GreyMatters 2015


Mobile Messaging Reduced Heart Failure Readmissions

In a pilot study of chronic congestive heart failure (CHF) patients, Hahnemann Hospital in Philadelphia found that email and text message appointment reminders sent to a group of these patients helped to reduce the rate of hospital readmissions by 10%. At the end of the 10-month pilot period (originally slated to last 6 months), baseline readmissions dropped from 26.7% to 16% for those patients who received the messages.

textThe study involved 368 CHF patients with a total of 784 discharges. Each study participant was given an option to receive appointment reminders via email, text or phone. Among the findings of the pilot study were:

  • The 30-day readmission rate dropped even for CHF patients who did not receive messages.
  • The average number of days for attending a follow-up appointment was 9 days for patients who received messages and 14 days for those who did not receive messages.
  • The average amount of time between discharge and readmission was 16 days for the patients who received messages and 14 days for those who did not.
  • In patients who confirmed appointments by replying to the messages, the rate of readmission was 8.8%, as compared to 15.4% for those who did not reply to the messages.
  • Of the patients who received messages, 68% came in for their appointments, regardless of whether they replied to the messages or not, while 47% of non-messaged patients came in for appointments.
  • The study looked at the patients’ income levels and found no effect on their response to the messages.

Dr. Thompson Boyd, physician liaison at Hahnemann Hospital, says, “ technology has a role to play in readmission reduction and [patients] that are more engaged tend to be readmitted less often. They keep their appointments more often at higher rates, and cancel less, and also, for those folks, percentage of readmissions was down.”

Nearly One-Third of Providers Offer Their Own App for Patients

A small survey (238 respondents) conducted at the recent HIMSS 2015 meeting focused on the use of apps by providers, specifically looking at organization-specific apps.

appsThe survey found that almost a third of the providers polled were from organizations that utilize organization-specific health apps. Another 30% of responding providers were in the process of developing an app specifically for their organization’s use. And 10% of the respondents said their organizations have opened an app store that distributes apps either within the organization or externally.

Additional findings from the survey include:

  • Mobile devices were used for patient engagement in 90% of the responding organizations.
  • App-enabled portals were in use by 73% of the responding organizations, although only 36% found this to be a “highly effective way of engaging patients.”
  • While 67% of responding organizations said that some amount of data from a mobile device is uploaded to their EHR, only 8% of the organizations use all data from mobile devices in the EHR.
  • Even though 47% of responding organizations said that their organization considers mobile to be a high priority, only 18% considered their organization’s mobile environment to be mature.
  • A mobile policy “of some kind” existed at 57% of the responding organizations, while 33% were looking to develop such a policy in the future.

Remote ICUs, teleradiology and coordination of care (including tools for remote patient monitoring) were cited by the respondents as having the most impact from mobile technology. Just over half of the respondents said that a lack of funding was their biggest barrier to adopting mobile technology.

How does your organization fit into these results? Are you using organization-specific apps?

What Millennials Want – And Why

It’s a Millennial world out there – and for good reason. By 2016, the Millennials are expected to be one-third of the world’s population, eclipsing the Boomers by 1%. And their numbers will continue to grow.

peopleHowever, it’s not just their sheer numbers that denote their importance. It’s also that:

  • Millennials are the first “truly digital” generation – tech-savvy, plugged in almost from birth and surrounded by technology and devices they use almost constantly.
  • They’re maturing into a large segment – 21% -- of those who make and influence discretionary consumer purchases (with over $1T in direct buying power).
  • In addition to their power as consumers, they are assuming influential roles in the workplace, influencing corporate purchasing as well.

As a result of their near life-long digital environment, Millennials (a.k.a. digital natives) want and expect a seamless customer experience across all channels, devoid of any tension.

However, when it comes to actual shopping, most Millennials prefer in-store shopping to online shopping. But they use mobile to research and compare prices while they’re doing their shopping. As they do their shopping research, they prefer to reach out to vendor representatives, but their final purchasing decision will be made based on analytics and data.

