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AMENDOLA COMMUNICATIONS APPOINTS MEGAN SMITH AS SENIOR ACCOUNT DIRECTOR

Specialist in integrated communications and digital strategies joins award-winning healthcare PR team

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., Nov.  27, 2018 – Amendola Communications, a nationally recognized, award-winning healthcare and technology public relations and marketing agency, today announced that Megan Smith has joined the agency as senior account director.

Megan H. Smith

Smith joins Amendola with more than a decade of public relations, marketing and account management experience in healthcare, technology and ecommerce. During her career, Smith has held increasingly responsible positions with Edelman and Dodge Communications, where she helped companies build and execute strategic communications and marketing programs, leveraging traditional PR, marketing communications and digital strategies to evolve, promote and protect her clients’ brands.

Most recently, Smith served as the Director of Client Services and ecommerce for EYStudios, a specialty ecommerce web design and development firm. In this role, she helped build relationships with more than 25 clients and provided counsel on how to grow their business through increasing traffic and improving conversions as well as content marketing.

“Megan brings a remarkable skillset and history of success in integrated communications campaigns and digital strategies to her role as senior account director,” said Jodi Amendola, CEO of Amendola Communications. “Her in-depth experience, proven creativity, and reputation for exceptional client relations will help ensure that our clients receive strategic guidance along the best path to continued growth.”

Smith holds an MBA in Marketing from Georgia State University and a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations from the University of Georgia.

Media Contact:
Marcia Rhodes
Amendola Communications
480.664.8412 ext. 15
mrhodes@acmarketingpr.com

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PR and Marcom Veteran Linda Healan Joins Amendola Communications

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., May 16, 2018—Amendola Communications, a nationally recognized, award-winning healthcare and healthcare technology public relations and marketing agency, announced today that Linda Healan has joined the agency as senior account & content director.

Healan brings more than 23 years of experience building, managing and executing PR and marketing communications programs for B2B technology, healthcare technology, and professional services leaders. Most recently, she operated her own well-regarded marketing communications consultancy, Healan PR, with clients that included IBM, Broadsoft and Emerson Electronics. Prior to that, Healan held roles of increasing responsibility for national and international public relations and marketing agencies.

“Linda brings a deep set of skills and experience launching companies and promoting brands and products across a broad spectrum of technologies,” said agency CEO Jodi Amendola. “We are confident she will deliver value to our healthcare/HIT clients from day one.”

“I’ve worked with Jodi and the Amendola team over the years and I am grateful for the opportunity to join the A-team and contribute to the agency’s ongoing growth,” Healan said. “I thoroughly enjoy working with healthcare and HIT organizations and look forward to supporting them strategically through earned, owned and shared media channels.”

Healan will create and manage client programs, provide strategic counsel and positioning, and pitch media and digital influencers for the agency’s healthcare/healthcare IT clients. She holds a B.A. in Journalism from Georgia State University in Atlanta.

To download a picture of Healan, click here.

 

Media Contact: Marcia Rhodes | 480.664.8412 x 15 | mrhodes@acmarketingpr.com

Why Strategy Matters (but Action Matters More) When It Comes to PR

Why Strategy Matters (but Action Matters More) When It Comes to PR

We’ve all heard of analysis paralysis—the state of over-analyzing or over-thinking a situation so much that a decision is never made and the outcome is impacted. Recently I’ve been witnessing a curious yet similar phenomenon at healthcare IT companies across the country—and the analysis paralysis is all about “strategy.” As in overall corporate strategy and direction.

In short, these companies are all about strategic planning, but in the end they seem to come out of it having virtually no strategic plans. They’re all about all-day strategy meetings which result in no strategy but rather more questions that prompt more all-day meetings—and shockingly, yet still no strategy.

From the outside looking in, this cycle is an endless hamster wheel that leaves team members feeling tired rather than energized, frustrated rather than empowered, and most troublingly, so terrified that their actions won’t follow the still-to-be-approved (or never-to-be-approved) strategy that they simply don’t act. This inaction can be minor or major as it builds up over time but it’s always detrimental.

Back to basics to get results 

Their “strategic focus,” while well-intentioned, sets companies on the wrong path in the short and long-term, especially in regards to PR which should have a constant, ongoing cadence to create momentum and maximize results.

