Health experts are a treasure trove of knowledge and expertise. Imagine if…

Health experts (within institutions and working outside of them) – are a treasure trove of knowledge and expertise that is locked way inside their big brains, on their computers, and behind firewalls. Imagine what would happen if we were able to easily access that information when we are making health decisions for ourselves our families and even people in our care. What if we could also easily, quickly, and cost-effectively use the information contained within our own organizations combined/ augmented by other experts to enhance employee and patient education and engagement?

Click here to read the post and view the full infographic.

The team at Viable Synergy has demonstrated that with a solid plan, an elegant platform, and strategic consulting support, organizations can liberate and leverage the vast amount of knowledge and expertise within their faculty and staff to reach more patients, increase brand recognition, and create new sources of revenue beyond clinical encounters, research studies, and journal articles.

This article was originally published on LinkedIn on June 22, 2017.

Right information, right time, right format, for the right person

It is reassuring to see that more individuals and organizations are considering more complex and integrated approaches to developing and executing care strategies.

In an article published by  by Eric Sagonowsky on Jul 12, 2016 7:50am in Fierce Pharma –  entire article can be found by clicking here – Eric describes a few key challenges with our approach to helping patients to live fully and healthy with diabetes including the lack of focus on “adherence” and suggesting that we think more strategically about how and when we share information.

Murray Aitken from IMS Institute supported Eric’s suggestions by describing the importance of alignment across the care continuum of  official and voluntary organizations to help ensure optimal patient treatment adherence.

Original excerpts from the article can be found below.

“… the IMS Institute found, many existing diabetes strategies aren’t zeroing in on adherence. With that in mind, the authors suggest steps to improve the situation such as identifying patients in need of help, offering customized education and applying new technology to guide patients through managing their care.

“Simple, customized interventions that put patients on the path to optimal adherence and persistence can yield tangible results, but require alignment between healthcare and government leaders, as well as the active involvement of voluntary associations and the private sector,” IMS Institute director Murray Aitken said in a statement.”

Viable Synergy’s take:

We believe that the power of getting the right information to the right person at the right time can have a profoundly positive impact on a person’s health.

Often times “information dumping” is done to patients and families when they visit clinicians whether it be for a follow-up or for something more serious. There are many reasons for this including trying to provide patients and their loved ones with all the information we can while they are in the office as well as the lack of time or expertise to determine which of the 50 items we could share with patients would be the best 2-3.

Leveraging technology by making tools and information available in a Digital Resource Center or an Online Library can help clinicians make information readily available and also allow patients to view and engage when it is convenient for them.  Additionally, software solutions,  like our Health Nudge platform, can deliver achievement/ supporting informational activities to patients on a regular basis and reward them with positive affirmations and even points to help patients “stay on track” and meet their personal health goals.



Top Health Conditions Papers Mentioning Artificial Intelligence (AI) by Quid

Interesting article about AI in healthcare published by Quid using their cool analytics and visualization software.  They found that Artificial Intelligence was most often mentioned in papers about cancer, diabetes, and dementia & Alzheimer’s.


Authors:  Carlos Folgar and Jess McCuan

Published on:  01.27.17

The full article can be accessed here. There are several more cool visualizations and interesting findings.


Why Can’t We All Just Get Along On Line?

Why can’t we all get along online?

Viable Synergy’s CEO was recently interviewed by Neil Versel of MedCity News about the explosion of Online Physician Review sites and the impact these sites are having on physician reputation.

Check-out a few key excerpts from her interview about online physician reviews from the physician and the patient’s perspective and read the full article at MedCity News here.

Patients increasingly have shown a willingness to write online reviews of their healthcare experiences and opine on social media, and there are plenty of places for them to do so. Sometimes, though, this feedback prompts physicians and their staff to want to defend themselves.

And sometimes, providers react too strongly. A pediatric practice in Fort Myers, Florida, reportedly cut ties with eight families last month over negative comments posted in a private Facebook group.

“Most physician practices are still not really comfortable with all-out engagement online,” said Sunnie Southern, CEO of the health innovation firm Viable Synergy and founder of the Innov8 for Health online community.

“At the end of the day, patients have a voice that they never had before,” she said.

With that in mind, Viable Synergy offers physician practices customized marketing content to distribute both in the office and online. For example, there might be a brochure, branded with the practice’s name, explaining how meditation can be beneficial to health, and then offering tips for a 5-minute meditation that patients can do while sitting in the office.

To reinforce the message, Viable Synergy produces “staff flags” — buttons or stickers for office staff to wear — with messages to help engage patients. If the brochure does, in fact, talk about meditation, a flag might say, “Tell me about your 5-minute meditation,” Southern explained. “It puts a personal element to it.”

Printed material might include a takeaway item like a card saying, “If you like the 5-minute meditation, here’s a 10-minute meditation to try at home.”

The card also lists a URL that could link to the practice’s Facebook and Yelp pages because it’s sometimes hard to find social and feedback links on practice websites, she said.

