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Government response to Francis Inquiry – PRimage comment

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

The government’s response to the Mid-Staffordshire NHS scandal has been dribbled out gradually but today we heard the extent of what will follow. It appears that we will see peer-reviewed regulation Ofsted-style ratings for hospitals, a “duty of candour” for NHS providers to their patients and a new training regime for nurses to ensure they practise the basics of caring for patients for at least a year before they nurse anyone.

As a specialist healthcare communications consultancy, PRimage has been reviewing the Government’s initial response to the Francis inquiry.  The response to the inquiry starts by setting out a five-point plan to “revolutionise” the care people receive from NHS and putting an end to failure.  Judy Viitanen believes that the Government has made a positive start to ensure that from now on compassion, dignity and respect will now be at the forefront of patient care.

Of course there is the growing groundswell of public opinion that says that the only thing that will prevent more such horrors as Mid Staffs is stripping power from producers and giving it to patients …. What’s your view?

The response focuses on these key issues: Preventing problems; Detecting problems quickly; Taking action promptly; Ensuring robust accountability, and Ensuring staff are trained and motivated.

Here are the key recommendations from the executive summary:

Preventing problems

At local level, commissioners will work with hospitals to identify and tackle poor care.

  • A chief inspector of hospitals will look into the culture of hospitals, driving change through fundamental standards and national ratings.
  • To ensure that paperwork, box ticking and duplicatory regulation and information burdens are reduced by at least one third.
  • A single national hub − the Health and Social Care Information Centre − will be collecting information; with a duty to seek to reduce information burden on the service year on year.
  • Professor Don Berwick is to work with NHS Commissioning Board (to be known in future as NHS England) to ensure a robust safety culture and zero tolerance of avoidable harm is embedded in the DNA of the NHS.

Detecting problems quickly

  • Chief inspector of hospitals to make assessments based on judgements as well as data.
  • They will become the nation’s whistle-blower.
  • The chief inspector will make an assessment of every NHS hospital’s performance, drawing on the views of inspectors, commissioners, local patients and the public.
  • The inspectors will be specialists not generalists.
  • They will oversee “comply or explain” approach. Good or best established practices that benefit the patients are expected to be used across the hospitals; otherwise a valid explanation needs to be given.
  • The Care Quality Commission will have the power to conduct ratings. It will work with Nuffield Trust to develop these proposals further.
  • Chief inspector to ensure there is “single version of the truth” − single assessment that fully reflects how hospitals are performing, not just targets but also things that matter to patients.
  • “Friends and family” test will be vital component of the ratings.
  • There will be new chief inspector of social care. They will be charged with rating care homes and local care services.
  • Information about hospitals will not be limited to aggregated ratings but it will be possible to drill down to information at a department, specialty care group and condition-specific level.
  • As a starting point, NHS England will extend transparency on surgical outcomes from heart surgery to cardiology, vascular surgery, upper-gastro intestinal surgery, colorectal surgery, orthopaedic surgery, bariatric surgery, urological surgery, head and neck surgery and thyroid and endocrine surgery.
  • Tough penalties and perhaps additional legal action for organisations that are found to be massaging truths or concealing truths about their performance.
  • A statutory duty of candour on providers.
  • A ban on clauses intended to prevent public interest disclosures.
  • A review of best practice on complaints.

Taking action promptly

  • The CQC (with NICE commissioners, professionals, patients and the public) will draw up a new set of simpler fundamental standards which make explicit the basic standards beneath which care should never fall.
  • A new time-limited three-stage failure regime. At the first stage, commissioners will work with the hospital board.
  • In the second stage, if commissioners fail, the CQC will call Monitor or the NHS Trust Development Authority to take action.
  • In the final stage, the chief inspector will initiate a failure regime, if problems still not resolved.

Ensuring robust accountability

  • The CQC will refer criminally negligent practices, identified by the chief inspector, to the Health and Safety Executive for them to consider criminal prosecution.
  • Barring failed NHS managers, with a system based on the barring scheme for teachers.

