Part 1: What is Social Media?

 

I’d like to start this series by defining “What is Social Media?”

The definition of social in this case refers to living within a community, not necessarily the fun or trivial type of social you might picture when thinking of parties.  Social means community. 

As for the word “media”, there is no clear definition of what makes a website or online service “social” and just like many concepts, it has taken on a life of its own.  However, one thing remains clear:  The rise of Social Media and the activity of “Social Networking” marks a fundamental change in how we use the Internet.

In the past, the internet was a tool you used to get information from websites in a one way fashion, from the website to you.  Now, the Social Media revolution has created a more social, collaborative, interactive and responsive web.  This marks a change in us as a society and the Internet as a technology.

Today, we aren’t just using the Internet as a tool — we are becoming a part of it.

What is Social Media? It is the group of tools that create the new web, the human web.

 

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About the Author:  Aaron lives in Milwaukee, WI with his wife and two children and is the President & CEO of Clear Medical Solutions.  When he’s not leading new initiatives, he periodically takes on interim leadership or consulting projects.  He also enjoys teaching, speaking, writing, and sharing his passion for people and their healthcare. 

Social Media Causes a Stir in the Medical World

As you can imagine, I got a lot of feedback after yesterday’s post (Social Surgery?  Your Patient is Tweeting About You… ).

Surprisingly, many people were:  

  1. Shocked that someone would post information like that about a surgery
  2. Surprised that the hospital would allow this
  3. Confused that one person could cause such a stir

Unfortunately, for those who were shocked, there’s more to come. 

The world has changed.

I’ll explain more in my next post, but I’ve got to run to a couple meetings right now.  I really want to help explain it.  Stay tuned…

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About the Author:  Aaron lives in Milwaukee, WI with his wife and two children and is the President & CEO of Clear Medical Solutions.  When he’s not leading new initiatives, he periodically takes on interim leadership or consulting projects.  He also enjoys teaching, speaking, writing, and sharing his passion for people and their healthcare. 

Social Surgery? Your Patient is "Tweeting" About You…

Your patient is in surgery right now, and all day he’s been tweeting about your nurses, doctors, signage, and even your EMR. 

He’s also posting pictures of your facilities, equipment, and gowns as well as checking in on FourSquare for his 832 facebook friends to see.  

Is he a patient at your hospital?

http://www.Twiter.com/TRCochran

Our world has changed…

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About the Author:  Aaron lives in Milwaukee, WI with his wife and two children and is the President & CEO of Clear Medical Solutions.  When he’s not leading new initiatives, he periodically takes on interim leadership or consulting projects.  He also enjoys teaching, speaking, writing, and sharing his passion for people and their healthcare. 

A Salute to the 8pm Warriors Among Us

 

Still in the office at 8pm?

Unless your workday begins at noon, that’s a sure sign you’re probably working on something important.  It’s probably also a good sign sign that the project is probably in great hands.

While it’s probably not healthy to work in the office 8 to 8 every day, sometimes duty calls…and it’s the special people that answer.

Whether it be the deadline for that new building project finance package, the EMR implementation that has go-live around the corner, the new administrator helping to rally the staff on the NOC and PM shifts, or the hundreds of other scenarios we see at Clear Medical Solutions…it is important that someone takes the ball and runs with it.

You know who you are, and thanks for giving it everything you got when something important is on the line.  I’ve taken part in quite a few “after hours” adventures, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Thanks for being great, and if you ever need help we’ll be “8pm Warriors” right with you. 

 

Special thanks to our agents at our Clear Medical Agency division.  I am continually amazed and inspired at what you accomplish long after most have gone home for the day.  Keep up the great work, you’re starting to make a huge difference in the lives of the consultants, nurses, therapists, and hospital leaders you work with.

 

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About the Author:  Aaron lives in Milwaukee, WI with his wife and two children and is the President & CEO of Clear Medical Solutions.  When he’s not leading new initiatives, he periodically takes on interim leadership or consulting projects.  He also enjoys teaching, speaking, writing, and sharing his passion for people and their healthcare.

A Reminder to Take Time

Recently, I was on Bradford Beach building a sandcastle with my two small children.  While the end result was a small, but successful castle, it was the process that was so enjoyable and memorable. 

But, as I looked around, I also saw parents that were leading their sandcastle building project so strongly (and efficiently) that they ruined the experience for their now crying kids.  Even though they eventually finished their castle, it was a bad memory for everyone involved. 

Unfortunately, I see the same thing sometimes with vacations, family reunions, weddings, and other events in our lives.

It got me thinking about the building projects, technology implementations, and other big projects that I’ve seen around the healthcare world. 

In many cases, project managers have done such an amazing job of including everyone in the process and making it a positive, bonding experience.  However, in other cases, the project leader was so focused on project goals, budgets, and timelines that the people involved were forgotten.  Consequently people became disenfranchised, began withdrawing, and sometimes even sabotaged parts of the project.  By the end, the project was completed, but people were hurt, angry, or had new jobs at other places.

So, what made the difference?

Taking time.

 

Hopefully you can remember the joy of a project that is accomplished as a true team.  Take time for individuals (not just groups).  Take time to explain yourself and your motivations.  Take time to truly listen.

You will probably learn some great information or new perspectives, and in the worst case you will at least have a happy staff.

I know that budgets are tight in this economy.  However, asking people to do more than they can do, with less than they need, and without a voice, is asking for a bigger crisis than your budget concerns. 

