Tag Archives: Healthcare

Teresa Chin – The isolated nurse who created a community of 60,000

Teresa felt isolated in her nursing career so took to Twitter to find nurses who felt the same. She is now the driving force behind @WeNurses, a modern day online nursing revolution with over 60,000 active followers sharing information, ideas, knowledge and support in order to improve patient care.

In healthcare circles Teresa Chin is a social media guru, a skilled communicator, connector of people and a conversation starter, that is as long as those conversations are 140 characters or less.

Back in the 1990s Teresa worked as a nurse in a variety of different roles before becoming an agency nurse and working predominantly in elderly care. She said, “Being an agency nurse allowed me to balance my work and life commitments very well. The downside is that you don’t belong to any single team and have to seek out your own on going training. I felt quite isolated, and after a rant at my husband Nick, he suggested connecting with other nurses via Twitter.” Teresa had not yet embraced social media and at first dismissed the idea feeling reluctant to communicate with people she had never met. However after continual encouragement from her husband she decided to set up an account.

She started out anonymously as @AgencyNurse in 2010 and began tweeting about articles she’d read or new things at work. This sparked conversations quite quickly which both surprised and encouraged Teresa. She then created the @WeNurses Twitter handle to organise Twitter discussions every other Thursday. Teresa soon realised that there were lots of nurses who really wanted to discuss various topics from employment rights to new policies in healthcare. It was clear to her that social media could be a great way to engage nurses, to start discussions and help the large nursing community. She then decided to create a website for WeNurses to become an online community that could share the Twitter discussions. This started in 2012. “From early on Nick helped me out with the technical side, setting up the social accounts, building websites, integrating Twitter into the sites and making sure all the conversations were captured.”

WeNurses quickly grew, attracting healthcare professionals from all over the world with the current count on Twitter being nearly 60,000 active followers. As a result of this success lots of people started contacting Teresa asking if she could initiate discussions on specific subjects and in 2014 Teresa decided to set up WeCommunities which is a virtual space that could connect, drive and support specific tweeting communities within the medical world. WeCommunities hold discussions on chosen subjects, then all of the information from the chats are logged and stored on the site. This bank of resources is constantly growing and amassing ground breaking information, links to sites, journal articles, infographics and other important information that otherwise would be hard to get hold of. There is also a ‘Twitterversity’ which is a step-by-step guide to using Twitter on a professional level. Teresa said, “One of the most interesting discussions we had was when Plymouth University contacted me and wanted to run a discussion around sustainability in the NHS, but they wanted to include their colleagues in Spain. So initially we had half the people tweeting in English and half tweeting in Spanish. Within about 15 minutes people we knew who were English started using Google Translate to tweet in Spanish and vice versa. It was great fun as well as a great discussion.” Ideas and opinions can now be shared outside the confines of a specific hospital and experts worldwide can feed into these global conversations, improving knowledge and shaping day-to-day practice.

WeNurses are coming up to their fifth birthday and although Teresa has had lots of amazing feedback, it has been a tough journey. What drives her she said, was that feeling of being disconnected from other nurses, which she didn’t want anybody else to feel. She was also determined to succeed after various bosses told her it couldn’t be done. As well as online support, Teresa has also had recognition from ‘very high up’. She came home one day to see a letter on the floor that had ‘On Her Majesty’s Service’ stamped at the top.  She thought it was a parking ticket. It wasn’t. It was an MBE nomination for her services to nursing. “This was such a honour and as soon as the community found out I was receiving an MBE, Twitter went mad.”

Around 50% of the population use social media, and Teresa’s goal is to get at least 50% of nurses using social media as a professional platform. Teresa may have started out trying to stay ahead of the ever evolving policies and training within the NHS, but she has inadvertently ended up amassing an army of professionals who are now fully embracing the power of social media and are redefining the way information is shared within the healthcare industry.

www.wecommunities.org

The future is bright

We believe that the future is bright, that health will improve and that progressive pharma will be successful. Led by emerging science, amplified by technology and powered by engaged patients.

The scale and impact of progress, will be at the discretion of a new breed of physician, the millennial HCP (mHCP). Digitally native, their number increases year-on-year.

Of course, they exhibit many of the traits of their predecessors; knowledge, empathy, ambition. We’re comfortable with the healthcare professional in them. But what about this other side – the millennial? What does it mean when your homework group included Google and Wikipedia? When you spent 14 months of your medical education online? And when you haven’t written by hand for more than a month?