In summary, Millennials expect and demand a seamless, omni-channel purchasing experience. When targeting Millennials for marketing purposes, there’s no one specific channel to focus on. All channels are important to this group and they have high expectations. For the marketer, this requires a strategy that embraces customer-centric change and customized experiences and interactions.

Does your organization have any Millennial-specific strategies in use or in the planning stage?

19th Annual Healthcare Internet Conference Registration Is Now Open!

HCIC_LogoThe 19th Annual Healthcare Internet Conference will be here before we know it. We're happy to announce that attendee registration is now open. This year, HCIC will be held at the Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate in Orlando, November 9-11.

In addition, a Greystone.Net Client Event will be held on Sunday afternoon and evening, November 8th. If you are a client of Greystone, plan to arrive early to attend the special Client Event. More information on the Client Event will be announced soon. The HCIC registration fee also covers the cost of attending the Client Event but you must register for it as well.

Early-bird registration rates are available until September 11th, so you’ll want to take advantage of the discount, as the regular rates will apply after that date.

And, the official hotel for the conference, the Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate, has now opened the reservation room block for HCIC attendees. Be sure to reserve your room by Friday, October 16th, to get the discounted room rate. After that date or when the room block fills up, prevailing rates will apply if rooms are still available. 

To reserve your room:

  • Call 1-800-THE-OMNI (1-800-843-6664) and reference the “19th Annual Healthcare Internet Conference” to secure the discounted rate.
  • Or, you may also reserve a room online by visiting the HCIC Room Reservation Page on the Omni Website

Please visit for the latest information about the conference, to register for the conference and to book your hotel stay.


Going to HCIC in November? Don’t Forget the Pre-Conferences!

If you’re planning to attend the 19th Annual Healthcare Internet Conference in Orlando starting November 9th, consider arriving a little early in order to attend one of the pre-conference events beginning at 9:00 a.m. that morning.

There will be four pre-conference sessions available, each lasting 3 hours. The workshops you can choose from include: 

  • The Healthcare Consumer’s Digital Journey from Symptom to Search to Brand Loyal Customers
  • Optimizing your CRM Strategy in an Evolving Digital World 
  • Redesigning Your Website?  
  • Three Digital Trends Reshaping the Next Generation Marketing Department  

The fee to attend a pre-conference event is $125, but you can receive the discounted fee of $95 if you register and pay by September 11th.  Learn more about the Pre-Conference Workshops and be sure to sign up for one of these educational sessions when you register to attend HCIC!


Exhibitor/Sponsor Opportunities for the 19th Annual HCIC - Early-Bird Discount Ends Soon

Attention Web, Information Technology, Internet consultants and vendors seeking to connect with Marketing, Web, Information Technology and Planning professionals: Here’s your chance to reach nearly 700 eHealth leaders from leading hospitals, health systems, academic medical centers, children's hospitals and physician practices. Learn more about securing a booth or being a sponsor at the 19th Annual Healthcare Internet Conference in November in Orlando. But you need to act fast, as exhibitor and sponsor opportunities are being snapped up quickly! 

exhibitThere will be seven standing education tracks:

  • Strategy Development: Leading the Digital Transformation
  • Patient Experience and Patient Engagement
  • Big Data and Analytics
  • Web Solutions and Tools
  • SoLoMo [Social | Local | Mobile]
  • Digital Marketing
  • Advanced Strategies and Emerging Technologies.

More than half the exhibit booths have already been sold and several sponsorship opportunities are still available at various price points. The deadline to receive the early-bird rate for Exhibitors is June 26th, so don't delay signing up in order to ensure company recognition and maximum visibility. You may also choose from many highly-visible sponsorship options.