While company strategies can be complicated and have a profound impact on PR efforts, many aspects of PR strategy are quite uncomplicated. In fact, there are core tenets which are quite basic and fundamental to any sound PR plan. There are the pillars that cannot be disputed – so they need not be delayed regardless of executive indecision.

Whether your strategy is set or you’re one of many stuck on the endless hamster wheel, these four actions are key to success. They are mission-critical, and safely fit into any PR strategy for 2018 and beyond:

1. Write and distribute press releases

It sounds like a no-brainer but for many companies it’s not because they live in fear of being “off brand” or “misaligned.” They live in fear of putting out too many press releases yet not enough press releases. Those fears are unwarranted though since your company is doing good work. Why shouldn’t it be shared? Did you develop a new product? Let’s write a release. Did you sign a new customer? Let’s write a release. Is your CEO speaking at an industry event? Let’s write a release.

Writing a press release is one of the simplest ways to communicate what’s happening and why it matters. Distributing those press releases positions your company as a key player and thought leader in the ongoing industry dialogue. It’s not complicated. It doesn’t need to be debated – and as long as you’re not regularly putting out more than 2-4 press releases per month, you’re not overdoing it. So, just do it.

2. Highlight your customer’s success stories

Once again, it sounds like a no-brainer. You have customers. They like your products. They like your team. They have achieved impressive results that they’re willing to share. Let them be your advocates. Capture their stories in writing. Put them in front of reporters who are eager to hear from both executives and end-users at provider organizations. It’s as simple as that. Just like with press releases, these customer success stories illustrate that your company is doing good work – and that’s what makes more customers want to work with you, which of course is one of the biggest end goals of any strategy. It’s not complicated. It doesn’t need to be debated. As long as your customers are singing your praises, hand over the microphone and let them sing.

3. Emphasize your expertise

In addition to highlighting your clients, highlight your company’s thought leaders. After all, they are also doing good work (you may see a pattern here). They have knowledge to share. They have ideas to contribute. They are the faces of your company – and you need some faces even if you don’t have a final strategy. This action can mean authoring bylined articles or blogs on their behalf or pitching them as experts for media interviews. By positioning your executives and SMEs as thought leaders and joining the industry conversation, you’re helping to make your company a go-to source for future media opportunities. It’s not complicated. It doesn’t need to be debated – and it would really be a shame for their knowledge to go to waste.

4. Educate your sales team about PR efforts

Regardless of strategy indecision, your sales team needs to close deals. There is nothing off-strategy about building your business. Media placements from your PR efforts are one of the most powerful but underutilized tools in your sales team toolkits. Obviously, sales prospects are not interested in the same information as the media. In fact, they may be turned off by being sent a press release about a new client that just signed on. However, they may be very interested in press coverage from well-regarded industry publications that profile your company news, thought leadership, and customer success stories. That is not only informative but also adds credibility – and implies that you want to keep them in the know.

Similarly, if one of your client case studies is featured in a third-party publication, that’s a prime opportunity to reach out, share the article and offer a reference call with the client quoted. It’s not complicated. It doesn’t need to be debated – and if you’re earning media placements it is certainly a shame not to use them to their fullest potential.

It’s time to get off the hamster wheel—and get on with the real work that makes a difference.

Networking Lessons

You Just Never Know – the Networking Lesson My Parents Taught Me

Some people network the traditional way. They attend networking events, dinners, and happy hours. Or they join membership organizations, serve on boards, etc.

The planned socials are not really my thing, though. Rather, I have built much of our public relations agency’s success on being open to engaging others, at just about any time, place or event. That’s a lesson I learned from my mom and dad!

They always pushed me to talk to everyone. I can still hear my Dad say: “Go talk to him. You never know where it will lead!” and “Go say ‘hi’ to her. You never know who she knows.”

Not surprisingly, my parents were right and today it’s a philosophy I live by: network with everyone. You just never know! I have built my business on the unintentional events and truly believe that one experience leads to the next.

Here’s a great example. I recently received a LinkedIn note from someone looking for a national healthcare/pharma PR agency; her CEO had suggested she meet with me. Of course, it felt great hearing that the CEO remembered me and our high quality work—especially since it had to be at least 12 years ago that he engaged us.