Millennials are visual. They choose SnapChat, YouTube and Instagram. 72% of them use emojis to communicate their emotions – no language has ever grown more quickly.

Millennials are visual

Millennials are visual

Millennials embrace progress. 95% make positive associations with the word ‘change’. Their digital tools of choice are in a constant state of beta, as they look to optimise their digital being.

Millennials demand more. They believe big business should take as much responsibility as the government. And, as illustrated by the UK Government and Junior Doctor dispute, they believe in collective power.

It would be wrong to define this generation by their birth certificates, and to suggest that this population only includes those born after 1980. Instead, it is a generation that was forged in the last two decades as its members immersed themselves in a new world. Their habits and personalities have evolved with the technology around them. Put simply, they are digital.

In this world, insight, creativity and design are more important than ever. CREATIVE agencies have a critical role to play, aiding and supporting mHCPs to leverage the science and technology at their disposal.

Scientific knowledge has been, and always will be, the critical capability of physicians. The shift, is in their expertise and confidence with technology. And our opportunity is to recognise these new skills, supporting mHCPs in improving outcomes.

Capabilities

Capabilities

Much of the industry boasts an exciting pipeline of products. As we look to build these brands and partner with healthcare professionals, let’s not forget the millennial within them 😉

To find out more about the impact of the millennial generation on healthcare, sign up for the new white paper, podcast, and YouTube series from Havas Lynx at www.m-hcp.com

References
The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. State Health Facts 2015. http://kaiserf.am/1VfEncN (Accessed May 2016)
Ofcom. Media Use and Attitudes Report 2015 http://bit.ly/1E3fFyO (Accessed May 2016)
Docmail. The death of handwriting. 2012 http://bit.ly/1srFRoG (Accessed May 2016)
Bangor University & Talk Talk Mobile. Linguistics Research. 2015. http://bit.ly/1HseRrW (Accessed May 2016)
Pepsi Optimism Project. 2008. http://bit.ly/1R6meY1 (Accessed May 2016)

Every week should be Carers Week

Following on from Carers Week 2015, we reflect on the need to do more to support caregivers and introduce our study into the holistic needs of those who care for people with long-term conditions.

‘Being a carer in 2015 can be incredibly tough, taking a huge toll on health and mental wellbeing, finances and relationships. More and more people are taking on a caring role – 10.6 million over the course of this Parliament. So getting it right for carers has never been more imperative. Carers can’t carry on doing this alone.’

– Heléna Herklots, Chief Executive of Carers UK.

Last week was Carers Week in the UK, an annual campaign that raises awareness of caring, highlights the challenges that carers face, and recognises the contribution that carers make to families and communities throughout the UK.

All week, at events and via the internet and broadcast media, stories of the commitment and devotion of carers have been shared. As was the case at Local Solutionsannual information event at St. George’s Hall in Liverpool on Friday, which brought together charities and organisations to showcase the services available to carers. It was wonderful to see so many people coming together in support of the caring community, and it raised reflection on whether pharma does enough to support carers.

There are nearly seven million people in the UK who are carers, a figure that is on the rise; last week it was reported that three in five of us will be carers at some point in our lives. This isn’t a UK-specific problem: the World Health Organisation estimates a soaring demand for carers the world over, with needs rising by as much as 400% over coming decades in some developing countries.

The importance of the efforts of carers cannot be underestimated. To many patients, they are a lifeline; without carers, many simply couldn’t manage. To the British economy, they’re indispensible, saving the public an estimated 119 billion pounds a year.

Whilst the pharma industry is not immune to the importance of carers, it’s rare to find pharma-initiated interventions that target carers.

Why should pharma help?

Often the question is raised of which professionals are the gatekeepers to patient care, but arguably no one professional could be more important to the success of patient outcomes than the person caring for them every single day. Ensuring their health and wellbeing can drive greater treatment success. It’s also worth noting that carers are often ‘patients’ themselves; in a 2012 survey of 3,500 carers, 53% said they have suffered a long-term condition or illness, whilst 39% had put off medical treatment due to caring responsibilities.

Additionally, this is a group of people whose need for support is greater than ever. In spite of the indisputable fiscal and social value, cuts to financial support in recent years (such as the ‘spare room tax’ and the introduction of personal independence payment) have put carers under increasing pressure. Reports on carer wellbeing indicate that this is a strain they could well do without. Carers UK has recently published research showing that 82% of carers feel that looking after a disabled or older relative or friend has had a negative impact on their health.

