Archive for February, 2012

Quick sources for newsletter content

February 24th, 2012

A colleague just put me on to for latest news in just about every scientific field including health and medicine. Now, if you are thinking serious research, of course, you’ll be on your way to PubMed. But if you are just hoping to spice up your enews, or pick a new topic that somehow jibes with your quarterly print news, this might be a great place to get you started with new ideas, concepts, something to draw your reader in.

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What would Charles Dickens say in your newsletter?

February 8th, 2012

Today is the 200th birthday of Dickens, and I know this because Google is celebrating with one of its specially drawn logos.

Why am I writing about Dickens when my topic is supposed to be newsletters? Because the energy that Dickens threw into all his writing is one reason we still read him. (A moment ago I fell into “Bleak House,” a virtual copy of which Google kindly provided. Now I  think I will have to order my own copy. But never mind.)

You can tell that Dickens is having a terrific time telling you his stories–and that he is very much aware of his audience. Even the names of his characters express his pleasure: the hypocrite Uriah Heep and Bumble the beadle in “Oliver Twist,” for example.

When you are preparing copy for your newsletter or your monthly email, how much of your own energy is evident? I don’t mean that you need lively, chatty copy–your tone will vary with your subject, of course. But what words are you using for color? And are you aware of your own feelings about your subject?

The more engaged you are, the more will your readers be. Happy Birthday, Charles Dickens!

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Inviting and communicating patient engagement

February 5th, 2012

I’m finishing up an article for a client about using IT to build patient engagement. What is patient engagement, anyway? It’s patient involvement in their own care: When they know, for example, what their lab results are, understand what their doctor is advising them to do, and take it all seriously.

If you are a hospital or clinic, are you encouraging patient engagement–or highlighting it–in your newsletters? Do your patients know that you are committed to the new federal standards and incentives for patient engagement? Do they know that you offer email communication to make appointments and obtain health stats? That you are making mobile devices available to your clinicians to help patients understand what’s wrong and get better?

This is a great new avenue for improvement in quality of care and patient satisfaction–tell the world!

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When is it better to be silent? The Komen/Planned Parenthood debacle

February 3rd, 2012

Something went wrong with my web hosting just after my last post, so I’ve been silent for a while. Better, I thought, to be silent than to send people to a very old, very clunky version of my site.

This raises the question of when to stay silent, or quiet, and when to speak openly about a difficult issue. No doubt you have already heard the story of how the Susan G. Komen Foundation decided to cut funding to its long-time partner, Planned Parenthood. Here’s an excellent post by Kivi Leroux Miller with her perspective on Komen’s disastrous public relations non-strategy.

As Kivi says, regardless of your position on women’s health, what do you think of the way Komen has handled their announcement? This is a painful, painful learning experience for anyone with an audience or a set of loyal followers. Komen’s public statements have been destructive–in this case, would silence have been worse?

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