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Blog Post

St. Luke's Blogs

What You Want from the Blog: Poll Results

By Dr. David C. Pate, News and Community
September 15, 2013

Recently, we asked readers to share their ideas about the blog. About 205 people participated in the survey, or about 10 percent of the people who read the blog each week.  Thanks to those who took part, and I want to share the results here.

The majority of those who took the survey identified themselves as St. Luke’s employees, and it was great to see that 24 percent of participating readers were patients! In addition to employees and patients, the blog is reaching volunteers, donors, board members, legislators, physicians, including independent physicians, healthcare workers who are not employees of St. Luke’s, and members of our community. This is wonderful, and I am honored that all of you choose to read the blog.

Interestingly, only 49 percent of those taking the survey live in Boise. Another 21 percent live in Ada County, but not in Boise, 10.3 percent are residents of Canyon County, and another 13.7 percent live in Idaho, but outside of Ada and Canyon counties. Almost 6 percent live outside of Idaho.

I asked whether we are providing the right mix of health policy, healthcare strategy, current events, and health education, and 53 percent of you strongly agreed that we were. Another 30 percent mostly agreed, and five respondents felt that the mix was not right. From the comments, it appears that you would like to see more national and state health policy news and commentary.

We also wanted to know whether we were posting stories too often, and 6.5 percent thought so, not often enough, and 4.5 percent thought so, or just about right, and 89 percent felt that way.

We have tried to mix things up with articles, photo essays, and videos, and we asked whether our videos were effective.  We learned that 19 percent of you don’t watch them when we post them and 80 percent of you agreed, mostly agreed, or strongly agreed that they were effective. Only 1 percent disagreed.

And I received meaningful input from about 75 people who provided suggestions and comments.  We asked what other topics you would like us to cover, and you’ll find that list below this report.

One of my favorite comments was, “I love it and think it really shows that employees have been heard about the need for leaders to be transparent.” Thank you for that; it is certainly what I am trying to achieve!

There were also comments about how much people like the guest posts we add, and there were also a handful of comments from readers who did not like the guest blogs as much. There were a number of comments reflecting how busy and hectic people’s lives are and that they just don’t have time to watch the videos. I can certainly understand that.

There were several good ideas about including features of frontline staff and showing how they are helping St. Luke’s achieve our transformation.

I was also pleased that readers felt that the blog made all the changes going on in health care much more understandable.  I appreciated the positive feedback about the information we provide, and I was glad to see it has been helpful when I explain some of these issues in a straightforward and unbiased way, but also offer my own personal thoughts and opinions. At the end of the day, the majority of comments related to appreciation for the honesty and transparency of the blog – mission accomplished! 

There are a couple of changes that I plan to make in light of the comments:

  • We will periodically profile the work and efforts of managers and front-line staff, since there were many comments suggesting we do this.
  • We will cut back on the frequency of blog posts from two per week to just one, except that we will continue to run breaking news information when we think that’s helpful. I understand that many people like reading the blog but find two weekly posts difficult to keep up with. 
Thank you all for taking time to be part of our survey and provide me with this valuable feedback. The blog is for you.

 Here’s what you told us you’d like to see covered going forward on the blog:

  • Billing
  • Employee issues such as recruitment, retention, training, engagement, etc.
  • ICD-10
  • Financial changes in health care
  • Information technology
  • Q&A videos with employees (Note: We have started adding videos of coffee chats and will be doing more.)
  • Healthcare prices
  • New and unique clinical programs (Note: Since the survey, we have started a series of posts related to new clinical programs each Thursday and we will continue for several more weeks.)
  • Highlight departmental successes in cost cutting
  • More coverage of healthcare politics
  • More stories on collaborations with community organizations
  • National healthcare issues and St. Luke’s solutions
  • Pain management
  • State government issues/policies
  • How healthcare changes will affect individuals
  • Lowering costs through integration
  • How moving from fee for service to pay for value can sustain efforts to improve health
  • Economic impact of St. Luke’s hospitals on their communities
  • Palliative and end-of-life care
  • Improvement in quality and access in rural markets
  • Impact of healthcare reform
  • Relations between St. Luke’s and Saint Alphonsus
  • Community events
  • Community health screening events sponsored by St. Luke’s
  • Periodic updates about status of the St. Alphonsus lawsuit (Note: We will be posting regular updates on our News blog, at
  • How employer relationships are changing with healthcare transformation
  • Details about how to manage the “new normal”
  • My opinion on natural or holistic approaches to medicine
  • More on strategy (Note: I have a two-part series coming up that takes a close look at our strategy.)
  • Examples of how St. Luke’s partners with patients in their own care
  • Importance of philanthropy
  • More results from new programs and initiatives
  • Payment reform
  • Physical fitness
  • Employee spotlights
  • Connecting the dots of the vision to employees
  • The impact on St. Luke’s of the implementation/changes/delays in the Affordable Care Act
  • State healthcare insurance exchange pros and cons (Note: I plan to write a blog piece explaining the state insurance exchange before the end of the month, since enrollment begins Oct. 1, and previously wrote this:
  • Profiles of the communities St. Luke’s serves
  • How we are addressing the aging nursing population
  • Population health (Note: I plan to write on this, probably next month.)
  • Community Health Needs Assessments
  • Initiatives to improve patient access
  • Ways to improve communication between caregivers and patients
  • More on the “why” for new initiatives
  • More of my experiences with patients and bedside staff

About The Author

David C. Pate, M.D., J.D., is president and CEO of St. Luke's Health System, based in Boise, Idaho. Dr. Pate joined the System in 2009. He received his medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and his law degree from the University of Houston Law Center.