56

Well, that was always the question is what behind the pack? Were right. So almost all health systems are in different levels, they're doing certain things really well, certain things not so well. And a lot of stuff in the middle. Right? So the hardware? And the that's a hard question to answer, unless you can deal with some specificity about about like, what it what are we trying to improve? Or where do we see it? Usually, where we start is the current state analysis. And it typically looks at people process, technology, data, all those things put together. And kind of assess the baselines for what how people are operating the day. Some of that has to be fairly general, because systems are different, right? And so the health systems do different things, different ways. But I think that's typically where we start is a real honest, current state, like how well are we serving our customer, right? And then let's go through the journey, right. And that mapping of Journey is, is really, really pretty, pretty insightful, right? If you see outpatient, if you start to model a few of those folks going across the system, you can see your heart your areas of heartburn pretty quickly. And I think two back pieces of that one, there's the Craig Venter this, there's data. And so there's storytelling, and I'd become more of a storyteller. The older I get and less of a data person, even though I got all the facts and figures and if the vascular surgeon rolls up, and we go into the data all the way to as far as we go, right? The clinicians tend to be scientists, and they think like that way. But I really think Aaron, when you look at you got to look at a baseline of what are you doing today and a map out. So we start with the martech. We start with the data, start with the organizational structure, and then the people process. And we look at aspects of each one of those to kind of help people score where they are. And then we have some models for what the future state could be. Right? So what's an ideal kind of outcome? Where do you want to be given what your strategy is to Brian's point and objectives, and then map out a plan that's kind of our current state future state gap analysis. And then we put a plan together from that this is a pretty standard way to kind of approach those those problems.

Brian Gresh  44:13

Awesome. Awesome. Love it.

Aaron Conant  44:15

So we got about nine minutes left here. Are there key topics, you know that that come up routinely? And I'll kick it to you, Tom, first, I know you deal with so many different people, like key things that you thought you know, would come up today that didn't or that come up routinely? And we'll kind of like address them just going around the horn here.

Tom Hileman  44:35

Yeah, I mean, to me is the digital transformation and how to where do you start is always a question I get so I'd be really interested to hear Brian when you're looking when people come to you because they come to you looking for tools probably in platforms to address digital transformation. What do you hear what's what's the thing you hear about how do we start kind of things?

Brian Gresh  44:54

Yeah, it's, I think, what we don't hear. I'll start I'll actually to flip the question around, what we don't hear is what I think we need to hear more of, which is, it's the conversation around data. I think a lot of folks like to jump to the shiny object or to, or to the engagement piece right away, without thinking about kind of the underlying foundation of how you fuel those conversations, those interactions. And there's a lot of systems that, you know, once we dig in, they already do have some of that foundational stuff. But But I think that's a really important piece of the of digital transformation is like getting your house in order, understanding your data, it's, you know, data has to be clean, it has to be, you know, seamless across the organization. And, and that's a process and it's a hard one. And then the other, the other thing that I think is just maybe to add to that, that I think is really happening in this digital transformation world we're living in, is trying to figure out who, who's in charge of digital transformation. There's, there's so many new players in at the table now. Right? You know, going back, I think I said early on, like, you know, kind of came out of marketing just taught the Word digital and talking about digital. But, you know, there's a lot of people that want to participate, there's people from the clinical background chief medical information officers, and transformation officers, and marketing officer, and there's all these people at the table. And I think it's really important to understand who's responsible for what, because if you don't know that inside the organization, then the patients aren't going to know it, they're not going to know, you know, where to go, what to do, how to do it. So I think those things have to come together, for to make it successful.

Al Zinkand  46:56

Closely related corollary, Brian, is that you cannot do the digital transformation in silo, digital, in my opinion, at least excels at creating opportunities to interact with the patients. But if you don't have access sorted out, and if you don't have the clinical capacity to support those interactions, all you're doing is creating opportunities for those patients to go to your competitors. Couldn't agree more?

Aaron Conant  47:22

I mean, for the standpoint that they might be doing it, right? I mean, it is this, it's funny how much it overlaps the customer mindset, right? In this case, it's a patient mindset, but they're all customers of, you know, digital, you know, Amazon, or, you know, you know, any other retailer that's out there. But there, there's this new mentality that, you know, in that space in the traditional retail CPG space of the Spoil Me Now customers how they look at it, right, they want you to know everything about them, but they don't want to give you a ton of information. It's like this cool thing they want to have you figure that out, and the organizations that are spending the time to do that data mining, but then the other side is the tools to communicate with them. You want to know, how does is somebody gonna respond to a text or not? Right. And if they're not, then you're wasting time, effort, money, sending them a text to communicate with them, but they want that conversation to take place. And so you have the training and the back end, you have the data to know who to talk to and how to talk to them, and then the different messages you're going to send them. It's just I don't know, it's it's crazy how much all of this overlaps with a traditional retail e retail environment. Craig would love to hear your thoughts

