Ah, the good old days of 2016, when consumerism, data breaches and the challenges of engaging Gen Z garnered the collective health care mindshare. 2017 has challenged us to communicate around fake news, Affordable Care Act purgatory and real-time presidential commentary via Twitter. Looking back at our most read Buzz Bin posts in health care, it is reassuring to see that issues core to our industry’s impact on patients and providers are still what resonated most in 2017. Here are our top five most read posts in health care.

5. Is it Too Late Now to Say Sorry? Communicating Medical Errors: Kim Blake helps providers tread these difficult medical, legal and emotional waters with a very human and proven process called CANDOR (communication and optimal resolution). Pioneered by the University of Michigan, the process involves prompt investigation of errors, sharing of findings with the victims, and an apology and compensation for injuries. The results? Health systems using this process have seen the number of lawsuits drop by as much as 50 percent and millions saved in litigation costs. In addition, acknowledging medical errors is helping ensure that hospitals take steps to prevent them from happening again. Most importantly, with CANDOR, providers are bringing closure to victims and their families while also helping protect their reputation and that of their hospital.

4. Getting the Most Out of Your Media Coverage: Kirsten Lesak-Greenberg reminds us that scoring an important piece of media coverage should be considered the beginning – not the end – of an impactful media relations strategy. Social media channels (those owned by the organization, its employees and partners – as well as those of the publishing media outlet) provide clients with the opportunity to extend the reach and life of that coverage with the audiences who matter to them. Native advertising through Outbrain and Taboola helps engage new audiences by providing links to content; and no positive media coverage should go unused by a company’s sales team. It provides that invaluable third-party credibility that potential customers trust. As Kirsten points out, if you’re not fully leveraging your media coverage, you’re missing out on your full ROI.

3. The Healthcare Communicator’s Survival Guide to a Trump Presidency: On the eve of the inauguration, Kim Blake braved the uncertain health care landscape to examine the President-elect’s top issues in health care, how they could impact health care businesses  and how clients could contribute to the conversation as thought leaders. From repeal/replacement of the Affordable Care Act, to the privatization of the VA and changes to pharmaceutical pricing, President Trump’s priorities continue to challenge the status quo; but Kim’s counsel for this four-year term (and beyond) is solid: stick to the facts, stay on offense and now more than ever, use social media to monitor, stay ahead of and engage in the conversations that matter to your business.

2. The Top 5 Most-Read Health Care Buzz Bin Posts of 2016: How do last year’s favorites compare to this year’s? Kirsten Lesak-Greenberg provides us with a compelling (and reassuring) snapshot of what captured our readers’ attention: new hope for stroke survivors; new ways to engage Gen Z; trends in medical devices and the rise of consumerism in health care. Each of these topics continues to warrant our attention, and each post offers helpful communications strategies that will stand the test of time.

Drum roll please…and the most read health care post in 2017 was…

  1. The Golden Triangle – and Golden Rule – of Health Care Social Media: (by yours truly). In an interview with Lee Aase, Director of the Mayo Clinic (client) Social Media Network, we examine the three criteria, or “Golden Triangle,” by which he determines which disease or other health issue could benefit most from a social media campaign: 1) the disease is deadly, 2) it’s highly treatable or preventable and 3) the treatment for it is underutilized. With that in mind, he walks us through Mayo Clinic’s successful, multi-year social media campaign around colon cancer to raise awareness and effect behavioral change (which it has done and continues to do). He also acknowledges the risks and reasons NOT to do social media – but counsels “the best way to prevent (these risks) from happening, is by embracing the technology and defining the standards by which your organization will use it – rather than having it defined for you.”

Aase’s counsel provides us with a solid strategy with which to navigate yet another unpredictable year. Yes, 2018 will bring its share of communications “risks,” but by embracing the tools and technology at our disposal and defining the standards by which we use them, we will be able to reach our audiences in the ways that matter – to them, to our clients, and to the the broader health care industry.

Here’s to a happy, healthy and successful 2018!