Ensuring staff are trained and motivated

  • Healthcare assistant training before nursing and other degrees.
  • Every student who seeks funding for nursing degrees should first serve up to a year as a healthcare assistant (this scheme will be piloted first).
  • Camilla Cavendish is reviewing how to best ensure healthcare assistants can provide safe and compassionate care.
  • Chief inspector will ensure that employers meet their registration requirements that all health and care support workers are properly trained and inducted before they start caring for people.
  • A programme will be initiated by NHS Leadership Academy to encourage new talent form clinical professionals and from outside of the NHS into top leadership.
  • An elite fast-track programme and an MBA-style programme to ensure clinicians with a talent for leadership are supported.
  • Frontline experience for Department of Health staff

Midweek Motivation from PRimage

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

PRimage think we should all try and adopt this approach to life ….

2013 Resolutions

Friday, January 4th, 2013

Judy Viitanen thinks this encompasses good advice and the best attitude for 2013. Happy New Year!

Some interesting stats on mobile phone usage

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

Over half of all cell phone owners use their phones while watching television:

This comes from a new study from the Pew Center for Internet and American Life Project. Cell phone owners use their phones to keep themselves occupied during commercial breaks, talk to other people watching the same show, verify whether what they hear on TV is true or not, and to log on to sites to see what other people are saying about a show. Judy Viitanen wasn’t surprised to read that younger users are more likely to be “connected viewers.” About 81 percent of cell phone owners surveyed between the ages of 18 and 24 say that they fit into this category.

Worldwide Mobile subscriptions = over 6 billion

And PRimage has also checked out a  new study from the World Bank which has found that around three-quarters of the Planet’s population now has mobile phone access. The number of mobile subscriptions across the world — both pre- and post-paid — has grown from less than 1 billion in 2000 to over 6 billion, the study said. And, with so many people buying up multiple subscriptions, the study said, the number of mobile subscriptions is expected to quickly pass the human population!

PRimage View On Work & Life ….

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

This is Judy Viitanen’s ethos …. At PRimage we always do our best to work hard and be nice to people! :)

Mobile Phone Market Dynamics – PRimage ponder …

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

Having read a news report today on a report that claims Mobiles ‘will outnumber people in five years’, Judy Viitanen pondered on this, thinking that they probably already do in some countries. However, PRimage feel it may be a while before smartphones outnumber dumbphones!  We were interested to discover more … and as ever, the US is the barometer for latest trends.

So PRimage found a press report on new data from ComScore –  our favourite source of digital business analytics – which shows that for the three-month average period ending in April, 234 million Americans age 13 and older used mobile devices.

The study surveyed more than 30,000 U.S. mobile subscribers and found Samsung to be the top handset manufacturer overall with 25.9 percent market share. Google Android continued to grow its share in the U.S. smartphone market, accounting for 50.8 percent of smartphone subscribers, while Apple captured 31.4 percent.

Apple continued to grow its share in the OEM market, ranking third with 14.4 percent (up 1.6 percentage points), followed by Motorola with 12.5 percent and HTC with 6.0 percent.

Top Mobile OEMs
3 Month Avg. Ending Apr. 2012 vs. 3 Month Avg. Ending Jan. 2012
Total U.S. Mobile Subscribers (Smartphone & Non-Smartphone) Ages 13+
Source: comScore MobiLens
Share (%) of Mobile Subscribers
Jan-12 Apr-12 Point Change
Total Mobile Subscribers 100.0% 100.0% N/A
Samsung 25.4% 25.9% 0.5
LG 19.7% 19.2% -0.5
Apple 12.8% 14.4% 1.6
Motorola 13.2% 12.5% -0.7
HTC 6.4% 6.0% -0.4

Smartphone Platform Market Share

More than 107 million people in the U.S. owned smartphones during the three months ending in April, up 6 percent versus January. Google Android ranked as the top smartphone platform with 50.8 percent market share (up 2.2 percentage points). Apple’s share of the smartphone market increased 1.9 percentage points to 31.4 percent. RIM ranked third with 11.6 percent share, followed by Microsoft (4.0 percent) and Symbian (1.3 percent).