Craig Kartchner  48:32

here as well. Well, I find it tough to add to what you've said, because I agree with what all four of you said, I think in the end, it comes down to culture, probably more than anything else is about change management. It's about culture. Medicine for hundreds of years has been a master and apprentice sort of thing where the doctor or the god don't question the doc, you know, and you're just a lowly apprentice until you're deemed worthy of being a doctor yourself and then you become a god. So it's about culture shifting and realizing that we're all here to serve the customer, the patient, the customer, the customer is not a dirty word. You know, when I first got to honor healthy was customer was a dirty word. We don't serve customers, you know, we we heal patients, we treat patients and like there's power in the term customer, because it implies competition. So the culture has to change that we are competing. Always constantly day in and day out just like you said Aaron ecommerce, just like the retail giants. We are competing every single interaction every single day for business. And the only way to do that is to hit those pain points and resolve the pain points make it easy and quick and convenient. make it seamless and easy to navigate. high quality, of course, that's a table stake. And also, we haven't even talked about it, but show empathy and compassion, you know, be humans don't, don't treat them like an object. They're people, we have to show empathy. So you've all said it, but that's how I look at it. I really

Al Zinkand  50:19

chuckled earlier, when you said, you felt like you were about getting into battles where you're saying you're not patient centric, we had to make that one little word change from patient to consumer. And as soon as we did, like, light bulbs went off, oh, yes, that is a fundamentally different skill set. And we're focusing on right, now,

Brian Gresh  50:37

just gonna point out, we've been having a conversation now for almost an hour about digital transformation. We really haven't talked a lot about specific technology. We didn't talk about CRM, or chatbots, or, or any of those types of things. We've been talking about more kind of all of the things you have to have in place to make those technologies successful. I think, and I think that's really, just to me, the key of it is that digital transformation is, is more than the tools. It's all of the pieces and parts that surround those tools to make it successful.

Aaron Conant  51:15

No, I agree. I think that's the fundamental shift in the conversation that's happened from two, three years ago, where digital transformation was that buzzword and what did you do I got a CDP, I got an email tool, I got an SMS tool, you know, I replatform, that was all the individual pieces. And then kind of time to your point, they everybody was hoping that was going to be the silver bullet. And none of those pieces are the silver bullet, like the only silver bullet is like hard work and tying it all together on the back end.

Brian Gresh  51:43

Well as as the person that represents a software vendor on the call, I do think the technology is important. And I think Oh, platform approach can be very, very incredibly important piece to to the success of any digital transformation. But But I do think it starts with all the things we've been talking about here individually. And, you know, there's, there's just, it's really around alignment, and the other thing is kill. Now I'm just going to, again, jump on my soapbox, but, you know, people don't want to be treated differently digitally, than they want to be treated as a patient in real life. Right? I mean, like, if you're trying to do digital transformation to create a different experience, I think that's the wrong approach. It's, it's starting is starting with just what's a good experience? And then how do we deliver that, whether it's digital or not, and then putting the tools in place to make that happen. Right. I love it.

Tom Hileman  52:44

There's not a dichotomy, Brian, right. There's, it's, we're all humans, right? Whether we're interacting digitally or in the real world. And our goal should always be a better experience, right? not different. I mean, there's, they're, they're different by the nature. You can do things in a web conference or telehealth, like we're doing here that you can't do in real in the real world, right. But we think about what what makes it better than we always we typically end up with the right thing.

Aaron Conant  53:09

Awesome. And I see we're kind of right here at time. And I know everybody wants to get into health care in the metaverse. But may we save that for another call. But you know, Craig, Al Brian, thanks so much for your time today. Tom is always just You're such a great friend, partner, supporter, the network, or kind of kick it over to you if you want to wrap us up in a minute here. Like key takeaways for the group has been a fantastic conversation. Key takeaways, Tom?

Tom Hileman  53:33

Well, thanks, Aaron for hosting. And then Thanks, Greg Al, Brian, has a great conversation. And it was interesting, Brian, you summed it up pretty well. Like we thought we'd talk a little more about the tools and the tech. And then we ended up going into the human elements and the person and what it means to be a person how do we how do we meet our customers meet our patients for what they needed? So I really think at the end of the day, you got to think about where you want to end up as a health system. And and which, who's what your ideal customers look like? How do you where do you address them? And then all the rest of that stuff flows out of that strategy. And I think Craig had a great the x graph. I love that. Craig, I may borrow that from you. The x graph says a great way like our most health systems don't realize that they how much of the care leaks outside of of what they do, right. So most folks don't know that between them in the market between 10 and 60% of the healthcare is not delivered by your health system. So depending they people are shocked when they hear that because they just think that they consume all the health care for the patients. Right. So it's really interesting when you start to really put that around in that competition. So I think that was a real key theme that I learned today. And then just some of the the importance of the culture with that. So great discussion with this team. I think we could talk for hours, but we should wrap up here early so people don't do the Zoom fatigue thing. Going back to back. So thank you all and Thanks, Aaron. I appreciate being involved.

Aaron Conant  54:58

Oh now, just love it. Appreciate It all you do for us there Tom. Brian, Al, Craig, thanks so much for your time today. Hope everybody has a fantastic Friday. A great rest of the week and a fantastic weekend already. We'll be in touch

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