Crossing the Chasm: Making Change Happen in Hospitals
and Achieving 400% Higher CTR
Mallory Yoder, Lead Manager, and the marketing team at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) used all the tools in their belt to drive Pop Health and coding messages across a large medical group of over 14 hospital systems.
VUMC and VHAN used whiteboard videos, live presentations (Roadshows), podcasts, printed cartoon handouts, email and a gorgeous intranet site to get everyone on the same page.
Resulting in 400% higher click-through to the internal site when the video was shared!
It's clear Whiteboard Geeks has in-depth knowledge of what's happening in healthcare transformation and population health
–Mallory Yoder, Lead Manager
Provider & Practice Engagement
Part 1: Population Health
THE BIG GOAL:
Create an understanding of Population Health
Increase buy-in on this big change
Drive people to the site: https://ww2.mc.vanderbilt.edu/bridge/
If you know anything about Healthcare Comms, you know it’s hard to get the attention of clinicians. They are constantly in the waterfall of information overload. So how to educate them on things that REALLY REALLY MATTER?
Enter Mallory Yoder. Mallory is unlike anyone else you’ll ever meet: unstoppable, indomitably positive, and with a Tennessee accent that makes anyone smile. This woman is a hard worker. 2 years into our working relationship she went ahead and got a masters degree, while working full time, in COVID. She’s unstoppable. So it’s no surprise that these videos, images, stories and podcasts have made an impact. Mallory doesn’t let up.
In April of 2018 we began scripting a long form video that would explain the BIG PICTURE of Population Health for Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
"We needed a way to get clinicians
to really pay attention."
What is Population Health?
In a nutshell, it is the shift towards patient-centered care and a whole-person approach to healthcare. It’s incredibly complex. But it basically means changing the way we pay doctors and health systems to focus on prevention. It means many other things, hence the need for a whiteboard video. Like Cleveland Clinic, Vanderbilt needed a way to crystallize their messaging across an organization of tens of thousands of employees.
And to do that, we start with story.
The Video: Andrea’s Story
The Pop Health video we produced for Vanderbilt in 2018 covered multiple topics and used multiple story devices including a character story about Andrea, a single mom with diabetes and limited access to transportation. By explaining how challenging it was for Andrea to access the care she needed (doctor’s visits, getting prescriptions), we began to build empathy in the team.
Bridging theGaps In Care
Pop Health Implementation: Methods of Success
In our first major engagement on Population Health, Mallory made sure the videos were shown in person at live trainings to staff, presented by their own bosses. So the head of nurses presented the video to all nurses in a monthly training. The chief accountant sent the video out to his team from his own email. This approach was crucial in getting the video to have traction.
“We didn’t want this to get blown off because it was coming from the Marketing department email. We email our team so much, we wanted to make sure they clicked on this.”
- Mallory Yoder.
The nearly 10 minute whiteboard video, nicknamed “Andrea’s Story” was shown on internal TVs in the hospital and staff buildings. No one who worked at Vanderbilt Medical was able to avoid it! In a good way.
They even created printed cartoon handouts for staff like nurses and clinicians to keep by their desks!
Mallory and her team implemented the unit leader approach, presenting the video at town halls and meetings, like the Pharmacy group in 2018:
“Presented at Pharmacy yesterday, and they loved the video!!! The Town Hall last week for Pop Health was also a huge success. Already getting good view stats and it’s only just the beginning!”
The best way to measure success is by following total video views and website clicks. The Andrea video was embedded on a redesigned internal site on pop health:
In addition to the video, designed graphics drawn by our head artist Mike DeVareness adorned the page to create visual cohesion.
This kept people reading and learning.
The Pophealth website garnered 4x more average views per month than the VUMCBridge website.
454 average views per month vs 113 is an increase of 120%
After a major Roadshow where Mallory had presented everything on Friday, she said this:
“They loved it all. We represent so many voices! David, my boss, said he wants to elevate it to more leadership like key execs. People need to see and hear this more than once.”
Part 2: VHAN Superheros
After the wild success of the Population Health video, dubbed “Andrea’s video” by Vanderbilt team members, the time came a year later to tackle another big challenge: Explaining the Vanderbilt Health Affiliated Network.
Aside from the urge to type it out as VAHN or Vanderbilt Affiliated Health Network (wrong!), Mallory and the team were charged with explaining what this network was, why it existed, and how it would help patients.
As is common in healthcare (or let’s be honest, any industry), most of the information about VHAN was vague and general. People need stories; they need specifics to truly understand what a thing is. A nurse hearing about this may think, “Sure, a connected network of health systems across Tennessee sounds great, but how will it change my day-to-day? Is this just another thing I need to do?”
People weren’t seeing how VHAN would benefit them and make their lives easier. They didn’t understand how it would make their patient’s lives better.
90% of the factors that determine someone’s health come from outside of what the healthcare system addresses.
The Plan, The Story, The Video:
Going beyond what worked in the Andrea video, the team at Whiteboard Geeks strategized with Mallory on how to associate VHAN with an aspirational identity. How to show that engaging with this network makes your better, stronger, faster?
The answer: Draw them in capes and rippling muscles.
Have you ever thought of yourself as a superhero?
Someone who uses their fantastic abilities for the greater good?
Every one of us has the power to make amazing change. The trick is finding how to combine our powers to make the most of them.