Backstage Pass: Two Web Clinics Offered in June

As part of our expanded Web Clinic schedule for 2015, two Backstage Pass Web Clinics will be offered in June.

backstage_passOn Wednesday, June 3rd, from 1:00-2:00 p.m. EDT, log-in to hear Pamela Maas, Chief Business Development and Marketing Officer at Gundersen Health System, and Sandra Kramer, Senior Regional Account Director at Medicom Health Interactive, present "Building Consumer Engagement into Their Treatment." Treatment plans discussed in a physician’s office are shifting to outside of the office with an increasing emphasis on equipping consumers with tools to manage elements of their own care. Learn how a physician-led effort moved Gundersen Health System to incorporate a self-management tool into its care pathway.

On Wednesday, June 17th, from 1:00-2:00 p.m. EDT, Brian Bierbaum, Vice President of Strategy and Growth and Christian Twiste, Executive Vice President of Interactive Services at BlueSpire Strategic Marketing, will present "How to Reduce Major Timeline and Financial Risk in Large Web Projects." Health system Website and intranet projects are often some of the largest marketing and IT initiatives that you will undertake in your career. Learn practical tips from partner selection and contracting to deployment and reducing your risk in budget and timeline, and help ensure a successful launch.

Backstage Pass is a Webinar series that extends the education from the annual Healthcare Internet Conference (HCIC) by providing a monthly health check throughout the year for those who may have missed a topic of interest or who weren't able to attend HCIC at all. The Webinars are case studies from the top presenters at HCIC. The best part is you don’t have to leave the comfort of your office or home to attend. No luggage, no airplanes, no TSA, no hassle – it’s a win-win!

LAST CHANCE FOR REGISTRATION DISCOUNT: If you register for these two Web Clinics, plus three additional Web Clinics later in the year, at one time, you'll receive a 40% discount off the price of five sessions purchased individually. This discount offer is good until June 3, 2015.

Please register for these Web Clinics and future Web Clinics by visiting the registration page.

Healthcare Internet Hall of Fame Nominations Are Now Open and New Judges Announced

One of the most memorable experiences at the Healthcare Internet Conference is the introduction of the new class of inductees into the Healthcare Internet Hall of Fame. This year should be no exception as we honor individuals and organizations that have made outstanding, long-lasting contributions to the healthcare Internet industry.

hihofNominations for the 2015 class are now open and will be accepted through July 31, 2015. Potential candidates are exceptional individuals and organizations whose work and accomplishments have brought innovation and honor to the healthcare Internet industry. You can find more details regarding candidate criteria, the nomination form, the panel of judges and more at You can also check out the inductees from the Class of 2011, the Class of 2012, the Class of 2013 and the Class of 2014.

The Healthcare Internet Hall of Fame is pleased to announce four new judges have been selected to fill the vacancies left on the Board of Judges when the terms of prior judges expired.

New HIHOF judges are:

  • Ed Bennett, Director, Web and Communications Technology, University of Maryland Medical System
  • Dan Rench, System Manager, Digital Services, St. Vincent
  • Myra Salinas, Senior Director, Web Center, Scripps Health
  • James Yanek, Director of Web Strategy, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

The full board of judges will begin meeting this month to start planning for the nomination process for the 2015 Class of Inductees. 

New! A MarTech Workshop Focusing on CRM to be Held in September

Make plans to attend Customer Relationship Management (CRM): Making the Most of the Your CRM Investment, which will be held September 29-30, 2015 in Chicago. This healthcare MarTech Workshop, co-sponsored by Corrigan Partners and Greystone.Net, will be a deep dive and open dialogue on the challenges of selecting, implementing and optimizing a CRM solution for your health system. 

crmWe all know that CRM is a game-changing technology with the potential to transform healthcare marketing. This workshop will focus on how you can more effectively focus marketing investments on the right customers, lower the expense of patient acquisition and retention, create loyal brand advocates and track return on investment. Whether you are thinking about purchasing a CRM system for the first time or want to select a new vendor, are muddled in the throes of implementation or aren’t getting the results you hoped for, this workshop is for you. Over 1½ days, you’ll participate in educational sessions, facilitated discussions and open dialogue on several topics related to selecting a CRM for your organization.