The statistics are both alarming and compelling, but to uncover the full story and better understand what can be done to help we need to speak to people. It’s with this in mind that, over the coming months, we’ll be talking to carers about their needs and what impact caring for a person with a long-term condition has on their lives. These interviews will form part of a quantitative study to be included in our autumn white paper later in the year.

Pillars

Public or private, healthcare should focus more on happiness than holding on

‘Everywhere I see the mistake of ignoring that people have priorities in their lives besides merely surviving another day.’
– Dr. Atul Gawande

In Britain, the current strain on the NHS is a key topic as we head towards the general election in May. In the closing moments of a live debate on Channel 4 News last night, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt commented that, ‘for the public, it’s not about public vs. private; it’s about good care vs. bad care’. But do we know what good care is?

The healthcare industry has been built upon treatments. Progress to date has been based on innovating around the molecular, on tackling problems in the minutiae of the atomic arena. It has brought some incredible advances and delivered great success in changing lives.

However, it’s a focus that ignores the bigger picture of the patients these treatments are created for. Patients whose conditions may infiltrate every aspect of their lives, and have consequences that they live with until their dying day. For these people, treatment is just one aspect of their journey, and the care they require extends far beyond this. They need help in communicating with professionals, understanding and accepting the implications of their condition, taking control of their health and the other aspects of their life it affects (work, finances, family). Unsupported in any of these instances, patients can feel isolated, confused, and deeply unhappy.

In his BBC Radio 4 Reith Lectures in December, Dr. Atul Gawande exclaimed that, ‘we’ve been rather limited about what we [in healthcare] think our job is, building systems of care for human existence. We think our job is to ensure health and survival, but really it is larger than that. It is to enable wellbeing, and wellbeing is ultimately about sustaining the reasons one wishes to be alive.’

We need to pay greater respect to wellbeing and happiness. It might sound trite to say that happier patients are healthier, but improved wellbeing has been shown to improve cancer outcomes, lower the risk of heart disease and stroke, encourage adoption of healthy behaviours, and even lengthen lifespans (amongst other health benefits).

In an era in which healthcare moves to outcomes based performance models, ensuring patient wellbeing could be a catalyst for improved treatment-brand success. It’s time to look far beyond the pill, from the beginning of a patient journey to the very end, and provide support at every moment in between. Support that instils patients with the happiness, confidence and encouragement to stride on toward a positive outcome.

For more on the power of subjective wellbeing and holistic support, read our latest white paper,  Smiles That Save Lives

Watch our introduction of our interview with Lucy May Middleton, holistic support advocate and educator here

Smiling cat

Content is King, so they say…

Participate in something greater, by David Hunt

“Content is King” is a great expression; catchy, weighty, easy. It’s also misleading, absent of substance, and wrong on many levels. As of January 2014, the Internet has 861,379,0001 websites, or if you prefer Google has indexed 200 Terabytes of data2 which is just 0.004% of the total Internet. Either way, there is no shortage of content. There is however an appetite for relevant, topical, bespoke content delivered as part of an expert brand strategy – the social world requires brain not brawn.

Content is a form of advertisement, albeit positioned as a more sophisticated strategy. The objective remains to elicit an emotion that drives an action. However, despite this universal truth, the world has changed. It is more connected, more social, and ultimately more judgemental. It is no longer enough to tell stories; we need to craft a collaborative narrative. Being instant lacks longevity and durability. Producing content without emotion and relevance dilutes and devalues brands. Today, more than ever, the market requires insight, imagination and innovation. Our Havas colleagues in Australia produced what I consider to be the best social campaign in healthcare: The world’s most powerful arm.

Great agencies are more, not less, critical to the brand building process. So too is a genuine brand. We can no longer manufacture our image, we can no longer limit the format of our customer interactions, we are exposed, open, and unintentionally honest. A strong authentic brand personality is essential. It must represent the values of a business and be aligned to the personality of their customers. Fonts, colours and high-gloss photographs, pale-away versus behaviour and conduct. Social success today relies more than ever on the principles of brand development.

The scale of the Internet is infinite, standing out from the crowd is harder than ever, unless of course you join the crowd. Become more than just an isolated part. Participate in something greater. Unite your community through a shared ambition. Do more. Social success is inextricably linked to the power of the collective to make a difference; it requires more than a content production line.

shutterstock_103225520

  1. http://www.techmadeeasy.co.uk/2014/01/18/many-websites-january-2014/
  2. http://www.websitemagazine.com/content/blogs/posts/archive/2014/07/22/do-you-know-how-big-the-internet-really-is-infographic.aspx


One World?

