Stephanie Burton

Four Things I’ve Learned During the First 24 Hours at #SHSMD16

By Stephanie Burton on September 12, 2016

Oh, SHSMD, how I love thee. I consistently leave your conferences exhausted, two pounds heavier, my wallet brimming with business cards and my mind full of insights that will help me tackle challenges in the year ahead.

So far, this year’s conference has delivered exactly as expected. Here are a few things I’m taking away after just the first 24 hours of conferencing.

  1. It’s a slow burn, but healthcare marketers have the ability to make change happen. I remember attending SHSMD in 2008 when talk of Facebook would have been laughed at (that’s for teenagers, right?). Today, I saw a Tweet from Chris Boyer that nicely summarizes the progress we’ve worked so hard to achieve: “Seeing more and more case studies that eliminate the silos between digital, patient experience & digital at hospitals. Good sign. #SHSMD16” Indeed, it is.
  2. Measurement isn’t everything. “Let’s not get so excited about measuring something that we think those measurements matter,” Mitch Wasden, chief executive officer, The University of Missouri Health Care reminded us during, “The Naked CEO: Surveys say CEOs are not impressed with marketing. Let’s ask, ‘Why.’” Don’t worry, I don’t think his intention was to discount the value of measurement. It’s absolutely critical. But, it was refreshing to hear a CEO acknowledge that traditional media such as TV is often a more effective way to tell a story than a Facebook post. True dat.
  3. It IS possible to measure the value of marketing with three simple pieces of data. Alicia Shoemaker, senior account manager, and Michael Walsh, senior interactive strategist, both with Nationwide Children’s Hospital, challenged the notion that a healthcare marketer needs a CRM platform to prove worth. In fact, just by knowing a name, gender and date of birth, their team was able to assign an medical record number to patients who responded to a call to action and then follow them for up to two years. The result? Nearly 30 converted patients across two service lines with more than $1.2 million in gross revenue.
  4. Change isn’t always good. During her keynote address, Barbara Fehey, PhD, MA, RN and President and Founder, Fahey Associates, Inc. told us companies that survive have three to six core values that NEVER change. That’s some pretty powerful stuff.

So, that’s what this tired healthcare marketer has for the time being. What have you learned? What will you change when you venture back home? What’s made the biggest impression on you in the first 24 hours?


Stephanie (Hungerford) Burton is the Healthcare Marketing Director at Core Creative.