Most healthcare systems by now have taken the plunge into the world of social media, often viewing it as the “Superman” of communications tools that will differentiate their brand from those of their competitors. But with patient testimonials, healthcare tips, physician interviews and event announcements abounding in this space, how does one step out of the masses as a true leader?

Read more: Where Were You

Social media is here to stay. Facebook has almost 1 billion users. Twitter users send more than 340 million tweets daily. And like it or not, social media isn’t bypassing healthcare. It’s likely to be the largest single change in media affecting your business during your career. Understanding it, using it and benefiting from it should be a top priority.

Read more: The Do's and Don'ts of Social Media

Earlier this summer, I was admitted to my local hospital for 48 hours. My problem was easily treatable, but I needed to receive around-the-clock management. When I told friends and family what happened, their reaction was dramatic, and I repeatedly heard the following: "You must have been really sick. I don't remember the last time I heard of someone spending a night in the hospital."

My personal experience confirmed what I hear in my professional life: Care is migrating from the inpatient to outpatient setting. Just five to 10 years ago, staying overnight in a hospital was commonplace, but that is no longer the case today.

Read more: A New Setting

They may have vastly different jobs, but payers and providers are still operating in the same space. It’s a relationship that tends to be more strained than streamlined, but there are ways to make the process much smoother. Two healthcare journalists offer separate perspectives on how to improve communication and collaboration between hospitals and insurers.

Read more: Relationship Building

A mere decade ago, primary healthcare and mental health treatment weren’t even two ships passing in the night. They hardly passed each other at all. Patients had to go to one place for their body and another for their mind. But a constellation of factors has been converging to propel a merger of the two.

First came the growing recognition by primary care clinics that, whether intended or not, they were constantly being thrust to the front lines of mental healthcare.  Depending on which research one relies on, 50 to 80 percent of the population seeks mental health services from their primary care providers. And the research is clear that psychiatric problems are a major factor in triggering physical illness and exacerbating existing chronic illnesses. But it’s no secret that time-starved physicians often have neither the training nor inclination to deal with matters of the mind.

Read more: Meeting of the Mind and Body

As a healthcare administrator, the task of making sure your hospital is effectively managing your infectious medical waste can be daunting. Because of the highly regulated nature of this waste stream, it is important to understand both the composition of what defines “infectious medical waste” and cost-effective strategies for properly managing this material. Definitions of this material will vary depending upon each state.

Read more: Infectious Waste Management

In many cities, the growth of medical centers exceeds construction in downtown cores. As medical campuses grow and the partnerships between the member institutions strengthen, the pressure to foster physical connections among individual projects becomes ever more important. The imperative for close proximity of research, education, clinical care and entrepreneurship increases the need to balance the ambitions of individual property owners with those of the medical area as a whole. With this in mind, what is often needed from a campus perspective is an increased effort to enhance connectivity.

Read more: Bridging the Gap

In today’s healthcare environment, design decisions are no longer driven primarily by the aesthetic vision of the owner, donor or architect, but by their measurable capacity to improve operational performance. Increasingly, healthcare leaders are measuring operational performance against quality and patient-safety indicators identified by payers and regulators. They are also measuring their operational performance against the expectations of patients and staff in competitive local, regional and/or national healthcare markets. And they are using these measures to identify design responses to improve their performance in these critical areas.

Read more: Designed to Perform

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