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March 06, 2014


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Steve Wellmeier

This is a very informative post, David. Thanks for sharing, and also many thanks to Dr. Burke for figuring out such a great solution to an obvious problem that has been "hiding in the open" for years.

As you say, there are many applications here for other professions.

Kevin Cheng

Hi, David - this is a great follow-up post to your previous "Terrible Healthcare Customer Service" post. I'm a long-time reader here but have seldom commented so far. That post struck a chord in me. I've taken my mother to all her doctor's appointments for over 20 years, and the majority of the patient customer service we've experienced fall into the terrible (or at least mediocre) category. From all this firsthand observation, I believe the single underlying reason for the terrible patient customer service is:

Doctors don't need us. We need them.

Most doctors (from what I've seen) treat patients as utterly replaceable. It seems their thinking is: If you don't like it, don't come. Someone else will gladly take your place. Demand for us is built-in - People get sick, period.

Until this elitist/arrogant mindset changes (for most doctors, not all, of course), I think examples like this wonderful Dr. Burke whom you profile here will be few and far in-between. I think her quote in the last paragraph above, "Once you admit you have a problem with communication ..." hints at that typical arrogant doctor mindset.

Now, on the use of ubiquitous technology to provide video to address this particular communication disconnect (between doctor and patient), and to provide better customer service in general, I think it's a no-brainer. Everyone has smartphones, etc. But at the same time I believe doctors cling to traditional protocol, and so that makes what Dr. Burke is doing bold and encouraging. I'm glad to hear the use of video in this way is being adopted more and more. And I'm not surprised that her students (younger folks) are like, "That's a no-brainer!"

Dr. Burke's initiative is especially laudable because she's not just using video to come across to her patients as more personable and approachable - BUT to solve a crucial, fundamental communication problem between doctors and patients that is interfering with patients getting full benefit of the treatment. This gets the patient real, tangible results, and not just humanize the clinical doctor.

Here's to hoping more doctors are as creative, bold, and caring as Dr. Burke is, and that increasingly they'll use sites like Postwire. Thanks for posting this! Kevin

David Meerman Scott

Steve - thanks. I've learned a great deal by exploring what's happening (or not happening) in healthcare.

Kevin - This is a profound observation: "Doctors don't need us. We need them." I've spoken to other doctors who are doing equally interesting things as Kate and I hope to profile them here in the coming months. But yes, everyone carries a smartphone so why not use it to help make people healthier?! It seems so easy. And the students say "of course!"


David -

We have been able to learn so much by working with Kate seeing how important it is to get the right information to patients. Also, the connections formed between a health care provider and their patient has been so powerful. Patients are more confident and comfortable, getting better faster.

So much of what we see in healthcare for patients mirrors what we see for clients and prospects. Get the relevant information to them at the right moment. Make it easy to share with others who are in their circle - either the buying decision in the case of a prospect or in care management in the case of a patient. Don't overwhelm them, but in most cases less is more.

All of your work in this area provides good guideposts when we realize everyone (patient, student, client, prospect) is a person and their needs for information are similar.


Keith at KendallPress

Retaining the right information as a patient or family member can be quite the task at a difficult emotional time. The idea of curated content combined with personalized video using our ever-present smart phones makes so much sense.

Thank you for Kate's story - it's great to hear about positive customer service in healthcare and its equally exciting to now think about curation and new tools for customer support in all kinds of industries.

We've recently started sharing our curated list of business and tech events around greater Boston because the sheer number of resources and opportunities confronting our limited staff time made for field workload issues. Our curated calendar helped us and now by posting it to help others, we've seen a 400% increase in readership. Curation here made a larger difference than we expected. http://blog.kendall-press.com/category/the-week-ahead/

So, the idea of a clinician, consultant or advisor truly personalizing a curated list of resources and matching video creates an even better real-time-web reality. And now it's possible to deliver top quality inbound results without being sales-creepy like what we see from some of the advertising and marketing world.

David Meerman Scott

Thank you Cliff. The services that Postwire deliver are making a difference.

Keith! Love your list. Keep innovating - you're doing great.

Jim Edholm

David --

I'm a bit late to respond to your post. I read it this morning but had to rush off to my own personal interaction with my health care professional and am just now getting to writing.

This is SUPER. It makes sense on every conceivable level. And from a marketing standpoint it ties into exactly everything you teach. I'll tell you for a fact that if MY doc did this, I'd sing his praises to the world. Unfortunately, not all docs are open to new ideas.

In fact, I sent this off to my guy. He read it and responded that it was fine for the high-end patient (who, he said, already got great service) but that it was a "trickle-down" thing that didn't benefit the poor.

I wrote back and told him that I regularly visit the movie theater in the low-income city next to my town here in Massachusetts and that I see all these "poor people" in the lobbies - with their smart phones. So I couldn't understand how he could suggest what he was suggesting. No answer yet.

Anyhow, the challenge all of us face is how to implement it in my business. I provide group benefits the employers here in MA and I face challenges similar to what your doctor does. WHen we move an employer from carrier A to carrier B with different deductibles, copays, etc from the plan they're used to, employees are as forgetful as those emergency patients your doc spoke about.

Plus, on the day we give the enrollment meeting, there are invariably people who are out sick, or on a sales call or whose spouse is the medical decision-maker in the family. Those people don't even attend the enrollment meeting.

So we're going to video all of our enrollment meetings and send the video to the client to put on the company website (we provide them with an Intranet, so it won't be clogging the main website). We're going to reiterate the action items at the end of a proposal meeting, agree to what each party is going to do, and then we're going to send that video to all parties so they can see what they agreed to.

Great stuff, David. SOOOOO glad I bought your book and now follow your blog.

David Meerman Scott

Jim - I love the idea of doing a video of your enrollment meetings and putting it on the company's internal site! Good for you. This will go a long way to helping people.

Of course your doctor is wrong. There is a big reluctance to change for everyone but I sense that medical professionals it is even more profound.

Thanks for taking the time to comment.


Very very clever, and at the same time it borders on common sense. I applaud anyone taking extra steps to provide excellent customer service. Especially, in the world of heath care.


Definitely, it's a great example of the fact that people still can put into the things they do their heart and soul. I even can't call it an extraordinary customer service, because it's something of another kind and far beyond that. Thanks a lot for sharing !

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