I know it sounds easier said than done, but as the economy improves (and healthcare reform continues), you will find it harder and harder to find experienced staff in our industry.  The shortages are returning, and if you forget about people, they will migrate to the leaders that listen while they lead.

Take some extra time.  You won’t regret it.

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About the Author:  Aaron lives in Milwaukee, WI with his wife and two children and is the President & CEO of Clear Medical Solutions.  When he’s not leading new initiatives, he periodically takes on interim leadership or consulting projects.  He also enjoys teaching, speaking, writing, and sharing his passion for people and their healthcare.

Who would you rather work with?

 

Some of you may have already seen this story from Seth Godin, but it begs the question: “Who would you rather work with?”    

A small island grows sugar cane. Many people harvest it, and one guy owns the machine that can process the cane and turn it into juice.    

Who wins?   

Sugar Cane Machine

The guy with the machine, of course. It gives him leverage, and since he’s the only one, he can pay the pickers whatever he likes–people will either sell it to him or stop picking. No fun being the cane picker. He can also charge whatever he likes to the people who need the cane juice, because without him, there’s no juice. No fun being a baker or cook. But now, a second machine comes to the island, and then three more. There are five processors.    

Now who wins?    

Certainly not the guy with the first machine.  He has competitors for the cane. He can optimize and work on efficiency, but pretty soon he’s going to be in a price war for his raw materials (and a price war for the finished product).  Not so much fun to be the factory owner.  And then!  And then one cane processor starts creating a series of collectible containers, starts interacting with his customers and providing them with custom blends, starts offering long-term contracts and benefits to his biggest customers, and yes, even begins to pay his growers more if they’re willing to bring him particularly sweet and organic materials, on time.  In short, he becomes a master of the art of processing and marketing cane.  He earns permission, he treats different people differently and he refuses to act like a faceless factory…    

Who are you?  Who are we?      

Obviously we don’t work in the sugar industry, but we think the principle of treating people differently applies. We know there are many choices of who to work with, and we respect that and try to be different.  How can we be better?    

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About the Author:  Aaron lives in Milwaukee, WI with his wife and two children and is the President & CEO of Clear Medical Solutions.  When he’s not leading new initiatives, he periodically takes on interim leadership or consulting projects.  He also enjoys teaching, speaking, writing, and sharing his passion for people and their healthcare.

Learning on the Fly

(This post is part 2 of a short series on 4 Skills for Healthcare Leaders)

Question:  What do 32,000,000 new patients, FourSquare.com, ICD-10, and Audit MICs (Medicare Integrity Contractors) have in common? 

Answer:  They will all be important to our industry.  They are new.  And they’re knocking at your door.

Increasing shortages of doctors and nurses, social media usage, new regulations, EMR’s, reforms, technology upgrades, and on, and on…and on.  It never seems to stop, and it never will. 

Many people now say that we live in a world of continuous change, and when I see what our partners, suppliers, and government contractors are inventing every year, it seems quite obvious.  Change is no longer something to prepare for; it’s a way of life. 

Our new way of life 

Some people might say that I’m being dramatic.  However, if you look back just a couple years, it is interesting to think that there were no RAC’s, no Healthcare Reform, few EMR’s, no HITECH Act, no Twitter, no iPhones.  Change is now constant, and as developing countries only add innovation and  new technology, times and tools will change even more. 

In the world of continuous change, the only way to ride the wave will be to lead by learning, and learning quickly. 

That’s why it made my Top 4. 

See you tomorrow for the topic of Social Media Savvy.  Have a great day! 

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About the Author:  Aaron lives in Milwaukee, WI with his wife and two children and is the President & CEO of Clear Medical Solutions.  When he’s not leading new initiatives, he periodically takes on interim leadership or consulting projects.  He also enjoys teaching, speaking, writing, and sharing his passion for people and their healthcare.

4 Skills for Healthcare Leaders

In my opinion, leadership in the healthcare world has seen a drastic shift from just four years ago and it isn’t going back.  The “Good ‘Ol Days” we once knew are now officially gone (I know this may not be breaking news to you if you’re reading this).

For the skeptics out there, I don’t have any scientific research to back this up.  However, when you see the medical world from the eyes of a visiting consultant and interim leader, it is easier to step back and see how fast change is happening. 

For me, it only took a nurse (your nurse maybe?) posting on Facebook about how boring her hospital meeting was…during the meeting.  About 500 of her friends saw it, and they were commenting back.  One of the commentors told her about another job opportunity at a neighboring facility. 

Wow…

It’s things like this that get me thinking.  What will the future be like, and will we be ready?  I was doing some reading last night about future leaders and the skills they will need, and I created my own list of four skills that I think any of us will need to succeed in the future as leaders in a changing industry that will face severe shortages of nurses, doctors, therapists, and others.

  1. Learning on the Fly
  2. Social Media Savvy
  3. A Caring Attitude
  4. “The Champion” Skill

I’d love to hear your thoughts on each of these, as I’d be shocked if someone didn’t have a great 5th skill to add. 

In the coming days, I am going to write a quick series about these four skills and why I think they’re important.  If you’d like to take part in the discussion (or just get the next post via email instead), you can get these posts sent to you by signing up in the upper right of the main page. 

See you tomorrow!

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About the Author:  Aaron lives in Milwaukee, WI with his wife and two children and is the President & CEO of Clear Medical Solutions.  When he’s not leading new initiatives, he periodically takes on interim leadership or consulting projects.  He enjoys teaching, writing, and sharing his passion for people and their healthcare.