Kaiser Permanente Secret Sauce: Patient Stories Well-Told

By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer

Lisa Ryan, Kaiser Permanente

Lisa Ryan, Kaiser Permanente

[Podcast Series] In our continuing hospital leadership series, Healthcare Success Co-Founder Lonnie Hirsch talks with Lisa Ryan, Executive Director of National Advertising for Kaiser Permanente.

The Kaiser Permanente organization has some distinct advantages. In their words, “The way we deliver health care is different. We are the caregiver, the hospital, the laboratory, and the pharmacy. In fact, what makes us unique is that we play every position across the care continuum—providing the health care coverage and delivering the health care itself.”

In our podcast interview today with Kaiser Permanente’s Executive Director of National Advertising, Lisa Ryan and Lonnie Hirsch discuss the integrated, total health approach and how advertising efforts communicate the “secret sauce” of what makes Kaiser members happy.

The answer is many things including care coordination and patient satisfaction in the service continuum. For example, Lisa describes the personal story of Kaiser member and cancer survivor “Mary,” from the time she first went in to her recovery.

“We have terrific member satisfaction scores with our members, we have for a long time, and our attrition rates tend to be rather low because people feel committed to Kaiser Permanente,” Lisa explains. “Last year was the first time we brought a care story to the commercial airwaves.” With Mary’s story, “we really honed in on what happens in a coordinated system”

Social beyond advertising…

But, Lisa explains that they do not rely exclusively on just the advertising because they realize there is so much power, authenticity and raw energy in the social space. “We’ve now begun to tap into the member advocacy through the social [channels]. We’ve begun to gather and harness the terrific member stories and push them out into the social space and let other people see just what our members think.”

For many industries, including healthcare, it has been daunting to do more than just messaging in the social platforms. Lisa observes, “This is a two-way, interactive process. We want to build the communities and have that kind of relationship with the market. And, when we have a less-than-positive member, we can immediately make things right. So [social media] has served us in a lot of good ways.”

Accordingly, Kaiser Permanente will be doing more to work in an integrated communications effort that links their campaign work with their site content and with their social media plans, Lisa said.

Additional insight from our recorded interview…

You’ll want to listen as Lonnie Hirsch begins today’s podcast conversation with Lisa Ryan with questions regarding the Kaiser Permanente business and operating model. In particular, Lisa talks about public misconceptions about Kaiser. And, given polarized views about Obamacare, concerns about the perceived limitations of an HMO model.

Other topics include, messaging about “finding your perfect match,” and a perspective on Kaiser’s long-running THRIVE campaign over the past ten years.


MORE IN OUR LEADERSHIP SERIES: You’ll find previous installments in this educational series available on this page of the Healthcare Success Blog.

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Kaiser Permanente is an integrated managed care organization founded in 1945 by industrialist Henry J. Kaiser and physician Sidney Garfield. Kaiser Permanente serves more than 9 million people from 37 hospitals and 588 medical office buildings in eight states and the District of Columbia.

Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer at Healthcare Success
Stewart Gandolf, MBA, is Chief Executive Officer of Healthcare Success, one of the nation's leading healthcare and digital marketing agencies. Over the past 20 years, Stewart has marketed and consulted for over 1,000 healthcare clients, ranging from practices and hospitals to multi-billion dollar corporations. A frequent speaker, Stewart has shared his expertise at over 200 venues nationwide. As an author and expert resource, Stewart has also written for many leading industry publications, including the 21,000 subscriber Healthcare Success Insight blog. Stewart also co-authored, "Cash-Pay Healthcare: Start, Grow & Perfect Your Cash-Pay Healthcare Business." Stewart began his career with leading advertising agencies, including J. Walter Thompson, where he marketed Fortune 500 clients such as Wells Fargo and Bally's Total Fitness.



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