#1. Walking Outside in Orlando, Florida

Prior to my arrival in sunny Orlando, Florida, I was on a flight from Detroit, Michigan that required my plane to get de-iced before takeoff. It was 20 degrees at 5AM in Ann Arbor, and 5 hours later, I was in 80 degree weather. During the conference, I’d walk outside during breaks and soak up some Vitamin D. Thank you Greystone for picking warm locations for this annual conference.

#1 Least favorite memory: It was freezing indoors. The conference rooms were set to polar vortex temperatures.

#2. Larry Bailin’s keynote speech

I was a tweeting machine during Larry Bailin’s keynote speech. Everything that came out of his mouth was so insightful and incredibly important. Some of my favorite quotes were:

#2 Least favorite memory: Realizing his mammo-grahams recipe included potatoes and peanut butter. That was as unappetizing as the idea of getting a mammogram.)

#3. Watching the KLM lost & found beagle video

During Jay Baer’s keynote “Hug Your Haters,” Jay showed examples of good and bad responses to angry customers on social media. One of the “good” examples presented was about KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. The airline uses information such as seat numbers, phone numbers and social media details to reunited passengers with their left-behind belongings. Oh, and there’s Sherlock too:

#3 Least favorite memory: Being reminded that Sherlock isn’t real!

#4. Growing appreciation of search marketing

There were a lot of sessions about hospitals improving their search marketing, whether it was through SEO via content creation or PPC via Adwords and Display. One of the sessions that I attended was about Wake Forest Baptist Health System and how they ran PPC campaigns that went to an unbranded landing page about home dialysis. They took a page from what pharmaceutical companies, like Pfizer, are doing with general education and their unbranded websites such as arthritis.com. Another session featured Memorial Healthcare System and how they are leveraging Google Adwords, Pandora ads and more to increase conversions and awareness online. Of course, there was also the session that we presented with Beaumont Health about their journey to predictable and scalable patient acquisition. It’s really great to see more and more hospitals enter the PPC space, since 77% of patients use search prior to scheduling an appointment.

#4 Least favorite memory: So this isn’t technically a “least favorite” memory, but even though there were a few more sessions featuring hospitals and their search marketing examples, those examples were still the exception. It’d like to see more hospitals and their executives become more educated on the power of SEO and PPC and how search marketing can turn online visitors into real life patients.

5. The idea of winning an Apple iWatch

The thing to win this year in the exhibitor’s hall was the Apple iWatch. It was also a featured talking point in some of the advanced technologies sessions. The iWatch is still in the early adopter’s phase, and based on the Gartner’s Hype Cycle, I think it’s still at the peak of inflated expectations, getting ready to dip into the trough of disillusionment.

#5 Least favorite memory: Not winning one…because it’s been a week and I haven’t received any notifications. #sadface

All-in-all, I had a great time at the Healthcare Internet Conference this year. I’m looking forwards to next year’s conference in Las Vegas, NV. See you there!