Are you curious?  {1 way for health care marketers to nurture better lives and workplaces}

Are you curious? {1 way for health care marketers to nurture better lives and workplaces}

Ever wonder how to live and work better? Maybe the question needs to be: “Am I wondering enough?”

Curiosity plays a crucial role in more than scientific breakthroughs and great storytelling, but in everything from relationships and personal growth to organizational success. Here’s a closer look at this “wonder drug” and how to nurture it in your everyday life.

“Curiosity has its own reason for existing. The important thing is to never stop questioning.”  —Albert Einstein, physicist

Easy peasy? Maybe not.

We’re all born with a “sacred curiosity,” as Einstein called it. Many of us work in settings that require it. Health care, for instance, relies on curiosity to diagnose, treat and foster better outcomes. Effective marketers routinely return to the well of inquiry for researching and listening, creating and collaborating, testing and assessing.

But in an age of instant informational gratification, it can be easier to prioritize quick answers without always questioning and considering alternatives. As organizations seek efficiency protocols, the laudable goal of moving things along can come at the expense of exploration—the kind that rewards lasting growth, says researcher Francesca Gino in The Business Case for Curiosity. She also found that social conventions can stymie creative collaborative potential in workplaces when there’s more value placed on “having the answers” than, say:

  • considering other perspectives
  • listening without judgement
  • using strategic inquiry to arrive at a better destination

Clearly there’s a time and place for decisive answers and fast turn-around. But in order to do it well—that is, be ready with the necessary experience and insights to “deliver”—there’s got to be a yin to that yang.

To be at your peak, as an individual or organization, takes a willingness to follow curiosity. It makes your work better. But most crucially, it makes life and relationships better. There’s plenty of data to back up that premise.


Consider learning and brain health: research has shown that intrinsic curiosity improves learning and memory for things we aren’t even interested in. Other studies have shown that being open to new experiences keeps your brain active and alert, which can be immensely helpful as we age.

“Research is formalized curiosity. It’s poking and prying with a purpose.”  —Zora Neale Hurston

Get better results

Scientists say there are two kinds of curiosity. “Diversive curiosity,” a wide-ranging interest in anything and everything new. “Epistemic curiosity,” on the other hand, is focused and discerning.  

Combining these two kinds of curiosity can be powerful and productive, says Ian Leslie, author of the book, Curious.” Leslie says the key to making curiosity more fruitful and productive is to take that non-discriminating approach and then dive in with a sustained attitude.

Think of an entrepreneur who questions why a service isn’t offered, then digs in to assess what can be done to deliver it. It’s a classic problem-solution model that anyone can use—particularly in business and design, says author Warren Berger in Three Ways Curiosity Can Change Your Life. “I found many of the most successful innovators to be people of wide-ranging curiosity who also knew when and how to narrow their focus,” Berger says.

While we’re all born with these traits, we don’t all nurture a sense of exploration and discovery as we grow older—even though our futures depend on it. But there are many practical ways we all can go about it.

Here are 6 tips to nurture curiosity:

  • Read. Different kinds of things, with varying perspectives.
  • Talk with people. Different kinds of people, with varying perspectives.
  • Brainstorm without judgement to consider angles, approaches and possibilities.
  • Ask questions: “who, what, when, where, why and how” are the standard journalistic ones. Befriend them.
  • Don’t let fear hinder curiosity. What’s the potential positive in a situation? The unknown may offer surprising rewards.
  • Listen. Sometimes it’s the silence, the experience, that teaches you best.  

For more in-depth advice, check out these links:

Create more room to grow

As hard as we try, sometimes curiosity ebbs and flows. I can tell when I’m feeling worn out and need a refresher, because my desire to wonder, dig deeper or re-examine feels dull. Which is often code for: time to take a break, breathe, work out, laugh or jam to some crazy good music.  

At Hailey Sault, we’ve long valued curiosity as an integral part of our creative craft. It informs what we do, how we do it, and even why we do it. It’s a healthy practice for any organization. Because fostering a culture that values the pursuit of questions, openly and honestly, will strengthen your ability to make real and lasting improvements—in work and life alike.   

How do you nurture curiosity? For yourself, and for those in your sphere?

What are you doing to pursue your next big idea or make life, work and health care better? We’d love to hear about it.

The Digital Health Care Experience: what your patients are demanding.

The Digital Health Care Experience: what your patients are demanding.

It’s a digital world out there and there’s no turning back. Smartphones, tablets, wearable and apps link us to the news, entertainment, shopping and our friends. They map our journeys, record our walking miles, help us meditate and answer our questions about every subject we can think of.

They’re also making it possible for us to receive personalized health care on demand. And make no mistake, more of us than ever are demanding digital health care experiences with a strong warning that we’ll go elsewhere if we aren’t getting what we need. Just look at these startling statistics.