Top Smartphone Platforms
3 Month Avg. Ending Apr. 2012 vs. 3 Month Avg. Ending Jan. 2012
Total U.S. Smartphone Subscribers Ages 13+
Source: comScore MobiLens
Share (%) of Smartphone Subscribers
Jan-12 Apr-12 Point Change
Total Smartphone Subscribers 100.0% 100.0% N/A
Google 48.6% 50.8% 2.2
Apple 29.5% 31.4% 1.9
RIM 15.2% 11.6% -3.6
Microsoft 4.4% 4.0% -0.4
Symbian 1.5% 1.3% -0.2

Mobile Content Usage

In April, 74.1 percent of U.S. mobile subscribers used text messaging on their mobile device. Downloaded applications were used by 50.2 percent of subscribers (up 1.6 percentage points), while browsers were used by 49.0 percent (up 0.5 percentage points). Accessing of social networking sites or blogs increased 0.3 percentage points to 36.0 percent of mobile subscribers. Game-playing was done by 33.1 percent of the mobile audience (up 1.3 percentage points), while 25.8 percent listened to music on their phones (up 1.3 percentage points).

Mobile Content Usage
3 Month Avg. Ending Apr. 2012 vs. 3 Month Avg. Ending Jan. 2012
Total U.S. Mobile Subscribers (Smartphone & Non-Smartphone) Ages 13+
Source: comScore MobiLens
Share (%) of Mobile Subscribers
Jan-12 Apr-12 Point Change
Total Mobile Subscribers 100.0% 100.0% N/A
Sent text message to another phone 74.6% 74.1% -0.5
Used downloaded apps 48.6% 50.2% 1.6
Used browser 48.5% 49.0% 0.5
Accessed social networking site or blog 35.7% 36.0% 0.3
Played Games 31.8% 33.1% 1.3
Listened to music on mobile phone 24.5% 25.8% 1.3

Insights Into US Social Media – PRimage comment

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

As avid followers of the quirks and trends in the social media arena, PRimage found this recent information fascinating!

Judy Viitanen hopes you  find these  stats from Edison Research interesting … they show social media in the US is still evolving in ways you might find surprising.

1. Twitter users are 33% more likely to be Democrats

An interesting finding: 40% of Twitter users are Democrats, compared to 30% of the U.S. population overall. The percentage of Republications and Independents on Twitter mirrors the U.S. average almost precisely.

2. The “Check-in” is the phenomenon that never happened

74% of Americans are unfamiliar with the concept of checking in to a location via mobile device, and only 3% have ever checked in. Even more damning, is that 4% had checked in when surveyed in 2011. This is a 25% decrease in check in behaviors in a single year. It’s not going to rebound, which is why Foursquare’s play is to be the new Yelp.

3. Only 33% of Americans have ever followed a brand in social media

From 2010 to 2012 the percentage of Americans following any brand on a social network has gone from 16% to 33%. This is a sharp increase, but looked at from the opposite perspective, it’s shocking to me that 2/3 of Americans using social networks have never followed a brand. Companies still have substantial room for growth in connecting with customers and fans on social networks.

4. 56% of Americans have a profile on a social networking site

This is up from 52% just last year, and 48% in 2010. How high can this climb? Certainly, there are sizable chunks of the populace that will never join a social networking site, but it’s amazing to consider that significantly more Americans (12 years old and up) have a social networking profile than do not.


5. 55% of Americans 45-54 have a profile on a social networking site

It’s not just for kids any more. The biggest growth of any age cohort from 2011 to 2012 was 45-54 year olds, who now exhibit participation matching the U.S. average. The only group that is below average are 55+ Americans, and even 3 out of 10 of them are in the social networking game.

6. 22% of Americans use social networking sites several times per day

It really is a “Social Habit”. In the past year, 12 million more Americans are using social networking many times daily. How many other things do we do several times per day? It’s not a long list.

