Debra Zalvan

Debra Zalvan is UbiCare's Executive VP of Marketing. She focuses on expanding our business scope, bringing UbiCare to new markets and honing our messaging. She provides project governance for UbiCare’s new projects, as well as our work with the Department of Defense.
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Recent Posts

Using Direct Patient Activation to Motivate Patients

Posted by Debra Zalvan on Sep 13, 2018 8:05:00 AM

Imagine you are one of the 1.1 million people about to have a joint replacement this year. Your doctor gave you information during your pre-op visit but you were so busy worrying about your recovery and how you would manage your daily responsibilities, that you missed a lot of the details. Your husband took some notes but he was also overwhelmed at the thought of you being off your feet for 6 weeks. You’ve been doing the best you can with what you remember of your care instructions and you’re hoping for a successful outcome.

Now imagine, instead, that you started to receive care instructions and check-ins from your surgeon after that first pre-op visit. The information helped you remember what your doctor said, reminded you what you need to know at every point in this process (which can be more than six months from pre-op through recovery) and eased your anxiety.

That level of engagement is known as patient activation – the act of energizing a person to manage his or her own health and healthcare with knowledge, skills and confidence. Patient activation is associated with better post-surgical outcomes, including a 40% decrease in 30-day readmissions and 21% lower care costs in the year after surgery.

Hospitals are making that impact even stronger by employing what is referred to as direct patient activation – motivating patients with regular, targeted mobile connections delivered through push messaging.

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Topics: Improving Patient Outcomes, Patient Engagement, Patient Experience, Innovation, Healthcare Technology, Episode of Care, patient activation

How to Increase Patient Activation—4 Areas That Matter

Posted by Debra Zalvan on May 29, 2018 2:05:00 PM

When my daughter was 2 years old, she was diagnosed with a peanut allergy. At the office visit, the doctor told me, simply, “Avoid ethnic foods,” and scooted me out the door. I left—scared, anxious and thinking there had to be more information that I needed to know. I immediately searched Dr. Google for answers (and changed pediatricians).

Every interaction that patients have with their doctors, nurses and others in the hospital—whether in-person or online—makes an impression. Are you paying attention to what matters to ensure that your impression is a positive, long-lasting one?

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Topics: Value-Based Care, Improving Patient Outcomes, Patient Engagement, Patient Experience, Healthcare Technology, healthcare marketing

Maintain a HIPAA-Compliant Digital Strategy for Patient Communication

Posted by Debra Zalvan on Mar 27, 2018 2:10:00 PM

In our personal lives, Americans have grown used to giving up personal information to technology in exchange for convenience. We manage passwords using smartphone keychain and apps. We share our emails, phone numbers and birthdays to get store coupons. We save our credit cards in online shopping carts.

As healthcare professionals, however, we are cautious—fearful, even—of dealing in personal information because of the 5-letter abbreviation that looms over our work: HIPAA.

HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, became law in 2002 and was designed to protect the private information of patients and to make sure they are well informed about their choices and their consent for those choices.

Yet even as far back as 2003, HIPAA recognized the need to balance patient privacy and efficiency for healthcare providers. In fact, HIPAA makes digital patient engagement, education and care management easier than you may think.

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Topics: Patient Engagement, Innovation, Healthcare Technology, Episode of Care, healthcare marketing

Tap Into Human Nature to Engage Patients

Posted by Debra Zalvan on May 23, 2017 8:45:00 AM

One of my favorite health quotations comes from Florence Nightingale’s classic Notes on Nursing: What it is and What it is Not: 

“Apprehension, uncertainty, waiting, expectation, fear of surprise, do a patient more harm than any exertion.”

The phrase, in a book first published in 1859, speaks to the idea that patients have strong, often conflicting emotions related to whatever care episode they’re dealing with. Pair those feelings with the fact that health information can sometimes be unfamiliar and scary, and it’s understandable that patients have a hard time comprehending and retaining a doctor’s instructions and advice.

At UbiCare, we believe there are 3 key dimensions that effective healthcare education must include to address patients’ emotional needs, impact their behavior and, ultimately, improve their health outcomes.

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Topics: Patient Engagement, Patient Experience