Some Sites to Explore

For the WHPRMS members who aren’t familiar with some of the sites mentioned Friday morning, here’s a list you’ll find helpful in your continuing education…maybe even driving the value of the session up to $123.84.

Wikipedia – the on-line encyclopedia edited by the world.
Skype – Free or really cheap phone service through your computer, using a broadband internet connection.
YouTube – A ridiculously easy-to-use means of placing your video where the world can find it.
WordPress – a free platform for your blog
Blogger – another free blog service – or just type “free blog” in Google and you’ll have lots of choices.
Mayo Clinic News – Mayo Clinic’s site for journalists, soon to have podcasts available directly instead of only through iTunes
Medical Edge – The site with all of Mayo Clinic’s syndicated health and medical content
Carlsen Twins site – the update site we established to enable news media, family, friends and supporters of the Carlsen family get updates on the girls’ conditions.

Keynote by David Glickman

This morning’s keynote at WHPRMS was by David Glickman, a corporate comedian with a really entertaining program. I think he connected with the audience at least in part because he had been one of us: a health care public relations professional.
David Glickman
One of his best stories was from his days with the Miami chapter of the American Heart Association, when the organization was given 200 free bus billboards. Being a creative guy, and with a chance to help drive home the key message that the number one killer of men and women is heart disease, he came up with a slogan he thought was particularly arresting:

“Half of the people on this bus will die from heart disease.”

Apparently it was arresting; everybody wanted to wait for the next bus.

David does some funny musical parodies, too, with his portable keyboard slung over his shoulder. All in all, a nice way to begin the conference.

Another great bit: “If you can come up with just one thing from this conference to take back and apply…just one … that would be… a real waste of time! No! You need to have at least three takeaways from this conference…don’t just go home and set your three-ring binder on a shelf. Pick three things that can make a difference, and apply them!”

That’s not a perfectly accurate quote, but it’s the main idea. With that, I’m going to suggest some old tech/new tech applications in my session tomorrow, and will post a list here. I hope people will comment on those and on the sessions they found most helpful, so we can have a conversation and continue to learn how to apply new media, particularly in the health care setting.


I’m at the Wisconsin Healthcare Public Relations and Marketing Society annual meeting in Green Lake, Wisc. I’m listening to Gerard Braud deliver a session in the Media Relations track called “Profit form Communications.”

He started out with a list of things communications professionals can and should bring to the table, if they want the proverbial “seat at the table.”

    Media Training – When doctors say everything they know in an interview, you never know what message will come through in the story. That’s why it’s important to do media training so the key messages get through to the audience.

    Crisis Communications Plan – Gerard showed some really bad examples of crisis communications plans with no calling trees and no detail. He also said that when hospitals do disaster drills they should rent a mob of reporters to show up at the ER and also have people posing as family members of accident victims calling to jam the switchboard, because in a real disaster those things would happen. PR professionals should have the crisis plan with an exact “what to do, step by step” in a three-ring binder.

    Presentation Training – You never know who might be in a presentation and blogging about it (including me!) Doctors who go to medical meetings should be aware of this, and communications professionals should take the lead in getting them prepared.

    Ambassador Training – Techniques and tools to change the direction of an awkward conversation.

He showed a great piece he had edited of Mayor Ray Nagin and his “chocolate” remarks on Martin Luther King Day, as an example of his principle: “If you could attach a dollar to every word that comes out of your mouth, would you make money, or would you lose money?” Ray Nagin lost money for New Orleans.

Gerard gave a strong presentation. I’ve been a co-presenter with him at previous conferences, but never had attended one of his sessions because of conflicts. I’m glad I got to hear him. You can contact him at, or through his blog.

More on WHPRMS, our experience getting to Heidel House Resort and our lack of phone access in a later post.

Testing a Medical Edge podcast on YouTube

One concern I have about YouTube is whether the quality of the movies remains good when they are converted into Flash files. To test it I used a Mayo Clinic Medical Edge video podcast file, so I can see what the quality of YouTube is like, knowing that the starting file was of high quality. Let’s take a look:


What do you think?

No Mega Children’s Hospital in Twin Cities

The Star Tribune (registration required) reports today that the merger of Twin Cities children’s hospitals announced with much fanfare in May has been scuttled.

Some in the health care industry thought that finally, after 10 years of off-and-on merger talks, the metro area would have one world-class pediatric hospital instead of two competing institutions each with its own medical specialists and high-tech equipment.

But after four months of intensive negotiations, the latest effort to merge Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota with the University of Minnesota Children’s Hospital came to an unsuccessful end Friday.

“We just couldn’t make it work,” said Dr. Frank Cerra, senior vice president for health sciences at the University of Minnesota. “We worked to take all of the pieces and pull them together in a way that makes financial sense, but found it was just not possible.”

The merger talks seem to be off permanently this time, as one executive was quoted as saying, “I don’t anticipate that this is going to reemerge.”