Dobies Presents Social Media Strategies at KCHCS

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – “How to Deploy Social Media to Improve Patient Engagement” – that was the topic at hand when Carol Dobies, president and owner of Dobies Healthcare Group, led a panel discussion at the Kansas City Healthcare Communicators Society (KCHCS) 2011 Fall Conference last week. Healthcare professionals who attended the interactive session gained a better understanding of best practices in social media strategies. Panelists included representatives from two area hospitals, and a data and analytics expert from a local firm that monitors web and social media traffic.

Our Work Delivers.

Family Birthing Center at Lawrence Memorial HospitalAs a healthcare marketing firm, our clients count on us to produce creative ideas that engage patients, spread quality improvement and inspire new behaviors. We pride ourselves in coming up with campaigns that begin by improving patient experience and continue through traditional, social and viral media. We absolutely love what we do.

Most recently we put our marketing muscle into an award-winning maternity campaign that focused on the physician/hospital connection and the patient experience. Congrats to Janice, Denise, Randee and Kelley for bringing home a Platinum branding award  from HealthLeaders, and two Emeralds and two certificates of merit from the Kansas Association of Health Care Communicators. More importantly, thanks for helping Lawrence Memorial Hospital deliver more babies despite the baby bust!

Changing the Face of Men’s Health, One ‘Stache at a Time

Movember- Changing the Face of Men's HealthDid you know that a man is 35% more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer than a woman is to be diagnosed with breast cancer?   And while most of us know that October goes pink for breast cancer awareness, did you know that November grows mustaches for men’s health?

That’s right – November is now Movember (with “mo” being slang for mustache, of course).  
Here’s a quick synopsis from  the Movember Foundation:

The Movember Foundation challenges men to start Movember 1st (November 1st) clean shaven, then grow and groom their moustache for 30 days to raise awareness and funds to find a cure for prostate and testicular cancers.

I absolutely love this campaign!  What better way to get guys talking about their health than by pitting them in a friendly competition, doing something as “manly” as growing a ‘stache?! 

I first heard about Movember via Twitter a few weeks ago, and it has quickly blown up in the socialsphere:  A Facebook search for “movember” this morning yielded 77 Pages and about 4,200 Groups.  As this blog is posted, the MovemberUSA Facebook Page alone has 3,958 fans and counting, a gain of more than 350 members since Friday afternoon.  Men participating in Movember, or “Mo Bros” as they are called, are posting photos of their facial follicles on their “Mo Spaces,” and “Mo Sistas” are getting in on the act by recruiting more Mo Bros and helping raise funds, which will benefit the Prostate Cancer Foundation and the Lance Armstrong Foundation Livestrong.

Over the years, Susan G. Komen’s Race of the Cure, Pink October and many other events seeking to bring awareness to breast cancer have empowered the female population;  I hope Movember will do the same for our brothers, fathers, sons, boyfriends, and husbands, and succeed in its mission to “change the face of men’s health.”

Does Your Marketing Plan Connect?

Connect the Dots with DobiesWe’ve built our reputation on helping our hospital clients “connect the dots.” What do we mean by that?

Successful marketing leaders connect their efforts to their hospital’s strategic priorities by ensuring that marketing dollars are allocated to support and meet specific objectives of the strategic plan.  They not only illustrate that research findings support their creative execution; they take operational readiness, competitive reactions, contingencies and performance metrics into account, too.

In other words, they make sure that the brand new Emergency Department – or service line of choice  – is operating like a well-greased machine, that measurement systems are in place to track the three R’s, and that patients are raving fans BEFORE the first commercial airs.

That may seem like good ol’ common sense, but we’re amazed how frequently creative campaigns are crafted before the strategic marketing plan…or worse, in lieu of one.  We wish these marketers would come to us first so we could help them align their efforts with the hospital’s strategic goals. That’s the better way to create a healthier company and connect with executive, board and physician leadership.

On a lighter note, connecting the dots is what many of you did when you joined us in Orlando at the 2009 SHSMD Annual Conference. Nearly 150 attendees stopped by our booth to connect magnetic marbles and guess the linear footage of marbles in a jar. Our game of “connect the dots” unleashed a competitive frenzy, with folks stopping back multiple times to refine their guesses.

Congratulations to Gina Kalwa from Montgomery General Hospital and Kim Winker from University Physicians Healthcare for guessing the closest distance and winning a Garmin nüvi GPS Navigator!  The actual measurement was 31 feet 2 inches. Thanks to everyone who participated in connecting the dots with Dobies!

Senior Games Take Over Stanford

Claudia Simpson, 56, was born at Stanford Hospital. She will compete in 11 events at the Senior Games.This August, an estimated 25,000 visitors from across the United States will flood Stanford University and the San Francisco Bay area for one reason:  to cheer on the more than 10,000 athletes who will be competing in the 2009 Summer National Senior Games

The National Senior Games, which is the largest multi-sport event in the world for men and women aged 50 and older, runs from August 1-15.  Athletes will compete in 25 Olympic and traditional sports, including swimming, basketball, cycling, track & field, and archery.

The event is sponsored by our client Stanford Hospital and Clinics and their new Outpatient Center.  In addition to providing medical care to the athletes and urgent care for spectators during the Games, Stanford will present free lectures and activities to the public.  Topics range from maintaining health for active living to achieving peak performance for competitive athletes.

Admission to the Games is free, so if you’re in the area, stop by and cheer on these inspiring men and women!  They are a great reminder for us all to celebrate health and fitness at any age.

Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Ranked As One of America’s Top Pediatric Hospitals

Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital marks yet another Dobies client that has been named one of the nation’s best children’s hospitals for 2009 by U.S. News Media Group.  Lucile Packard placed within the top 20 in eight specialties; 160 hospitals were considered.  The specialties receiving top rankings are:

  #5 – Heart and Heart Surgery including tetralogy of fallot surgery and pediatric heart transplant
  #5 – Neonatal Care
#11 – Cancer including pediatric leukemia, pediatric Hodgkin’s disease and bone marrow transplant
#14 – Diabetes and Endocrine Disorders
#14 – Digestive Disorders
#15 – Respiratory Disorders including pediatric cystic fibrosis and childhood asthma
#20 – Kidney Disorders
#20 – Neurology and Neurosurgery

The rankings will be featured in the August issue of U.S. News & World Report.

About Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital:
Associated with the Stanford University School of Medicine, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital in Palo Alto, Calif., provides a full range of medical and surgical services to children and expectant mothers from all over the United States.  For more information, visit

Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin Named Among the Best

At Dobies Healthcare Group, we are proud to work with some of the finest hospitals in the country. So we weren’t surprised to hear that U.S. News Media Group recently ranked our client Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin among America’s best children’s hospitals for 2009. Eight specialties at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin placed within the top 30 of the 160 hospitals considered. The specialties earning top honors are:

#8 — Heart and Heart Surgery
#9 — Digestive Disorders including pediatric inflammatory bowel disease
#20 — Urology
#25 — Respiratory Disorders
#28 — Cancer including Ewing sarcoma and Hodgkin’s lymphoma
#29 — Neonatal Care
#29 — Neurology and Neurosurgery including epilepsy and pediatric spina bifida surgery
#30 — Kidney Disorders

The rankings will be featured in the August issue of U.S. News & World Report.

About Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin:
As a member of the Children’s Hospital and Health System, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in Milwaukee provides premier services, treatment and specialties to the children of Wisconsin, Northern Illinois, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and beyond. Visit their blog to learn more.

Do I Have to Stand Up to Be Counted?

6917575Last week I attended Missouri Association for Healthcare Public Relations and Marketing’s annual Summer Forum at the Lake of the Ozarks.   MAHPRM, pronounced “mop-rum” by us acronym-loving healthcare marketing folks, is a professional organization comprised of mostly marketing, PR, and communications people who work in Missouri hospitals.  This year, we were pleased to be asked to speak during a session at the conference, which Carol and Darrin handled nicely.  I nicely handled sitting in the audience smiling at them for encouragement – a role I’m really good at. 

Speaking to a group of people (the dreadful PowerPoint presentation) with a preplanned script while standing and holding a ‘clicker’ that advances slides and points via laser while clipped to a microphone that never works properly is not my idea of a ‘great opportunity.’  Those that know me well will be surprised by this confession, because, well, I’m not exactly shy around the dinner table if you get my drift.  I’m not shy around the conference table, or the blackjack table or any other table to which I SIT.  I’m not shy, period.  I communicate for a living, for goodness sake.  But, when placed in front of a large group whereby I have to STAND (gasp!) and refer to my notes so I don’t  SAY the wrong thing, I revert back to childhood, where I was consistently called out by my peers because I had a “boy’s name”, had “four eyes” or “raised my hand too much.”  

The interesting part of this confession (I know you’ve been waiting for something interesting here) is that my inability to communicate clearly in front of an audience is a recent development.  This, along with eyesight loss, slower metabolism and darker roots, is just another item to add to my growing list of Things That Happen to You After 40.    I expected some of these, but this?  It’s so unfair!

I’m always amused by speakers who share their disappointment in their “time slot” with the audience.   How many times have you heard a speaker say, “Well, since I’m the first one today, I’ll talk slow while you wake up,” or “Well, I know I’m the last one before lunch and you’re hungry so I’ll talk fast,” or “Well, since you just had lunch, I won’t wake you,” or, my favorite “I hate it when I’m last!  I know that we all want to get out of here and head to happy hour…”  All beg the question, is there really an ideal time to speak to a crowd? 

Nope!  Not to me.  Too much pressure and too many variables I can’t control.  Just give me a CHAIR, an assignment or a question, and an interested, interactive audience and I will communicate nicely.  As long as I have my glasses.

Le Bonheur Heart Patient Participates in Family Advocacy Day

The Flack family will represent Le Bonheur at Family Advocacy DayThis week, dozens of families with children who have received high-quality care at pediatric hospitals across the nation will meet with lawmakers in Washington, D.C., for Family Advocacy Day.  Among those meeting with legislators will be the Flack family with their four-year-old daughter Madeline.  Madeline has been a patient of our client Le Bonheur Children’s Medical Center since she was diagnosed with four congenital heart defects when she was 10 months old.   After seeking the help of the pediatric cardiologists at Le Bonheur’s Heart Institute, Madeline is now living the life of a typical four-year-old, something Madeline’s family credits to the excellent care she received at Le Bonheur.

Visit her family’s blog to learn more about Madeline’s story and her trip to our nation’s capitol.

About Family Advocacy Day:  This event, sponsored by the National Association of Children’s Hospitals, is an effort to ensure that national health reform legislation includes access to high-quality, specialized care and affordable health insurance coverage for all children.

About Le Bonheur Children’s Medical Center:  As a leading children’s hospital in the Mid South, Le Bonheur treats children from around the region and country. The Neuroscience Institute and the Cardiac Institute, two centers of excellence dedicated to the treatment and research of pediatric conditions, highlight Le Bonheur’s commitment to improving the health of children in Memphis, Tennessee, the Mid South region and beyond.