A meeting was scheduled. We barely got into the office when the lady said, “I can’t believe how you and Michael met. What a funny story!” To be honest, I had totally forgotten but when she gave me some details, it jogged my memory and wow, it was a good story!

Michael and I met at a car wash. Yes, a car wash!! It was a Friday afternoon and we were both waiting for our cars to be done. My mom, who was with me, engaged Michael in conversation. When she learned he was in healthcare—she proceeded to sell him on my services!

There are not too many people in the healthcare/healthcare IT/pharma public relations space in Arizona, and Michael was impressed that I knew the lingo. We exchanged cards and met the following week at Starbuck’s. We did some project work for them and then lost touch … until now.

Here’s another example. Jim R. was a neighbor of mine. We were chatting at a pool party and became family friends. He was an entrepreneur and encouraged me to start my own business. I had been thinking about doing just that, and Jim’s encouragement gave me the extra push I needed. He also became a client and remains a good friend today.

And one more example—one of my favorites–about how I met Gregg C. in the taxi line at the Dallas airport. In town for the HIMSS convention, along with tens of thousands of others, the line stretched on forever. Finally, the man managing it all yelled out, “Anyone else going to the convention center?”

Gregg and I got into the same taxi (pre-Uber days, of course!), and soon fell into conversation all the way into the city. It turned out Gregg was a top exec at Intel, and also from Arizona. At the time, I worked for a different healthcare IT PR agency, and Gregg said that Intel might need some specialized healthcare PR. He introduced me to a colleague, Chris, and the rest is history – Intel’s Internet healthcare division became one of the agency’s clients.

But it gets better. I invited Chris to an event. She brought her colleague, Kate. I remained friends with Kate long after the engagement with Intel ended. In fact, years later when I launched my own PR agency, I reached out to Kate, and hired her to start our marketing department. Now, 14 years later, Kate is a vital part of Amendola, still leading our marketing efforts and so much more!

Networking has continued to build Amendola Communications. It was about eight years ago that I got a call from Jim G. He looked me up because I led his company’s PR efforts decades before. We not only re-connected but became great friends, attending HIT meetings and network events together, and cross-referring business leads.

Jim referred me to so many great HIT influencers that today, I rarely participate in RFPs. I don’t need to. Between my many years in the business, networking with editors, clients, and others, business leads just come in.

Of course, it is also a testament to my team and the agency that we have so many repeat clients: Doug, a four- time Amendola client; Jay, a three- time Amendola client; Brett, a three-time Amendola client; Steve, a two-time Amendola client; Michele, a two-time Amendola client; Laura, a two-time Amendola client. And the list goes on and on.

Mom and Dad were right. You just never know what that one connection will lead to! Why not connect with us today? At the very least, you’ll have a free, no-obligation consultation with the healthcare IT industry’s leading public relations agency. Shoot me an email at jamendola@acmarketingpr.com. I can’t wait to hear from you!

Amendola Communications Adds Health IT Veteran as Company Continues Expansion

Leading health IT PR/marketing firm brings on award-winning healthcare journalist as company further extends its national client roster and market footprint

Scottsdale, ARIZ.—February 6, 2018—Amendola Communications, a national public relations, branding, content marketing and digital marketing firm that specializes in health information technology, announced today that Ken Terry, an award-winning journalist and business writer, has joined the company as a full-time writer.

To download a headshot of Ken Terry, click here.

Terry was formerly a senior editor at Medical Economics Magazine, focusing on managed care and health IT, and then held freelancer roles where he contributed regularly to Medical Economics, Medscape Medical News, InformationWeek Healthcare, FierceHealthIT, CIO.com and Hospitals & Health Networks. He received journalism awards from the American Society of Business Publication Editors (2000), the American Society of Healthcare Publication Editors (2001-2002) and American Business Media, which gave him a Neal award in 2007. In addition, Terry authored the book Rx For Health Care Reform.

Terry also wrote white papers, bylined articles, case studies and press releases for a number of firms in the health IT sector. Among the companies that commissioned his work were IBM Watson Health, Phytel, AT&T, Microsoft, McKesson, Allscripts and the Institute for Health Technology Transformation.