Online rating sites do tend to come up high in Google searches, and often, rating sites list outdated phone numbers, hours and even addresses, so it’s important for practices to make sure their own listings are current.

It goes without saying that practices should make it easy for people visiting their websites to find the phone number and business hours, Southern said.

Similarly, in the name of customer service, practices should never try to suppress online reviews, Southern said. Instead, they should actively engage the public.

“It’s no longer a ‘nice to do’ anymore. It’s an absolute ‘have to do,’” she said.

Read the full article by clicking here.



Our Key Takeaways from Recent JAMA Article On Patients Recording Medical Encounters

The full article is title:  Can Patients Make Recordings of Medical Encounters.  What does the Law Say? by Glyn Elwyn, MD,

Authors: Glyn Elwyn, MD, PhD; Paul James Barr, PhD; Mary Castalado, JD, MPH

Published on:  July 10, 2017, in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Read the full article here. 


Kudos to JAMA for publishing this article.  It is important that the “ownership” of patients’ health/ medical information continues to be explored and defined. We are encouraged by the findings in this article.  Our top takeaways are:

image1-If a patient records the visit and retains it is not subject to HIPAA

-A clinician in a single- party jurisdiction can ask the patient not to record the visit if asked, but the patient still has the right to record the encounter

-There is a lot more to understand about “single-party” or “all-party” jurisdictions.  Read the article for further clarification.

-Patients are free to share the recording if they are in single-party consent states but will need to get consent if they are in all-party consent states. The location of where the information can be shared also needs to be addressed.  The full article provides some discussion about sharing with family members verses on social media as well as the intent of the sharing of the information.

It was also interesting to note that the recording of patient visits falls under the laws related to wire tapping.  Wire tapping laws are specific to states and they are categorized into sing-party or all party categories.

According to the article, the 11 states that require all parties to consent, which makes the recording of patient visits without the consent of the physician illegal are:

  • California
  • Florida
  • Illinois
  • Maryland
  • Massachusettes
  • Michigan
  • Montana
  • New Hampshire
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Washington

Interested to know if you or people you know have recorded or thought about recording visits before.

NOTE: Nothing in this post constitutes legal or medical advice.  If you have legal or medical questions, please consult the appropriate professionals.  – We wish that we didn’t have to include these disclaimers in our post, but better to be safe than sorry.



Adoption of population health programs by providers is growing, but they are still unsatisfied

Original article info.

KPMG survey: Data aggregation continues to pose challenge for population health ambitions
Click here for full MedCity Article


My highlights:

44% of providers have adopted a pop health strategy and 24% plan to in the next 3 years.

“The complaints about incorporating technology into clinical workflows are fairly common and have many doctors and others involved with care delivery dissatisfied with electronic health records and other tools,” said Todd Ellis, principal at KPMG.

“Population health tools all share a significant vulnerability: They lack real-time insight into your patients’ current status. Risk stratification algorithms are inherently reactive because they rely on data such as past medical claims. That places the burden on care managers to track and monitor patients to effectively mitigate population health risk. And care managers are generally experienced nurses, so they’re not cheap. In most cases, they’re not creating billable hours, either, so efficiency is paramount.” – Epharmix Cofounder Joe McDonald

Viable Synergy Take:

We need to get more proactive in identifying the right patients with the right tools and information in the right format at the right time.  This means that we have to have a more comprehensive strategy to engage patients across the care continuum before they are sick enough to end up in the Emergency Room or the Hospital.  Let’s think of patients as partners and make information and tools easily accessible to them on demand. Then find ways to do regular check-ins with digital tools and information.  Other industries have been effectively supporting their customers across the customer journey for years.  We can do this in healthcare too.  We just have to think differently and be willing to engage with people in real human ways and not just their data.


What Patient’s Want – Good Relationships w/ Physicians – Becker’s Hospital Review

A recent article in Becker’s Hospital Review describes what patient’s really want – better relationships with their physicians.

The article goes on to describe 5 ways hospitals can improve patient and physician communication as described by William Maples, MD, from The Institute for Healthcare Excellence and CMO of Professional Research Consultants.

1. Understand how patient experience impacts quality, safety and efficiency

2. Invest in providing physicians and caregivers skills

3. Engage physician leadership

4. Be patient

5. Plan to engage every single person on the caregiver team

If you are interested in enhancing your own communication skills or those of your team (all members of your team), that is simple to implement and quick and easy to take – courses are offered in 5 -15 minute session, available on desks tops and tables, and includes a before and after evaluation for the individual and a score card for leadership – we recommend Xelerated Learning Dynamics.  Click here to visit their website or send an email to and we’ll be happy to connect you.

To read the full article at Becker’s please click here

President Obama’s Op Ed on Precision Medicine

My favorite quote from President Obama’s Op Ed published in the Washington Post today is:

“By bringing together doctors and data like never before, precision medicine aims to deliver the right treatments in the right dosage at the right time — every time. It helps target the causes of a condition rather than just the symptoms. This is one of the greatest opportunities we’ve ever seen for new medical breakthroughs, but it only works if we collect enough information first.”

Would love to hear yours!

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