7. Huge uptick in Facebook’s influence on purchase

Last year, 68% of Americans using social networks said that none of those networks had an influence on their buying decisions. This year, just 36% said that there was no influence. Now, 47% say Facebook has the greatest impact on purchase behavior(compared to just 24% in 2011). Incidentally, Twitter ranks below “other” at 5%. If you want to drive purchase behaviors within social networks, Facebook is the one and only game to play, statistically speaking.

8. Facebook via mobile continues to be a major factor

54% of Facebook members have used the social network via a phone, and 33% use a phone as their primary way to access Facebook. This despite the fact that the Facebook mobile experience and mobile apps are mediocre, at best. Here’s hoping the Instagram guys can jump start it. If so, watch for these numbers to soar.

9. Facebook is the most addicting of the social networks

23% of Facebook’s users check their account five or more times EVERY DAY. The mean number of daily look-ins by Facebook users is 4. Are we really so interesting that we have to keep up with our friends’ inanities every 90 minutes? Evidently, yes.

10. Twitter will have an easier time making changes to its core service that Facebook does.

53% of Twitter users have been a member for less than a year, compared to just 19% for Facebook. This means that Twitter’s user base doesn’t have long-term, deep seated expectations for what Twitter is or should be. It will be interesting to see if Twitter doubles down on this advantage, and continues to hang ornaments on the functionality Christmas tree.

11. 76% of Twitter users now post status updates

This is one of the biggest behavioral changes of the past two years. In 2010, the Social Habit research found that just 47% of Twitter users actually sent tweets, with more than half the user base in listen-only mode. The overwhelming majority of new Twitter users are active tweeters, driving the overall average to 76%.

Low-down on mobile local ad spend – PRimage like this!

Friday, March 30th, 2012

The BIA Kelsey forecast is that U.S. mobile advertising to grow from $790 million in 2010 to $4 billion in 2015.

Social networks rocking all over the world in 2012! PRimage comment

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

New forecasts suggest that 1 out of every 5 people in the world will logon to a social network at least once a month. Those 1.43bn social network users represent an increase of 19.2% over last year. Think that’s something? By 2014, the forecast is that it will be 1 in 4. America is way out in front, but since almost everyone in America already has a Facebook account, other countries have a chance of catching up.

Check out India with nearly 50% of the US number. And Brazil with their 45.4 million Facebook users.

Millennials Look to Digital Word-of-Mouth to Drive Purchase Process – PRimage comment

Monday, February 6th, 2012

Judy Viitanen and PRimage find this new report very interesting. It seems that younger consumers more likely to share purchase experiences with the masses. If this study is accurate, businesses may need to adjust their marketing strategy for millennials.

In a few short years, millennials—consumers currently ages 18 to 34—will account for a sizeable portion of US purchase decision-makers. Yet Bazaarvoice found these digital natives are already using and creating online content to recommend or dissuade friends, family and anonymous site-visitors from a brand, product or service.

Compared to their older counterparts, baby boomers, millennial internet users showed a greater reliance on anonymous recommendations and reviews when making purchase decisions. Bazaarvoice found 66% of boomers ages 47 to 65 turned to known parties for information and recommendations to influence their purchase decisions over user-generated content. Millennials, on the other hand, were almost equal in their reliance on friends and family (49%) vs. anonymous user-generated content from company websites (51%) to influence their buying decisions.

Bazaarvoice defined user-generated content as any on-site content created by internet users. This included reviews, comments, stories and questions. Like with traditional word-of-mouth, internet users seek out these insights to compare products, services and even brands.

The study also found millennials more likely to share their own purchasing experiences—both positive and negative—with the masses. Aside from company websites, forty-two percent of millennial internet users said they preferred to post comments on social networking sites about positive product, brand or service experiences in order to share their experience, compared to just 17% of baby boomers. And slightly more millennials (25%) preferred to share positive information on third-party sites such as CNET and Consumer Reports than did boomers (21%).