A Healthy Digital Experience ‘Must Simplify Your Life,’ Says Dignity VP

“For a brand to succeed, it must succeed on digital, and that’s as true for health care as any other consumer experience,” says the ever-frank Mark Viden.

A Healthy Digital Experience ‘Must Simplify Your Life,’ Says Dignity VP

by Mercedes M. Cardona

Posted on 08-17-2017

Recent legislative moves regarding insurance are hardly the only factors disrupting health-care organizations. The delivery of health services also has been shaken up by digital channels, leading all kinds of health-care providers to rethink the way they communicate with providers, patients, and employees.

Indeed, consumers want digital access to health care, but they are not satisfied, according to a 2016 Adobe survey.

Mark Viden wants to address that need. The VP of brand marketing at San Francisco-based Dignity Health—the fifth-largest health system in the U.S.—says health care had historically lagged in building digital experiences for a number of reasons, including the limitations imposed by privacy regulations and other rules. But Viden acknowledged that “for a brand to succeed, it must succeed on digital, and that’s as true for health care as any other consumer experience.”

With that in mind, the nonprofit corporation is completely reworking its digital experience, and a new website is in development, he said. “If you were to go to Dignity Health on your phone, what you would see is a completely revamped experience that has been designed from the bottom up,” Viden told CMO.com.

Dignity Health also has launched new technologies to help caregivers. It is one of the organizations using the reworked Google Glass Enterprise Edition wearable device to help reduce the time doctors spend on records. A remote scribe listens in on a patient visit and enters the information into an electronic health record the doctor can review and sign off on before the end of the visit, freeing him or her to care for the patient.

New Identity

In 2012 Dignity Health rebranded from Catholic Healthcare West “to better articulate who we were,” Viden explained. Health care before 2012 was predominantly local, but changes including the Affordable Care Act and the evolution of employer-funded plans led to other changes that, in turn, led to a need to build a stronger brand.

The organization, which included both Catholic and non-Catholic community hospitals, wanted to create an identity that spelled out how it was different from other health-care organizations. Research turned up the insight that consumers were missing a personalized sense of connection with their health-care providers.

“When you’re with your doctor or your nurse, you want that respect, you want that dignity, you want to be treated like a person and not a number,” Viden said. “The name ‘Dignity’ captures that sense of what we had to offer and what was missing in other health-care experiences.”

The new identity launched with a new brand positioning tagged “Hello Humankindness,” which focused on making emotional, personalized connections that Viden said were missing before in its messaging. The ensuing campaign, created by San Francisco agency Eleven Inc., used found footage of real-life situations to illustrate caregiving and concern for others.

The campaign has continued to expand and take on new channels. A new offshoot, #Take2Mins, focuses on promoting meditation and mindfulness as a health practice.

Dignity is now pushing that message through its social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. The posts include an immersive 360-degree experience with sound on Facebook that shows a mother dealing with a tangled garden hose, while her daughter is learning to ride a bike. The message? The frustrations of daily life can obscure what matters.

“Social media allows us to tell fun, different stories that we know are capturing people’s attention,” Viden said.

Having the digital experience reflecting the tenets of the brand is “absolutely essential,” Viden said. “That experience must absolutely mirror the kind of attributes that we talk about,” he said. “It must be intuitive. It must be easy to use. It must simplify your life, not add more complexity.”

What about privacy regulations and concerns? Viden said respecting patient privacy is not a hurdle to having an effective digital experience that serves patients well. “It doesn’t get in the way of producing a wonderful, immersive, intuitive experience. Anyone who says so is using that as a crutch,” Viden said. “You can work within all these regulations and still produce immersive, engaging content that consumers are looking for.”

The Humankindness platform continued evolving in August, when Dignity Health launched a campaign leading into fall’s annual open enrollment period for health plans. The new effort focuses on everyday heroism, as seen in the daily efforts of health-care providers of all kinds, Viden said.

“The reality is heroism is a facet of humanity we all have,” he explained. “When you think about the care delivery system and what our frontline nurses are doing and what our physicians are doing, these are heroic acts every day.”

“We do not let any noise interfere with what we’re doing,” Viden said. “This is an organization that has been around a long time, and we’ve seen tremendous, seismic change in health care. … We’ve always adapted in ways that allow us to carry out our mission. I don’t see that changing at all.”

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