In June, I got to attend two Hospital Marketing National conferences hosted by DTC Perspectives with some of my emagine team members. We got the inside scoop directly from hospital marketing teams on what has helped them stand out. The first conference took place at the Crown Plaza in Atlanta and the second at the Andaz hotel in San Diego.

Here is my perspective on both conferences:


The HMN 16 Atlanta conference was held at the very top of the Crowne Plaza and overlooked the Atlanta skyline. Not only was the view amazing but the conference started off, in my opinion, the best way a conference should start off… with a delicious, full breakfast. I had scrambled eggs, bacon, a bagel, and full cup of coffee.

The Atlanta sessions stated off with an informative talk by David Vener from Smith and Jones, a marketing communications agency focused on hospitals and health systems. David talked about healthcare marketing trends and I really related to him here, because like emagine, Smith and Jones is trying to get hospitals and healthcare systems to “keep up.” Hospitals have been a little behind the times when it comes to digital marketing and now they appear to finally be adapting. Maybe the new saying should be “Keep up with Smith and Jones!”

The morning continued with some interesting case studies from Jefferson Health, Penn State Hershey, and Mercy Health System on how they used the Six Sigma DMAIC approach to drive growth and stability. The afternoon went in with talks about content and why Nebraska Methodist Health System celebrated their 125th anniversary with a campaign that helped them exceed expectations because consumers know who they are and what direction they are heading in.

Lunch was served at 12:30 and I just about went into a food coma because of the delicious Italian they served. Although I could have stuck with the nice salad they had out, I allowed myself to indulge in fettucine alfredo and lasagna.

The last talk of the first day really grabbed my attention. Karin Daly, VP of Integrated Media at Cancer Treatment Centers of America spoke on their online advertising efforts and the power of online video. It was emotional to hear how much a well thought out video can positively impact someone’s life who may be suffering from cancer and provide comfort that they are not alone.

Off to San Diego…

HMN 16 San Diego started off a little peculiar, because the exhibit hall was previously a night club. The emagine exhibit table even had a few VIP tables near it! We really enjoyed the scenery because it was not your average exhibit hall. (Maybe next time we will request the DJ booth for our exhibit!)

The first day kicked off on with an excellent speaker, Lonnie Hirsch, Founder and CEO of Hirsch Healthcare Consulting. I hadn’t even had a full cup of coffee yet, but Lonnie got my full attention! He talked about how the Affordable Care Act requires hospitals and health care systems to rethink the way they position and brand themselves to patients and physicians. Some critical digital marketing points were brought up such as reputation management, online reviews, the increase of search through mobile devices, and that fact that finding what you are looking for on a hospital website can be challenging. Lonnie also made an interesting point and said that a lot of hospitals are hiring a Chief Experience Officer to keep track of patients’ journeys.

By 11:15 I was starting to get hungry and all I could think about was lunch, but Steve Millerman, President of Emcay, got my mind off of the food (temporarily) and spoke on Multicultural Patient Engagement. Since I work out of emagine’s South Florida office, I am very close to Miami, which has quite a few hospitals with a large Hispanic audience. Steve talked about how the market requires a specialized communication approach that if done properly, can result in better patient engagement.

Even though lunch was still on my mind, I found the first afternoon talk particularly interesting, where Mark Shipley from Smith and Jones and Todd Blackington, Director of Marketing at Portneuf Medical Center spoke on the marketing efforts that went into Portneuf Medical Center transitioning from non-profit status to joining with Texas-based hospital group LHP. The partnership allowed for the Eastern Idaho Community to not only recieve a brand new hospital, but one that was quickly looked at as “the palace on the hill.” Portneuf Medical Center shared their tactics on how they successfully repositioned their brand and impact their community.

Steve Millerman’s Multicultural talk set the mood perfectly because at 12:30 we went up to a beautiful rooftop at the Andaz Hotel and had delicious Mexican food for lunch! The rest of the afternoon was filled with some great, informative marketing talks such as transforming hospital images through research and how the hospital market is adapting to more targeted and patient-centric approach. The evening started up with a networking cocktail party (we already had the bar in our night club!) and then we had the awards dinner.

Although we know digital marketing tactics are always changing, it was very informative to hear hospital marketing personnel share their own tactics and experiences. Keep on the lookout for the emagine team! In September we will be heading to SHMD in Chicago and then November HCIC hosted by Greystone in Las Vegas!