“Ken Terry brings a wealth of experience in healthcare journalism to our company, which leads the health IT PR and marketing field,” said Jodi Amendola, CEO of Amendola Communications. “His depth of knowledge about technology solutions and his insights into the rapidly evolving healthcare environment will give our clients an extra edge in communicating their message. We welcome Ken to our team at a time when the demand for our services is greater than ever. His expertise, combined with that of our existing ‘A-Team’ members, will drive Amendola to new heights of excellence.”

Media Contact:  Jodi Amendola

 

HealthBI Names Amendola Communications Agency of Record for PR and Content Marketing

Company behind nation’s most widely used care management system for pop health taps HIT PR agency to promote its solutions for value-based and integrated care

SCOTTSDALE, AZ—Nov. 28, 2017–Amendola Communications, an award-winning healthcare marketing and public relations agency, is thrilled to add population health technology pioneer HealthBI to its customer family. Amendola will be a key player in HealthBI’s plans for rapid growth in 2018, promoting solutions that are already the most widely deployed of their kind while expanding awareness of the company as a visionary thought leader in value-based and integrated care.

These thought leadership messages will be of particular importance in 2018 as more payers engage providers in risk-based contracts. Under such reimbursement models, payers and providers must enter into a newly collaborative relationship and share tools that give insight into the patient’s real time picture of health. HealthBI is not only a knowledgeable vendor of the technology solutions needed, it has a keen understanding of how to enable provider adoption—indeed, embrace—of healthcare that focuses on quality and better outcomes.

“Jodi Amendola and her team at Amendola Communications clearly get the HealthBI value proposition. With their deep and broad understanding of the healthcare landscape, we are confident that we have selected the ideal partner to promote our mission far and wide,” said Scott McFarland, President, HealthBI.

Amendola will help build HealthBI’s thought leadership profile through a mix of targeted media relations, byline article placements, and strategic speaking opportunities. Additionally, the agency is helping HealthBI produce a knowledge library that will feature case studies and guides on a range of topics—from using technology to reduce unnecessary high utilization of ED and acute care, to successfully integrating behavioral healthcare and primary care, to spurring provider adoption of quality and performance monitoring.

“Very soon after our introduction to HealthBI, we realized this company is poised to help the healthcare industry fully embrace value-based care and integrated care. Given the tremendously positive impact these models of care are set to make, it is incredibly exciting to help HealthBI advance its mission,” said Jodi Amendola, CEO, Amendola Communications.

Breaking down the barriers to better models of care

Value-based care holds the key to gaining control of our ballooning national health bill, yet the transition has been difficult for providers and payers to make. In a parallel development, the movement to integrate medical and mental healthcare may finally help improve outcomes for a long-underserved population, yet this shift, too, has been challenging to navigate.

HealthBI’s technology solutions and health data expertise are aimed at making the transitions to these new models of care successful and cost-effective. The company’s flagship care management and care coordination platform brings all care teams together to improve outcomes for even the highest risk patients, while helping both payers and providers meet quality measures.

About HealthBI
Headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona, HealthBI was created by a team of industry leaders and physicians to fill the need for tools that enable health care payers and providers to reduce admissions and readmissions, automate care transition and improved value-based care performance and HEDIS outcomes. Today, the company’s care management and care coordination platform for population health management is the most widely deployed in the nation—used in over 60,000 clinical sites across 50 states. HealthBI customers have reported results that span from a 25 percent decrease in 30 day re-admits to a nearly 300 percent improvement in closing gaps in patient care. To learn more about HealthBI, visit healthbi.com and follow HealthBI on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Jodi Amendola | jamendola@acmarketingpr.com |602-614-3182

Facts Tell But Stories Sell

“Story telling is the oldest form of teaching,” Matt Cavallo declared when we met on May 23. I couldn’t agree more. Great story telling has always intrigued me. Maybe that’s why I’m in PR. I have always believed that behind every organization is a zealous individual with an epic story waiting to be shared. It’s usually the CEO or founder, though not always.

