Stay Connected:  MaHIMA’s Weekly News Vehicle

Co-authors: Jackie Judd, CCS, Director of Communications, MaHIMA; Susan Pepple, Co-Editor Connect/Stay Connected;  Lori McNeil Tolley, RHIA, M.ED.; Ellen Butler Vaitkunas, RHIA; Marianne Garfi, RHIA, CCS-P; Donna Volpe Casey, RHIA; Zainab Shuaib, M.D., M.P.H., CDIP; Srdjan Perisic, MM, CPC, CRC, OHCC; Joy P. Rose, MSA, RHIA, CCS, CHPS; Martha Hamel, CHPC, Co-Editor Connect/Stay Connected

Over the years, some of our biggest challenges have been getting membership involvement and innovative ways to communicate with them. Here in Massachusetts, we are particularly challenged with engaging our student population. The state has a limited number of CAHIIM accredited schools and the programs are largely online. Many of our students are moving into a second career and are working full time so demonstrating the value of MaHIMA membership to their new career is very important.

In the summer of 2017, the MaHIMA Communications Committee held a special in-person meeting to brainstorm how to address these issues as well as consider ways to harness member participation in small ways with big impact, limit the time commitment, increase awareness/attendance for our programs, generate income and perhaps most importantly, it would need to be fun for all involved including the committee members. We also knew that we wanted to “brand” our new project similar to our Official Quarterly Newsletter Connect, so that the membership would understand it is a supplement to the MaHIMA Newsletter, coming to them more frequently and in a more modern way!

What emerged from this meeting was “MaHIMA Stay Connected” a weekly blog keeping our members informed on MaHIMA activities and news that affects the HIM Profession! It was launched in the Fall of 2017. It is lively as well as timely, less formal than our quarterly newsletter, and a quick read placing MaHIMA in front of our members every week via email with 1-2 sentence ‘snippets’ linking to longer articles available on our website or elsewhere. Stay Connected was announced in an E-Alert and at our Fall Meeting, as well as in an introduction at the top of our first issue.

Our content generally falls into the following categories:

Member Spotlight

The outreach to our member community has been a huge success! We have used our member spotlight to profile longstanding members, members who have recently moved to our area, new members and members undertaking new and exciting projects. Each person receives a simple 3-4 question questionnaire and their answers are edited to appear as a conversation.  It has proven to be an easy way of working asynchronously to achieve an interesting article. An added bonus of  Member Spotlight is that we will know our members better when looking to nominate candidates for office.

Meet the Speaker

Speakers for upcoming programs are invited to write a short article about their topic or to provide a link to an existing article published elsewhere.  The goal is to encourage attendance at their presentation and the article features a registration link for the meeting.

IG Corner

Informing our members on Information Governance activities, including current events, upcoming trainings, and IG guidance published by AHIMA.

Coding Tips

A member favorite! At this point, we are receiving tips from trusted members of our coding community without making a request.

Student Profiles

We have worked with local Program Directors to feature current students and recent graduates to help introduce our students to their future employers and colleagues.

Cross Collaboration Between Committees

Stay Connected works to support the activities of other committees, for example we worked with our Nominating Committee to solicit a series of statements from past CSA leadership to encourage others to step forward. We also work with the Director of Education to promote meetings, workshops, and webinars by featuring speakers and meeting content. We anticipate the Legislative Committee will share the daily almost real-time activities at the 2018 Hill Day in Washington DC!

Vendor Contributions

Vendors and service providers are a great source of technical articles on their area of expertise and many are willing to pay for the opportunity to be in front of our members. We work to ensure the articles are not ‘salesy’ but rather informative and provide valuable insight.

Production

While valuable, the quarterly newsletter is currently using older technology which requires complicated software, additional time and often the news may be outdated when published. Stay Connected is easily created by using our present website only. The articles make use of more current information, existing content where available, and updated technology allowing for easy real-time editing if necessary.  Content may also be banked for future use and published with a simple click. The committee’s role is divided among several committee members reducing the burden on any one person.  The tasks include finding an author and requesting an article, editing articles, writing profiles, writing a jazzy snippet to interest readers, and assembling the snippets into the weekly blog. The next phase is incorporating an automation feature to assemble the weekly email. Our costs have been minimal by using our contracted web support hours for the creation of the article and email templates. We are using MailChimp’s free service for the weekly email delivery. More frequent distribution has generated ad sales, providing additional income to the CSA. We are working on ensuring a similar process is adopted for the production of our current quarterly newsletter.

Results

Mailchimp Campaign Reports provide an excellent snapshot of Stay Connected’s popularity including unique and total open rates as well as click rates for articles. Member Spotlight and Coding Tips have the highest click rates!

What people are saying …

I think Stay Connected is great.  Just enough info on a regular basis.  NICE WORK!!

Just wanted to let you know that I love this new blog.  I find the member spotlight is a great way to meet members that are not able to attend the MAHIMA meetings.

I see Stay Connected as a vehicle to communicate so many of the things we always talk about but don’t get done.

Just wanted to say I think this new weekly blog is a great idea and so well done!

The Future

Stay Connected is in a trial phase. We are currently surveying the membership on the topics of frequency and areas of interest. We are very excited to get the survey response. Stay Connected has been energizing to the membership and their response has energized our committee!!

Examples of recent issues:  

January 24, 2018: Coding, Speakers, Leadership!

January 3, 2018: Members, Speakers, Vendors, Nominations

December 13, 2018: Member Spotlight, IG, Nominations, Coding Tip