Our national Hailey Sault research conducted in 2017 about why patients switch providers indicated that:

50% more people were shopping—or considering switching providers—than three years prior.

A recent Harris Poll found that the majority of consumers are now choosing primary care providers based on how well they use technology. 

59% of all insured patients and 70% of millennials reported they would select a primary care provider who had a patient mobile app over one that does not.

46% would choose one who offered virtual treatment options over one who doesn’t.

One more. According to a new survey from Black Book:

90% of patients no longer feel obligated to stay with health care providers that don’t deliver on overall satisfactory digital experiences.

What do your patients want from their digital health care experience?

General Apps

At minimum they want apps that help them search for a doctor or specialist, access family health records, make or change an appointment, access test results, pay bills and fill prescriptions.

Virtual Visits

As they shop for convenient, affordable health care and as insurance companies begin to foot the bill, patients would love to avoid trips to the doctor’s office for non-emergent care. Some health systems are now using virtual visits for everything from e-prescribing to pre-surgical consults, chronic disease management check-ins and more.

Wearables and portable tracking devices

Patients concerned with prevention would like to exchange health data from wearable devices with their physician in an effort to track their health status and progress, including tracking their blood pressure, weight and blood glucose.

Customized Apps

Patients would also like apps from their provider that can:

  • track their medication
  • help with their mental health
  • support their rehabilitation with follow-up plans, rehab journals and interactive physical therapy sessions
  • help them cope with conditions like heart disease, cancer, asthma and diabetes

The digital experience must also be a human experience.

While patients are demanding digital experiences from their health care providers, Cleveland Clinic’s Dr. Adrienne Boissy warns in an article in NEJM Catalyst, that health systems must be careful not to think of their patients as iPatients.

“The digital experience will be most powerful when it intentionally enhances the human(e) experience: the uniquely profound experience of feeling connected, seen, known and valued. The most humane experiences happen when we meet patients where they are by designing the types of touch points they want and need. Of course, there will be places where technology cannot go. Yet, the virtual or digital touch could nonetheless be warm and empathic, if we design it to be so.”

As patients take control of their health they are also demanding their care become centered around their life and schedule as opposed to being at the convenience of their provider or health system. This is the time when health systems must become creative in bringing together services related to diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation and prevention for their patients.

9 Questions that drive next level health care marketing plans

Marketers: Protect the Trust Between Physicians and Patients

Marketers: Protect the Trust Between Physicians and Patients

“They” say that if you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything—and to me that rings true. My health is my life. Or, I should say my health makes the quality of my life possible. And, when it comes to the health issues that really count, like preventing heart disease, diabetes, cancer and dementia—which all run in my family—I trust one person’s authority: my doctor.

Working in the health care marketing industry I read an astounding number of articles and studies about every chronic disease prevention approach out there today, so I consider myself ultra-informed. I also talk to my friends and family about health and prevention. But, it’s my discussions with my doctor about what I’ve read, combined with what she knows, that ultimately helps me decide how to approach my health.

And I’m not alone when it comes to trust. In our latest research Why Patients Switch 2017, we interviewed 1,233 health care consumers in six different markets around the country about their relationship with their health care provider. 

63 percent of our survey participants said that their primary care physician was their most used, trusted and important source of health information.

As we interviewed our participants, we wanted to know how a doctor could gain their trust. So we asked, “What should a doctor say or how should they act to be trustworthy?” People told us:

  • clearly answer my questions
  • listen to my needs and input when considering health care options
  • confidently explain options, procedures and diagnoses
  • be able to explain my medical condition and be empathic at the same time
  • explain things in a way that is clear and easy to understand
  • understand my medical history better
  • be better at follow-up communication after tests or procedures
  • use a tone that is personable, caring and understanding

Who’s going to solve the problem of the rising cost of health care?

Who’s going to solve the problem of the rising cost of health care?

There are so many working parts to the problem of the rising cost of health care that it seems almost impossible to solve. At this point, our politicians are locked in a health care battle and some of the solutions they’ve proposed seem untenable and frankly scary to me.

I’m not the only one thinking about the cost of health care. We recently surveyed 1,100 people we identified as the person who made the decisions about health care in their household. Across the board our respondents voiced their concerns telling us that:

Health care decision makers across the U.S. believe health care is becoming less affordable, and less accessible. More importantly, they feel health care is the least transparent financial decision they’ll ever make.

Corporate problem solvers

It’s been with great interest that I’ve been reading about corporations willing to take the lead in finding solutions. Amazon, JPMorgan and Berkshire CEOs recently announced their plan to take on the challenges of providing access to affordable, quality health care to their employees—with the intention of delivering advances in health care for everyone else as well. Some speculate that in-house care may be the first direction these big corporations go. 

Apple is jumping in with a solution too. The company just announced it will launch a network of medical clinics for its employees and their families. 