Matt is a passionate patient advocate who dedicates his life to the fight against multiple sclerosis. He has been named among the top 10 Social HealthMakers by WCG and his blog was selected as one of Healthline’s top multiple sclerosis picks in 2015. His story of being diagnosed and overcoming the physical and emotional challenges associated with having a chronic disease can be read in his memoir, The Dog Story: A Journey into a New Life with Multiple Sclerosis.

What started as a simple half-hour meet-and-greet with Amendola Communications agency staff turned into a 90-minute conversation. Who has that kind of time, you ask? Well, Matt knew how to keep our attention: he had us laughing one moment and fighting back tears the next. It’s a skill few people have but many aspire to. This ability to connect comes in really handy during media interviews at large trade shows (such as HIMSS) where our PR clients (health IT vendors) get to pitch their product or solution to editors who decide on the spot whether they care enough to write about them…or not.

GetWellNetwork® founder and CEO Michael O’Neil was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma at the age of 28. While the medical outcome was excellent, the patient experience was challenging. After four cycles of chemotherapy, he started GetWellNetwork to help hospitals improve performance and outcomes through patient engagement. Michael and his team work tirelessly to ensure the voice of the patient is heard. Today, more than 4.6 million patients use GetWellNetwork technology to engage in their healthcare. Take a minute to watch Michael tell his story in this short video.

Growing up in a family of doctors, ClearDATA CEO Darin Brannan got a firsthand look at the challenges healthcare practitioners face in treating patients using paper and outdated technology. It made him painfully aware of the number of people who die each day as a result of medical errors long before it became national news.

Despite the availability of electronic health records and other technologies that were supposed to solve the problem, reports show that more than 1,000 people still die each day due to medical errors. At the center of this seeming disconnect is a lack of cohesiveness among advanced information technologies. Darin believes that, “Healthcare is less of a science problem, it’s more of an information problem.”

In 2011, he co-founded ClearDATA to apply his cloud computing expertise to healthcare in order to remove the technical obstacles inhibiting patient safety and costing lives. Today, ClearDATA is recognized by organizations such as CB Insights as a leading healthcare information security services company, with $54 million in funding and a customer portfolio that includes some of the largest healthcare providers in the nation.

Dave Bennett, EVP, Orion Health, is passionate about precision medicine. He often tells the story about his son, Carter, who has cystic fibrosis (CF). Here is how he tells it.

Carter’s story

About a decade ago, my oldest son, Carter, was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis.

Like most kids with CF, Carter had a host of physical problems, like lung infections due to mucous build-up and thrive issues due to pancreas blockage. In eighth grade his lungs needed a thorough cleaning, so he was hospitalized and homebound for three consecutive weeks with a PICC line.

Five years ago, Vertex Pharmaceuticals released a drug designed to address Carter’s specific genetic variation of CF, one that only four percent of patients have.

But when I told Carter’s doctor about it, he said it wouldn’t help Carter because he didn’t have that genetic variation.

Once I pressed the doctor to review 60 pages of Carter’s data, however, the doctor soon reversed his position.

“This is a game changer,” he said.

Now let’s be clear: Carter’s doctor is a great doctor. But he didn’t have the tools to help him analyze that 60 pages of data and connect my son to a promising new drug therapy that went on to stabilize his lung function, end his annual sinus surgeries, eliminate his regular bronchial scopes, made his ED visits a thing of the past, and allowed him to flourish into a six-foot-two-inch, 225-pound captain of his high-school football team. Today, Carter is a thriving college student, our payers don’t have to pay for all the procedures mentioned above anymore, and his mom and I don’t worry about him one bit.

That is the promise of precision medicine exemplified. But in the future, rather than rely on a highly interested advocate—like a parent who’s passionate about precision medicine—to provide that cognitive support, payers and providers will be able to rely on technology that synthesizes and analyzes the data (e.g., those 60 pages Carter’s doctor couldn’t effortlessly process) and utilize it in the right context at the right time.

“This is my mission,” Dave tells journalists. “I want to help doctors and patients in making decisions about what will help them. To do this work, you really need focus at the mission level, because it’s going to change healthcare for the better and make a difference in people’s lives.”

Are you a timid first-time speaker or a talented expert?