The CRM conference will be held in Chicago at The Catalyst Ranch, with the nearby Crowne Plaza as the hotel partner. The registration fee is $795 if paid prior to July 15 and $895 if paid after July 15. Space is limited to 30 non-vendor participants. For more information, call us at 770-407-7671 or email us at

“Lunch-n-Learn Tour” Now a Webinar

Last month, we announced the “Lunch-n-Learn Tour” series of seminars to be held in Boston, Los Angeles and Dallas. These seminars are designed to help educate healthcare marketers and IT professionals on the latest in Website technology and to provide tips on how your next Website project can be a complete success. 

Based on attendee feedback, we've reformatted the sessions to Webinars as a way to reach more people in an efficient manner. The free Webinar will be held on two different dates: 

  • Thursday, June 11, 2015 – 12-1:30pm EST / 11-12:30pm CST
  • Tuesday, June 23, 2015 – 12-1:30pm EST / 11-12:30pm CST.

To register for the June 11 Webinar, visit To register for the June 23 Webinar, visit


Stay Tuned: Something New is Coming from Greystone!

Greystone.Net is pleased to announce an upcoming series of white papers. The topics will be:

  • How the Reason for a Web Visit Impacts  Overall Web Experience
  • "The Captive Online Customer:" Providing an Online Experience to Win Him/Her Over
  • Does a Better Digital Experience Lead to a Better Brand Experience?
  • Choosing the Right Content Management System for a Healthcare Organization
  • Results of an Industry-Wide Digital Marketing Survey
  • Building Patient Engagement Using Patient Experience

The first white paper is expected to be released in late June or early July. The release will be announced via email and social media. 

On the Road With Greystone!

roadIf you’re planning to attend the 27th Annual Healthcare Call Center Conference June 10-12 in Charlotte, NC, be sure to attend the two  sessions presented by Kathy Divis, President, Greystone.Net.

  • On Thursday, June 11, 2015 at 1pm, Kathy will present “Growing Pains: So We Are Going to Add What and When Does it Start?”
  • On Friday, June 12, 2015 at 10 am, Kathy, along with Melissa Davis and Jim Rogers, RN, will present “Working on the Edge, Integrating New Technology and Communication Platforms into your Call Center.”

We hope to see you in Charlotte!

Did You Know? 

Twitter has tweaked its DM (Direct Message) function. You can now receive a DM from anyone on Twitter, even if you don’t follow them. Prior to this change, you and the other person or entity had to follow each other to be able to send a DM. In order to take advantage of this update, however, you must opt in.

While individuals may not choose to opt in for this new feature, it might make sense for community managers and customer service teams, so that a user requesting help can reach them immediately in a private conversation.

Greystone Product Spotlight – Gap Analysis

Greystone.Net’s Gap Analysis is a comprehensive assessment of a health system’s existing public-facing Website or intranet to determine the steps needed to move from its current state to a desired, future state.

gap-analysis-imageThe process can be customized to focus on the “hot button” Web issues of the health system, but a typical Gap Analysis starts with a current state assessment. The resulting analysis enables your team to reflect objectively on the differences between the current state of the Website and what you want it to be in the future, and identify the gaps between the two. More importantly, it helps identify the tasks and resources needed to close the gap.

This objective assessment can be used to help make decisions about your future strategic and functional direction, guide funding decisions, help you understand how your site compares to peer and benchmark sites and  perhaps most importantly, obtain budget and approval for needed functional and content improvements.

Gap analyses can also be conducted for a hospital's social media channels, mobile presence and apps, and for any existing call centers.

App Review – Backup Memory

backup_memoryAlzheimer’s is an insidious, progressive, incurable disease that slowly robs people of their memories and mental functioning. A new app from Samsung may help Alzheimer’s patients stimulate memories and possibly help slow the progression of the disease.

Called Backup Memory, the app is designed to provide constant mental stimulation, which research has shown can help delay Alzheimer’s-related memory loss. Using photos and videos, nearby family members are identified. Videos of past experiences with the family member remind the patient of their relationship with each family member.

The free app is available for iOS and Android platforms. Future versions will have a GPS feature to help keep physical track of the person with Alzheimer’s.