Maximising global efficiencies, by David Hunt

I’m incredibly fortunate to travel the world doing a job that I love. Five years ago it was the likes of Barcelona, Geneva & Milan, as I covered Europe. Today it is both the Northern & Southern Hemispheres, East & West. Typically we deliver academies & build expertise in social media, closed-loop marketing & integrated communications. My first day back to work in 2014 was in Osaka, being simultaneously translated as we discussed transforming field force interactions. (It is a really quite mind-boggling scenario when you stop to think.)

Beyond seeing the sights & sampling the local cuisine the different cultures, inside & outside the office, are fascinating. The insight it provides to shape global campaigns is invaluable.

The pharma industry is obsessed, rightly so, by closed-loop marketing. We believe in the value of personalised stories. At the same time we chase an increasingly global approach to communications. It’s a striking contradiction in policies. It represents an awkward balance of broad & narrow brush. It is also one I agree with, largely. But, I do think it lacks a subtlety. Are we one global community, a single market, the same the world over? Because on the surface, driven by geography, politics, religion we appear incredibly different. A campaign conceived in the US will not work in China. A Japanese campaign would be dismissed in Europe. South America emerged as the victors from Cannes Health Lions, but their ideas would be lost on some.

We certainly don’t need local campaigns and the necessary investment would be foolish. Cultural campaigns, however, would be an interesting concept, aligned through a consistent scientific story, that marries clinical data & patient benefits. Representing efficiencies & relevance, the solution would allow local markets to provide context, relevance & individual customer experiences.

I’ve learnt a huge amount on my travels, the most significant being humility & respect.

map

Highlights from a decade of global travel in Digital Healthcare Communications

Global Healthcare Communications, By David Hunt

If you’re flown from Manchester to a far corner of the globe to lead a workshop and build digital expertise, you should be arriving with insight & expertise. You should be offering an opinion that counts, the room should be learning something new, and you must make a difference. In addition, without fail, every experience has also made a difference to me.

I arrived in Japan to develop expertise in digital communication. As lead facilitator it’s my duty to have the best case studies. That being said, it would have been impossible to top the work of Honda. They combined insight, innovation & cause to the benefit of their brand, customers, but ultimately society. On the 7th April 2011 Japan was struck by the tsunami. The devastation was catastrophic. The country desperately struggled to navigate communities & services around the area. In less than 24hrs, Honda had mapped working roads onto Google maps, allowing critical movement across the region. Inspired by this, my goal is to help big pharma demonstrate the same agility & conviction. For further information please watch the case study here.

Only recently I delivered a social academy in Scandinavia. It’s a region I have long admired for it’s innovation & ambition. In many ways the geography of the region implores a digital first approach, however the history & associated diversity, makes the whole endeavour far more complicated. As a region they will win. They will use digital communications, social media and technology to improve outcomes. At the heart of their success will be their culture, it inspires innovation. They are open to ideas, and encourage others. They explore the possibilities & lead with imagination, not rules. I’ve worked with a number of companies in the region, and enjoyed it every time.

We delivered our first true CLM initiative in 2008, I didn’t expect that, in just a few years, it would lead to CLM academies in Shanghai. I only hope the participants took the same value as I did. Being simultaneously translated is a unique experience, made more so with little or no feedback from the room. In the EU or US, the feedback is instant & rewarding – comforting, even easy, perhaps not always genuine. China is different. Every minute counts. The participants WANT knowledge, and it’s utterly inspiring. They’re not looking for occasional insight, but comprehensive detail they will employ religiously.

This Summer saw the inaugural Lions Health. As previously mentioned on this blog, there were a number of highlights. Of equal insight were the results of the awards. The overwhelming victors were from South America. Not only did they collect numerous awards, but there ideas were creatively outstanding & use of digital exceptional. We’re often guilty of assuming that the US or EU are the most technologically advanced. Perhaps our maturity and sophistication or rules & rigour actually stifle innovation & the improvements it can herald. In 2010 the Arab Spring used social media as a catalyst for seismic change. Motive & technology aligned. It re-affirms my belief in the power of morality & innovation. And as always, rewards travel & observation with learnings & insight.

world