Adrianne O'Brien discusses the changing landscape of the healthcare publishing industry

Adrianne O'Brien discusses the changing landscape of the healthcare publishing industry

Adrianne O’Brien, editor of Executive Insight, discusses changes in the healthcare publishing industry and what to expect leading up to the presidential election.

Dodge: Tell us a little bit about your role at Executive Insight and how you landed in the healthcare publishing industry.
O’Brien: I’m the editor of Executive Insight, which, generally speaking, means that I oversee content planning and strategy for our print publication and website. I base content decisions on hot topics in the industry, trends I identify at conferences and our own data analytics. This makes for, I hope, an effective combination. The editor role has changed so much over the last few years. I spend a good amount of time on content acquisitions, which is a traditional part of the job, but also on social media and producing multimedia pieces.
Before I made the move over to Executive Insight, I was the special projects editor for the ADVANCE for Nurses suite of nursing magazines, also published by our parent company Merion Matters. In that role, I headed up several specialty annual publications and spent many, many hours on salary surveys, among other things.
Dodge: How, from a content development perspective, has the publishing industry changed since you first began writing?
O’Brien: Oh, it’s changed completely. Editors and readers are much more connected than they were 10 or 15 years ago because of the Internet and e-mail initially, and now social media. And there are so many more avenues for finding news and authors now – e-newsletters, blogs, Twitter, LinkedIn. The flip side of that is that you can easily get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of industry news, but that’s when you have to sift to uncover the trends.
Dodge: We’ve noticed the print edition of Executive Insight went from quarterly to 10X per year during a time where print publishing appears to be decreasing. What was the driving factor behind this decision?
O’Brien: It essentially comes down to positive feedback and the fact that we’re fulfilling a need. Executive Insight offers something unique to the market by opening up the lines of communication among C-suite hospital leaders. We’re also providing strategic content tailored to healthcare executives that helps them identify and grow their hospital’s ability to improve patient care and increase profitability. There’s a huge need for those kinds of solutions and strategies.
Dodge: How has the growth of social media changed the way you create content for readers?
O’Brien: The whole nature of social media – creating connections – dovetails with the mission of Executive Insight, and most other publications, I’m sure, which is to provide a community. We aim to have a strong peer-to-peer component. Much of our content is written by healthcare executives themselves.
For us on the editorial side, social media allows us to get immediate feedback on which topics readers are reacting to, which helps in our content planning efforts. For example, our previous salary survey was probably our most popular online content last year. Because of reader feedback, we decided pretty quickly to make salary surveys an annual (as opposed to less frequently published) project. It’s great getting that kind of feedback.
Dodge: Given this is an election year, which topics will you be tracking most closely leading up to November?
O’Brien: The feasibility of accountable care organizations (ACOs), the upshot of less state funding for hospitals, and the new quality initiatives, how the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Health Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) surveys will impact hospital reimbursements. The collective thinking seems to be that healthcare reform was necessary, but it’ll take some time to find solutions. Not too much time, though, because another point most people agree on is that the current model won’t be sustainable long-term.