Our newest client, CareATC is another company leading the way working with companies to provide onsite and near-site primary care clinics for employees and families. The company is driven by a vision to reduce this country’s health care costs by 50 percent. Its model includes providing a shorter path to care via near-site clinics, along with an employee assessment and tracking that promotes health and helps prevent disease.

An old health care cost solution becomes new again

I poked around the web to find out more about the history of onsite health care. Come to find out having health care readily available to employees in the workplace is an idea that was commonplace as early as the late 1800s. There were many hazards in working in America’s booming railroad and mining industries, so companies opened onsite clinics to better manage workplace injuries.

The practice of having a “company doctor” wasn’t popular with the workforce, though, because the care was mandated by the company and the cost was deducted directly from an employee’s pay.

The new and improved onsite/near-site health clinic

Today’s onsite, or near-site, health clinics offer employees the ability to either Skype with a physician in a room onsite or visit an in-house or near-site facility that can include acute care, acupuncture and physical therapy. Employees usually pay a minimal co-pay for the visit or nothing at all.

Doing more than keeping people healthy

Many of these clinics aren’t just treating employees when they become sick. They’re also helping them control chronic conditions and stay healthy through full health and wellness programs that can include exercise and nutrition programs, smoking cessation programs and more.

How onsite clinics save money

Unlike the company clinic of the past, these new onsite/near-site clinics aren’t set up to be company money-makers, although the investment is paying for itself.

A study from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce reported that a well-designed, convenient health program can have a return on investment of $2–$3 per dollar spent over a two- to nine-year timeframe.  

Who’s going to solve the problem of the rising cost of health care?

Of course, not everyone works for a corporation large enough to make the initial investment in an onsite or near-site clinic. But, creative thinking that includes solutions like onsite health and wellness is a start.

Thank you Amazon, JPMorgan, Berkshire, Apple and more for putting the company on the line, for taking on the problem of health care access and cost. Thanks for frightening a few insurance companies and politicians. I’m looking forward to seeing what transpires beyond the great idea of onsite/near-site clinics.

Does Walgreens love me more than my doctor?

Does Walgreens love me more than my doctor?

Every month or so, I receive an email jam-packed with tips and proactive ideas to help create a healthier me. You would think this information-filled email came from my health care provider, but it doesn’t—it comes from my pharmacy—Walgreens.

A matter of trust

Being in the health care marketing and communication business, I realize Walgreens sends me these regular emails because it ultimately wants me to buy a product at my local store. But what this consistent contact is doing is creating a relationship of trust between the chain store and me.

When it comes to my health, wouldn’t I naturally trust my health care provider more than a retail chain?

You would think so. But right now, I have more of an affinity for Walgreens. Yeah, Walgreens definitely cares more about me because they engage with me more. Every time I get one of those emails, I get a feeling that my best interests are being looked after by a retail giant. Hmm, something is wrong here.

Why wouldn’t my provider want to be the trusted leader in helping me be healthier?

We recently did research on why patients switch providers. One of the questions we asked was: How interested are you in having your local health care provider help you be healthier every day?

40% of the people we surveyed told us they wanted their local health care provider to help them be healthier.

We also asked which sources people trusted most for their everyday health and fitness information and:

73% of respondents said given the choice, their local provider was their most trusted source for daily health and fitness information.

Why trust is so important

There is nothing more sacred than the trust we place in those who provide us with physical and mental health services. David A. Shore, founder of the Trust Initiative of Harvard School of Public Health and author of The Trust Prescription for Healthcare, Building Your Reputation with Consumers, argues that “having a reputation as a trusted provider is good medicine and good business.”

A recent study in PLoS One titled Trust in the health care professional and health outcomes: A meta-analysis, revealed that “from a clinical perspective, patients reported more beneficial health behaviors, fewer symptoms, higher quality of life, and to be more satisfied with treatment when they had higher trust in their health care professional.”

How are you communicating with the people you want to trust you?

Maybe you have an e-newsletter. What is it filled with? Is it serving the needs of the people you are communicating with or is it selling service lines? Are the stories you’re telling in your newsletter compelling or are they a sales tool?

Even though I know that Walgreens wants me to shop at my nearest store, the information I receive in each e-newsletter is not overtly self-serving. It is useful and timely. That’s what makes me feel like the store cares about me. It’s also what makes me want to reciprocate by choosing Walgreens when I need a prescription filled or when I need to stop for a card or shampoo on my way home from work.

Showing you care and gaining health care e-newsletter subscribers

Do you get e-newsletters? Which blogs do you read regularly? (We’re hoping you say this one.) What do you enjoy about the newsletters and blogs that come to your inbox?