Public speaking tips for the timid and the talented

Whether you are a health IT professional, in the PR world or a practicing clinician, chances are you’ve spoken in a public forum at some point in your career. Perhaps you’ve delivered a presentation at a HIMSS conference that included a great health IT ROI story. Maybe your biggest presentation was in front of a hospital finance committee to expound the virtues of a particular software platform. Or, possibly the highlight of your public speaking career so far has been the delivery of a departmental update for other company leaders.

Regardless of the size of your audience or your level of expertise, you likely remember your first big public speaking opportunity. Mine was in my early 20s while working on my MBA.

All incoming MBA students were required to take a core introductory course that included the development of a business plan and culminated with an in-class presentation. I don’t recall all the specifics about my presentation, but I do remember having the highest average in the class prior to my big public speaking debut.

Here’s something else remember: I was scared to death at the thought of standing up before my professor and 20 or so peers to deliver my business plan. I am sure I was reasonably prepared and knew my content, but I was still terrified. I vividly recall three things about that presentation: 1) I was sweating profusely; 2) when I spoke, my voice was squeaky, breathy and about two octaves higher than normal; 3) I earned the lowest grade in the class for the delivery part of my presentation.

Public speaking comes easily to many people. Most of us, however, are at least a little nervous that our audience will somehow reject us and view us as uninformed, unintelligent, ill-prepared or boring (the worst reaction in my mind!). If you share these fears – and it is preventing you from stepping up in front of a crowd to expound your great wisdom, wit and/or work and life experiences – then consider a few public speaking tips that have worked for me over the years.

Preparation breeds confidence
I spent the first half of my career selling billing and EMR systems to physician offices, which required doing product demonstrations of the software to doctors and their staffs. Before I ever gave my first demo, I knew my stuff cold and had spent hours practicing what to say and how to say it. When I demonstrated the software in front of prospects for the first time, I nailed it – and I didn’t break out into a sweat, nor speak in a squeaky voice. And yes, I made the sale.

What I learned from that experience is that I was not one of those type of people who can “wing it” when giving a presentation. And truthfully, even those presenters who appear to be winging it have probably spent hours practicing so that the delivery appears effortless, authoritative and off-the-cuff. Practice breeds confidence.

Get help
Over the years, I have benefited from some excellent mentors who provided constructive feedback and helped me overcome my public speaking fears. I also had the incredible opportunity to work with a professional speaking coach who helped me with some speaking nuances, such as how to stand and how to project my voice. I’m still not the most dynamic and accomplished speaker out there, but over the years I’ve given hundreds of presentations and have even been paid to speak on various health IT-related topics.

Almost a year ago, one of my Amendola mentors encouraged me to join Toastmasters to further hone my speaking skills. While I was initially skeptical – would everyone be a nerd? or shy introverts with no personality? perhaps retirees with nothing better to do? – I have been pleasantly surprised by the mix of people in my club. It includes a variety of professionals in diverse careers, all of whom are fun and dedicated to self-improvement. Toastmasters has given me the opportunity to deliver prepared speeches once or twice a month, as well as speak extemporaneously on random subjects. It’s provided an excellent forum for practicing speech organization and delivery, and for receiving feedback that pushes me to strive for continuous improvement.

Content counts
One key to making sure you don’t bore your audience is to talk about something that is interesting to you. If you’re enthusiastic about the topic, your audience will feed off your energy, even if they previously never knew a thing about the subject.

If for some reason you must present on a topic that doesn’t inspire you, find a way to personalize your speech. No one wants to just hear facts and figures, so if you’re talking about the history of widgets, bring in some sort of human element to make the subject more compelling. Perhaps share your personal experience with widgets and throw in a little widget humor. Let your personality shine, regardless of the topic.

Finally, if you are discussing a topic that the audience knows well, don’t spend too much time repeating what they probably already know. Instead, introduce a fresh angle, whether it’s your unique insight or an analogy that connects the topic with a current news story. And humor never hurts!

Say it with style

Sometimes what makes for a great presentation is not so much what you say but how you say it. If I ever need inspiration for a Toastmasters speech, I will search Youtube and watch a few experts in action. Little things, like vocal variety, facial expressions and body movement can make a speech so much more captivating. I also believe that short sentences, vivid words and dramatic pauses are a great way to keep your audience engaged.

