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About the Host:
Host: DOUG SIMON
Guest: TERRI SANDERS
DOUG: I think for context for this conversation, why don’t you share with people what HIMSS does?
TERRI: Well, HIMSS is the Healthcare Information Management System Society. And we’re a global adviser and thought leader in the space of healthcare with the goal of transforming healthcare through information and technology. What’s really exciting, it’s this is our 60th year, 2021. So, we’re celebrating our 60th anniversary and we’re also a member association, very much so dedicated to professional development, education and growth, as well as driving innovation, innovative thinking, innovative professional development as well. And we’re excited to announce we have 109,000 members officially this year, also all around the globe.
DOUG: And health, obviously has been at the center of so much with the pandemic, and you have to navigate communications with members of different sectors within health. How do you go about doing that? Maybe are there some tips you can share for, say, hospitals, doctors, there’s so many different constituencies?
TERRI: There are so many different constituencies. And I think the best tip I can offer is let your audience, let your consumer, whoever that may be, be your guide. Let the data, the behavioral information, what we know about our consumers, listen to your consumers and speak to them in the communication style that they will best receive the message and talk to them about the things that are important to them that will make you a valuable service to them. So often I think marketing has really evolved. There’s been so many ebbs and flows, and we’ve really moved from telling people what they want, what we think they want, let them tell us what they want and what they need. So, if I’m a provider, the patient is your guide, the human is your guide, really. Because we don’t want patients, right, we just want healthy individuals. And so, you need to make sure you’re understanding your community that’s right around you, who lives in your community, what are those issues and challenges. If they aren’t accessing care, why aren’t they doing so? If I’m an insurer, I really want to understand the challenges. Why
don’t you have insurance, or you’re not accessing care? Again, it just goes back to leaning into the data, letting the data be your guide as well as the consumer. And the basic principles, this is what’s so great about marketing and communications is that the basic principles and strategy behind what we do is applicable, no matter if it’s be B2B, B2C, and so we can apply omnichannel integrated marketing, listening tools and technologies to really understand our consumers, we should be building databases around them and creating personalized experiences, whether I’m trying to get a healthcare provider to move or a patient to move to action. I can’t stress this enough, I know it sounds very cliche, but what you say matters, but how you say it, when you say it, and where you say it will determine how much it mattered to your audiences.
DOUG: Sure. Now everything has really become crisis communication during the last year, sort of the level of intensity has been ratcheted up. How is that affected, how you communicate, and what you communicate, and what are some changes, takeaways, lessons learned that you might have had that you’d like to share?
TERRI: Yeah, I think this is the era of human, the consumer is the driver, right? They are at the center, and everything must evolve around them. What we have to do, particularly in healthcare, we have to be honest and transparent communications. We must simplify our messaging, not make it too complicated so that people can’t understand and therefore take action. The other thing that we also really have to do, and this goes back to communicating to those different audiences and leveraging data, you have to stay nimble and flexible, have those systems and tools and technologies in place so that as your consumers are changing, so are your communications, and what you’re saying, where you’re saying, you have to be very nimble and flexible and again, leaning into that data. The most effective healthcare organizations are those who really connect with their patients on a personal level. So that really needs to be our goal, and we need to carry that forward that that has to be our foundation, and marketing and communications is the key.
DOUG: And because it is Women’s History Month, and during the pandemic issues of social justice became so top of mind. What is your advice for aspiring women leaders in particular, or maybe all leaders and also leaders who would bring diversity to the table, who want to advance their careers?
TERRI: My work philosophy is to treat people the way you want to be treated, it’s very, very simple. But it often gets lost in our day-to-day activities and dealings. There is tremendous value to having a diverse workforce, a diverse team underneath you. Recognize your talent and don’t be afraid of those who are bringing things that are new, let them challenge you. That’s another thing that I say, OK, here’s what I’m thinking now tell me everything where this is wrong, and that makes us better. So, I embrace those types of conversations, recognizing your talent. And when you have your vision, deliver on your vision, set a clear idea of what success looks like for you, what types of individuals, what the culture of your team should be, and again, really, there is just so much value to people of all ages, colors, shapes, sizes, beliefs, demographics, and that is representative of the people that we’re serving. No one person is the same, no one person within our audiences are the same, and if you build your team and your talent around that, then you should really be able to deliver. I have up two additional tips for especially diverse leaders in the marketing and communications space. Trust your gut. It is very rarely off compass and remember to give yourself room to make mistakes. In those moments that is where we become better. And if we can carry those lessons forward and not the baggage, then we will be better marketers and communicators for it. So, trust your gut and remember to give yourself room to not be perfect.
DOUG: That’s great advice and thanks so much for sharing it with us and our viewers.
TERRI: Thanks so much Doug.