Drawing on our collective strength, we can have an even bigger impact on our patients’ lives and improve the health of our community for generations to come.
Huge internal transformations must start with a great story!
That's what we helped craft with Vanderbilt around their VHAN messaging, to help all the hospitals and their employees involved in this partnership understand their roles as SUPERHEROES for health! Emphasizing not just the great work of the organization, but the importance of supporting patients to be heroes for their own healthcare, like Taylor Smith and his family (based on a true story!)
But the script kept the elements that worked from the first video as well, namely the usage of highly specific patient stories that represent how a clinically integrated network would work.
By showing how VHAN helps identify and manage care gaps (medication overlap, access), it’s much easier to get a grasp of what it is.
Building on this idea of “Clinical Champions”, Mallory and Megan identified the leaders in each area of the hospital, the ones whom their direct reports listened to. Then they did something radical.
They had those department heads introduce the change. The head of Nursing introduces the VHAN story to her nurses at a large in-person meeting. She is the one who sends out the email.
This is a genius approach to distributing internal comms because, as Mallory said, “People can learn to ignore the marketing department emails, but they can’t ignore their own boss.”
“We don’t want it to be a 'marketing initiative.' We’re working with clinical champions. We train them up to be key messengers in their own areas so it’s not just coming from Marketing, it’s coming from them.”
95% finish rate
71% higher than the industry average of 45%
72% finish rate
44% higher than the industry average for a 10 min video
Maury Regional had more watches than the other 4 regional hospitals overall
This 45-second video had 85% completion.
“The best part of our experience was that the team understood the complexity of the message we want to convey. It's clear Whiteboard Geeks has in-depth knowledge of what's happening in healthcare transformation and population health. This made our partnership even more successful in that we were able to leverage their insight to make a successful video.
The team at Whiteboard Geeks is beyond exceptional, and they know how to take complex ideas and create a visually compelling message that resonates with unique audiences and helps ignite new thought patterns within the company culture. They are well-versed in the healthcare space, and they understand the value of great communication when it comes to discussing transformation and population health. Furthermore, the team is energized, creative and organized, and they helped us evolve a single idea into a measurable, engaging, widespread communications initiative."
Part 3: Quality Measures & The Podcast
Two and a half years after the Whiteboard videos, VHAN was chugging along with their transition to a population health model. But, as we know, change is not something that happens once. It is a continuous process of transformation. And that requires continuous training, follow up, and support.
In 2021, the issue was CODING. This is generally referred to as “quality measures”, a way for Hospital systems to definitely measure the holistic care they are offering. How many mammograms are we doing? How many of the women over 40 are scheduling them in our system? Smoking cessation is another.
But one area that impedes a lot of (let’s be honest, all of) hospital systems in the US right now is getting their clinicians to enter the right condition codes for patients in the EHR.
For example. If you are a primary care physician in rural Tennessee, and your patient Emily Whitaker, aged 65, comes in complaining of her arthristis, you need to make sure that code is entered on her health record. It’s confusing and hard to remember, but the WHY behind accurate coding is the first thing clinicians need to understand before training on the HOW can happen.
Mallory had been hosting individualized coding webinar sessions for the different hospitals in VHAN, and it was working. Around 30 people showed up each time. But some systems were not up to par on coding their patients with all the conditions they had. If a patient had breast cancer last year, it might not show up as a condition this year. But this is crucial information for the health system to have to make sure that patient has access to the diet and support care they need.
189 out of 1300 downloads at first 3 episodes = 14.5% DOWNLOAD RATE!
Baseline = Webinar attendance rate of 42%
Compare by sheer numbers = 39 for episode 2 beats their highest attendance of a webinar EVER!
Someone from the UK reached out to Matthew Rosenberger!
The Marketing Culture on the MME Podcast:
Want to listen to a podcast episode Mallory and Megan Pruce recorded with us in 2018 for our Medical Marketing Executive Podcast?
Check it out here:
Use your internal department heads to spread your important message! People open emails from their bosses.
Use character-driven storytelling to create the emotional drive for a big change. Population health in hospitals is nothing short of a revolution. In order to get everyone emotionally on board, you need to tell a story that explains the WHY instead of just blasting them with stats and facts.
Use multiple forms of media to engage your internal audience. Doctors especially loved the podcast because they could listen to it in their car on their commute to catch up on important news from within the health system.
Don’t be afraid to make it fun. Using storytelling, interesting new media and memorable stories are how you break through the noise. Try creating content that you yourself would want to consume, or create something your employees would want to show their spouses!
Follow the numbers. VHAN is a fundamentally metrics-driven organization. From the use of their centralized Hub for coms to counting webinar attendance, they knew what success looked like before starting a new initiative. If you don’t know a baseline, you don’t know if you’re winning. And let me tell you, Vanderbilt is winning.
Written by Whiteboard Geeks
Here are a few choice quotes from that interview:
“We have an incredible task ahead of us. It’s an incredible lift. Traditional healthcare is a relatively controlled model… and our system includes 60 hospitals. It’s an indirect approach - you have to put different gas behind it. We have to enact change that enacts change.”
Don't be afraid to get dirty with operations. You need to know the mechanics of how things get delivered and get done. Marketing is how we get leading indicators of change. Claims data is lagging. We can tell who is engaged and who is engaging with it.”