  • The first thing that probably grabs your attention is the subject line. It spoke to you at the right moment and you opened the email.
  • Next, the design was crisp, easy to read, and there may have been a picture or two.
  • You started reading and the content was good. It kept you interested and you may have passed a tip or two on to a friend, family member or co-worker.

That’s the kind of e-newsletter you should be producing—the kind that, like Walgreens, reminds the people in your market that you are benevolent and a trusted resource they can turn to for their physical and mental well-being.

So, let’s start a relationship

Our research shows that people want their health care provider to help them become healthier and that their provider is their most trusted source for the health and fitness information they are seeking. You want to be the health care provider in your market that people trust the most with their care. So, let’s get a blog or an e-newsletter in their inbox that shows them that you care about them more than Walgreens does.

5 Things to Know About Millennial Patients

5 Things to Know About Millennial Patients

The millennial generation is 83.1 million strong according to the latest U.S. Census Bureau report. They are 24 to 39 years old, starting families, choosing primary care physicians and pediatricians. They are health conscious, digitally savvy, elusive—and your core health care marketing target. They are also more likely than any other patient you have to walk out if they aren’t getting what they want from you.

Our latest Hailey Sault research, Why Patients Change: 2017 reveals that 36 percent of millennials often look for health care options other than what their primary care doctor recommends and 35 percent have gone outside their preferred local health system for special treatments.

Because millennials are playing a greater role than any generation before them in determining how, when and where they receive care, the need to understand them cannot be overstated.

The millennial mindset: 5 key research findings

Together with Frank N. Magid Associates, Hailey Sault surveyed 1,100 consumers across the United States who self-identified as health care decision makers in their household. Our goal was to gain a deeper understanding of each generation and what causes them to change providers—32% percent of our respondents were millennials and here’s what they told us about themselves:

#1. Millennials prioritize convenience.

They are more likely to value short wait times and a simple/fast check-in process.

  • 32% of the millennials we surveyed would use whichever health system provided the timeliest access to its services compared to 19% of Gen Xers and 19% of Baby Boomers.
  • Millennials are more likely to believe they can seek care outside their insurance network; 39% feel they can go to any health system, hospital or physicians’ clinic of their choosing.

#2. Millennials value cost transparency.

Perhaps because many of them still carry unprecedented student debt and are experiencing some of the highest deductible health care plans, they are more likely than any other generation to seek cost-effective care and treatments.

  • 62% of millennials believe health care is more expensive than it was last year.
  • 70% would switch to a provider with more reasonable costs.
  • 65% would switch if the cost of health care was more aligned with their expectations.

#3. Millennials trust their doctor, but don’t believe their doctor genuinely cares about them.

Millennials have a high degree of trust when it comes to attitudes about their health care provider.

  • Our research found that 63% trust their doctor.
  • 60% said that their doctor often explains things in a way they can understand.

However, only 49% thought that their doctor genuinely cared about them. When asked what qualities they believe indicated caring—

  • 50% wanted their doctor to listen to their needs and input when considering their health care options.
  • 45% wanted their doctor to clearly answer and take the necessary time to answer their questions—64% said they would switch if they felt a doctor would spend more time with them.
  • 43% wanted their doctor to explain their medical condition and be empathetic at the same time.

#4. Millennials define health differently.

Millennials don’t define health as simply the absence of disease. They view health more holistically with mental health, fitness, longevity and healthy lifestyles being essential.

  • 35% of millennials want their local health care provider to help them be healthier every day.
  • When asked if their local health care provider currently provided information and resources about every day health, 51% said, yes.
  • Millennials were however much more likely than any generation to trust sources like WebMD, friends and family, health magazines, their Fitbit and even Nike when it came to providing a daily source for health and fitness information.

#5. Millennials are leading the charge in an increasingly connected world.

Although they appear to grab onto and abandon media at the speed of light, our research revealed the following insights:

  • Millennials are multi-channeled—even though they seem to be a digital-first generation, they are actually open to several traditional channels.
  • They consume “media experiences,” and strategies for connecting with them must reach across and incorporate multiple channels.
  • They view their phone as an extension of themselves, they prefer a laptop to a desktop, and a lot of what they consume is streamed.

We asked millennials who had actually switched providers to tell us why. This is exactly what they told us:   

  • “Quality of service.”
  • “Better rates when it came to co-pays.”
  • “Convenience.”
  • “Hassle-free appointments.”
  • “I didn’t like the doctor, I thought there were better ones out there.”
  • “Timeliness of service, shorter wait times.”
  • “It met my requirements for lower cost, better service and faster response.”

The millennial generation is more demanding than any other generation. They are more cost conscious and service oriented, they are looking for a doctor to connect with who genuinely cares about them, they want help from you to stay healthy and they are more likely than any other generation to go elsewhere if they aren’t getting what they need from you. Let us help you begin to connect with them, gain their trust and start establishing their long-term loyalty.