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The Dose

Welcome to The Dose, which tackles the business and economics inside the turbulent world of health care and life sciences in Indiana. Your host is John Russell. To contact me call 317-472-5383.

Ordinary people take center stage in new IU Health campaign

April 16, 2018

Health care is just “rush, rush, rush—all about money, money, money.”

It’s also “really frustrating,” “very transactional” and “sort of a cattle call.”

What is this, the latest denunciation of corporate health care by Public Citizen, maybe, or the head of a nurses’ union?

No. It’s a brand-new marketing campaign by Indiana University Health, the largest health system in the state, which last year rang up $6 billion in operating revenue.

On Monday, IU Health rolled out a new marketing campaign, called “This Changes Everything,” that asks people in the street to describe how they feel about modern health care.

And people seemed ready and willing to vent. In a two-minute video spot, more than a dozen responded with comments of frustration and weariness.

“I’m just a number,” one said.

“I feel like I was rushed out,” said another.

“It’s sort of a cattle call, if you will,” said yet another.

IU Health says the campaign springs from market research that shows people have high consumer expectations of health care but are feeling frustrated. In return, the health system is launching a “listening campaign” to try to get a better idea of where and how to improve.

“We’re just hearing more and more frustrations with health care,” said Mike Yost, vice president for patient experience at IU Health. “With Amazon, you can place an order today and it will be on your doorstep when you come home from work. You can call Uber and a car will show up in a few minutes.”

But health care is a whole different story, he said. It’s often about waiting in a doctor’s office or trying to figure out how to find a specialist.

It doesn’t have to be that way, Yost said. Already, IU Health has rolled out same-day appointments and online scheduling for many doctors. It’s also planning to launch an online star-review service for its providers, similar to restaurant reviews on Yelp.

“We should be taking a leadership role on this,” Yost said. “Let’s just get it out on the table.”

In the video, many people interviewed appear to be random, everyday folks, interviewed around downtown Indianapolis, with scenes of Monument Circle, Massachusetts Avenue, City Market and other landmarks in the background.

And they are not happy.

“There are times when I’ve left the doctor’s office frustrated,” one person says.

“Frustrated,” another says, “because I feel he (the doctor) is buried in paperwork.”

None of the people are identified, but it’s clear they are not Hollywood beautiful people. They look like ordinary workers, students and residents.

Then IU Health turns to its own people. “What do the providers have to say?” reads letters on the screen, as piano music plays in the background.

“We just feel like we don’t have enough time,” says a woman, who appears to be dressed in nurse’s scrubs.

“Everyone’s busy?” says another. Again, none of the people are identified.

Then, for the final 30 seconds, the video spot raises another question: “Can this get better? Can health care change?”

And a handful of people from both groups (everyday Hoosiers and IU Health employees) are upbeat that things can get better.

“Yes,” says a man. “I believe health care can change.”

“I believe we have a common goal, which is to improve the health of communities we serve,” a woman says.

IU Health said it will promote the two-minute spot on social media. Other spots, perhaps shorter, will run on TV and radio for several months.

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