When you first try stylizing a presentation in this way you might feel like an imposter putting on a performance. But, the more you introduce these creative elements into your speech, the easier it gets. In time, you will find a style that feels comfortable – or at least like less of an imposter.

Finally, my best public speaking tip is to try to have fun. And, don’t be Robin!

Industry analysts offer their predictions on hot trends for 2017

Industry Analysts’ Predictions for 2017

HIMSS is now a distant memory and you’re struggling to remember what happened last week, let alone the show’s key takeaways. Never fear, I’ve got you covered! I reached out to several top industry analysts with whom I’ve worked for years, as well a Health 2.0 co-founder, and summarized the key themes. Consider it your industry crystal ball reading for 2017.

 #1 — Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be the bright, shiny object of 2017.

 Barry Runyon, Research VP, Gartner:

“AI, analytics, interoperability and cybersecurity seemed pretty pervasive [at HIMSS17] – AI in particular.”

Sven Lohse: Healthcare IT Services Strategies, IDC Health Insights:

“For the first time at scale, HIMSS17 showcased applications of artificial intelligence and machine learning technology in the healthcare context with promise for improving operations, finance and care delivery.”

Matthew Guldin, Senior Analyst, Chilmark Research:

“AI and machine learning seemed to dominate as the buzzword(s) of HIMSS17. Finding actual use cases was a bit more challenging, but there were vendors that were demonstrating its potential value around medication refills, pre-visit planning and virtual health coaching.”

#2 Population health and care management/coordination will receive a face-lift with voice assistants, cloud-based platforms and the seemingly ubiquitous AI.

Nancy Fabozzi, Principal Analyst, Transformational Health, Frost & Sullivan

“Voice is the next big user interface for computing and truly something to get excited about for its potential in healthcare, especially voice assistants for care management and patient engagement. Amazon’s Alexa is taking the lead here and many new companies will emerge to support this important trend. Merck’s new partnership with Amazon to support voice-enabled solutions for chronic disease management is a very positive development; we will be watching this one closely.”

Matthew Holt, Co-founder of Health 2.0

“[At HIMSS]…the new cloud-based population health and analytics systems showed promise, if not yet penetration.”

Matthew Guldin, Senior Analyst, Chilmark Research:

“If providers are going to be effective at scaling their present care management programs, a much higher degree of automation will be required with the application of this [AI and machine learning] technology in care management applications playing a critical role.”

Deanne Kasim, Founding Partner, Santesys Solutions

“Regardless of the outcome of “repeal and replace,” value-based reimbursement and better care coordination are here to stay and will only grow in importance.”

#3 Blockchain may be the answer to the interoperability and cybersecurity questions.

 Sven Lohse: Healthcare IT Services Strategies, IDC Health Insights:

“Blockchain in healthcare also garnered significant attention with multiple [HIMSS] sessions highlighting how blockchain could solve such challenges as interoperability, security and making healthcare transactions more transparent.”

Deanne Kasim, Founding Partner, Santesys Solutions

“Look for blockchain to be a bigger topic at HIMSS18.”

#4 Bonus thoughts: TCO & bringing people back into the equation. 

 Barry Runyon, Research VP, Gartner:

“Looking around, I think the TCO of IT is going to become a bigger issue.”

Barbara McGann – Chief Resource Officer at Horses for Sources; FSH Research

“While at HIMSS, I saw an endless variety of technology offerings, and among them, people—physicians, EMTs, nurses, patients, caregivers—all of whom want a healthier society. We need to not only connect the systems for interoperability, but also connect the individuals. IT professionals need to be just as excited as doctors, nurses and caregivers about truly changing people’s lives through healthcare in order to really have an impact.”

Deanne Kasim, Founding Partner, Santesys Solutions

“I noticed more focus on the Social Determinants of Health (SDoH), but vendors have different approaches in terms of what data they have and how it is used. I think the industry is just beginning to tap the potential here of how to access and use this information.”

Finally, my personal prediction: Regardless of your technology, product or service, 2017 will offer endless possibilities for growth if you follow best practices, execute efficiently and take advantage of strategic industry guidance. The A-team is here to help! Contact us at @AmendolaComm or at info@acmarketingpr.com.