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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Practicing What They Preach - Smokers won't be Hired by SSM Health Care

Recently, I was driving past a top notch tertiary medical center that has a smoke free campus.  Across the street from the hospital in the median of a major thoroughfare sat a half dozen employees in their scrubs taking a smoke break.  From the car, I could see both the smokers and the smoke-free campus banner.  The contradictory image was quite startling.

Now, SSM Health Care hospitals in St. Louis  will start a tobacco-free hiring policy next month.  Job applicants at the seven SSM hospitals will be asked whether they have used tobacco in the last six months. If the answer is yes, that applicant will be eliminated from the hiring process.  SSM spokesperson, Chris Hutton stressed that the health system wants employees to model healthy behaviors and take better care of themselves.  Lowering healthcare costs related to employees that smoke is also a factor - the federal Center for Disease Control and Prevention puts that cost at an additonal $3,400 annually per employee.

SSM is not the first health system to ban the hiring of smokers - and I hope they won't be the last.

Click here to read more.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Engaging Patients with Chronic Illness through Online Technologies

Chronic diseases are among the most common, costly, and preventable of all health problems in the U.S. Incident rates are on the rise and will continue to grow for years to come. Under healthcare reform, new value based payment systems are targeting costs associated with chronic care. This will have an impact on volume as well as revenue for hospitals on a national scale and as a result, hospitals will have to implement new and robust initiatives using online platforms to meaningfully engage patients with chronic illness - and outcomes of that engagement.

So here's an interesting question -- should marketers play a role in patient management? One could and should argue that as new risk payment models take hold, customer relationship management may be key to retention, behavior modification and better self management of chronic illnesses.  Business outcomes will not only be impacted by customer acquisition but also by our ability to better understand what drives profitability under risk contracts.

Active Data Exhange, through its KnowledgeShare 2011, is hosting a webinar on Thursday, June 23, 2011 at 1:00 pm eastern time to explore this topic.  Discussion points will cover:
  • Facts about the dramatic growth in chronic disease that will occur in the coming years and projected impact on healthcare systems
  • How planning, marketing and communications professionals can best be prepared to handle the surge in demand through web technology as a strategic enabler
  • How Parrish Medical Center in Titusville, Florida is leveraging web technology to manage and drive patient education and community outreach programs.
I'll be joining the webinar along with Mathew Haggar, Communications Coordinator at Parrish Medical Center and Christopher Smith of Active Data Exchange.

There is no charge for participation.  Click here to learn more and to register.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Brian Whitman Joins the Corrigan Partners Team

F. Brian Whitman
Today, I'm thrilled to announce that F. Brian Whitman has joined the team at Corrigan Partners, bringing his creative, results-oriented business and brand building expertise to our clients. Over the course of his career, Brian has been responsible for all aspects of brand and marketing management, including brand building, marketing planning, new product launches, partnership development, marketing promotions, corporate communications, crisis management and merger communications.

Previously, Brian served as vice president for Indiana University Health Bloomington, with responsibility for marketing, community relations, business development, physician outreach, CRM/call center, service excellence and community health. There he served as IU Health’s organization’s regional branding officer. He also worked at Clarian Health Partners, Inc., where he led service-line marketing for cardiovascular and cancer. Prior to Clarion, he was employed at Corporate Creations, Inc., where he had account oversight for Cummins Engine, Delta Faucet and Methodist Health System.

Brian holds an MBA in health care management from Western Governors University, and a BA from the University of Indianapolis. He teaches healthcare marketing at Indiana University as adjunct faculty, and is an active member the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development (SHSMD).

I've known Brian since his Clarion days and have always been inspired by his thoughtful, creative and comprehensive approaches to engage consumers, build brands and grow business.  Welcome aboard, Brian.

Brian can be reached at or (317) 572-7024.