3 Things We Learned from Holly Sullivan of Spectrum Health and SHSMD

by | Oct 15, 2020 | Healthcare Industry Insights | 0 comments

We always come away from conversations with Holly Sullivan feeling smarter and inspired, and our recent interview for the Healthcare Insight podcast was no exception.

Here are three things we learned or confirmed during a lively discussion with the senior director of strategic marketing at Spectrum Health and president of the board for the Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development (SHSMD) as we discussed the overall healthcare response to COVID-19 and what this means for the future.

Content has been critical to the COVID-19 response at Spectrum Health.

Holly and her team gleaned consumer insights early in the pandemic that made it clear: Spectrum Health had a leadership role to play in guiding the community on COVID-19. They immediately responded by developing a content strategy that offers clarity on where and when to get help, celebrates recovery wins and shares inspirational stories of hope. She says the organization’s commitment to creating content that educates and engages all Spectrum Health audiences is thoughtful, inclusive and fluid.

“We continue to think about how we can deliver messaging not only to our consumers and our patients but also to our 35,000+ employees and community organizations,” she says. “We’re always asking how can we be that source of truth for them, and deliberately get those messages out to our Spanish-speaking communities and other diverse audiences.”

Virtual care is rapidly shifting from novelty to the new normal.

When Spectrum Health closed all offices in March, they quickly moved all primary care physicians and specialists on a virtual platform. By April, they had ramped telemedicine volume to the point where a single day in April saw 2,000 visits.

Moving into the fall of 2020, Holly says the organization continues adding functionality and promoting virtual care as offering the same level of excellence in experience and outcomes as in-person care. This shift to virtual care as a differentiated platform is one of the organization’s highest priorities, especially for younger demographics who are just starting to form a relationship with the health system. Similar to the transition of using a mobile app to deposit a check rather than going in-person to a bank, she sees this digital evolution as having long-term effects in healthcare.

“It’s like banking,” she says. “When you’re banking online you don’t say, ‘I’m going to my virtual bank.’ It’s just going to the bank.”

SHSMD is committed to helping marketers navigate the future.

As president of the SHSMD board, Holly works closely with Executive Director Diane Webber and the organization’s leadership to deliver value to members. These efforts have been redoubled during the pandemic. From creating a clearinghouse for COVID-19-related ideas and examples on the SHSMD website to pivoting from the annual in-person conference, Holly and her team are constantly seeking new opportunities to help members connect and advance their careers.

She says SHSMD materials like Bridging Worlds: The Future Role of the Healthcare Strategist, which is designed to help members adapt and develop skills for the future, are more relevant today than ever before. Considering these resources along with the support and expertise that strategic vendor partners bring to the table, Holly is confident healthcare marketers will continue rising to the occasion.

“Our organizations are looking to us as marketers to help navigate through this,” she says. “We’re facing some new situations and the lack of predictability will continue as we move into 2021, so keeping that agile mentality at the forefront will be key.”

Listen to the Full Interview

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