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A Time for Celebration. And for Giving.

While New Year’s is typically a time of anticipation for what’s ahead, 2019 is also a year of reflection for Fusion Hill. That’s because we’re celebrating our 15th anniversary.

January 7, 2004, marks the official day Kerry and Kasey launched what has grown to a team of 40+ employees. But we’ll be celebrating all year long with a year of giving, an anniversary party this fall and more.

We kicked off our year of giving with a holiday gift that included hat donations to charities that serve the homeless in the Twin Cities and other locations where Fusion Hill employees live. At the same time, we gave financial support to help launch 15 women-owned small businesses through Heifer International.

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we’ll once again volunteer our time at Open Arms of Minnesota, helping bring nutritious meals to people dealing with life-threatening illnesses.

We look forward to a year of giving – in our community and beyond. And we’re excited to celebrate our 15th anniversary with everyone who’s helped make Fusion Hill what it is today.


| Culture

Envisioning the Future of Health: Key Takeaways from MANOVA.

Over the past 15 years, we’ve partnered with health care leaders who are working to solve some of the industry’s toughest challenges. So when the first-ever MANOVA Global Summit on the Future of Health was hosted in Minneapolis, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to attend.

Determined to answer some of the biggest questions in health care, thought leaders in business, technology, consumer marketing, academia and government explored how we can shift from a reactive approach to a preventive one. How we can ensure everyone has access to quality care at an affordable price. And how data and new technologies can be used to enable better health and drive patient engagement. Here are a few key takeaways:

Physicians Are Struggling1

Shifts in the health care system have put significant pressure on physicians, who find themselves tasked with more administrative duties, more data entry requirements and far less time for patient care. They’re also struggling with information overload, both from the medical knowledge available and from all the data they can access. This scenario has led to unfilled positions and startling burnout. In fact, physicians are two to four times more likely to die of suicide than the general public.

Loneliness Is a Serious Risk2

People who feel lonely are more likely to die from cardiovascular disease, cancer, respiratory illness and gastrointestinal causes.3 In fact, insufficient social connection is a bigger risk factor for premature death than obesity – and the equivalent of smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day.4 It’s important to note, however, that being around people doesn’t necessarily solve this issue: People can have a large social circle but still feel lonely. These findings have led some people within the medical community to consider loneliness a disease, not just a set of circumstances.

Empathy Matters5

Studies have shown that patients have better outcomes if they feel connection and empathy from physicians. And, to be healthy, people need to have tolerance for others. Yet there’s a tolerance issue on both sides of the physician/patient relationship, and the fact that physicians don’t represent the diversity of the U.S. contributes to it. The good news is that medical schools are beginning to train on empathy, helping providers build it as a skill.

New Ideas Continue to Emerge

No health care summit would be complete without a discussion of emerging trends and technologies, and we definitely heard some new lingo.

  • Precision medicine6 – Also called personalized medicine or individualized medicine, this customized approach tailors decisions and treatments to individuals in every way possible.
  • Pharmacogenomics7 (PGx) – A combination of pharmacology (the science of drugs) and genomics (the study of genes and their functions), PGx studies how individuals’ genes impact their response to drugs.
  • Software as a medical device6 (SaMD) – SaMD performs medical tasks without being part of hardware. For example, anesthesiologists could look at a dashboard that uses advanced algorithms to monitor and make recommendations based on multiple patient-specific data points, much like autopilot on a plane.
  • Prescription software8 – Also called digital therapeutics, prescriptive software uses online health technologies to drive behavioral and lifestyle changes. Physicians can use these tools – often in the form of apps – to treat medical or psychological conditions.
  • Phygital9 – A recently coined term, phygital refers to the mindset of Gen Z, which feels comfortable in and does not draw a distinction between the physical and digital worlds.

How can these emerging technologies and trends help drive better health engagement? And how can we tackle the greater issues of physician burnout, loneliness and lack of empathy? Our research team is always interested in helping find the answers. Reach out anytime if you’d like to continue the conversation.

  1.  Josh McHugh, Attention Span Media; Michael Pitt, MD, U of MN, Pediatrics.
  2. Andy Slavitt, Former Administrator, CMS and Founder, United States of Care.
  3. Julianne Holt-Lunstad.
  4. Jennifer Latson, March 2018 Psychology Today.
  5. Robert Brook, MD, RAND Corporation; Michael Pitt, MD, U of MN, Pediatrics.
  6. David Perry, Indigo Health & Better Therapeutics; James Mault, MD, Cquentia.
  7. James Mault, MD, Cquentia; Aneesh Chopra, Former CTO, United States & CareJourney.
  8. David Perry, Indigo Health & Better Therapeutics; NightWare.
  9. David Stillman, Gen Z @ Work; Penny Wheeler MD (CEO, Allina Health); Lesley Solomon (SVP & Chief Innovation Officer, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute); Susan Turney MD (CEO, Marshfield Clinic Health System); Arianna Huffington, Thrive Global.

| Culture

Our Hearts Are Brimming.

2018 has been a fantastic year, and we’re filled with gratefulness for our families, friends, colleagues and extraordinary clients. Before we head into the Thanksgiving weekend, we’re taking a moment to reflect on all the bountiful work and bountiful joy we’ve experienced.

  • Our team is 40 people strong and still growing!
  • For the third year in a row, we were named one of Minnesota Business Magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For.
  • One of our founding principals, Kasey Hatzung, was named Woman Business Owner of the Year by NAWBO-MN.
  • We built out a deck space next to our studio, which faces the Mississippi River.
  • Our work has taken us to Miami, Virginia Beach, New York City, Boston and Anchorage – just to name a few.

At the heart of all of this has been our close partnership with you. And for that, we thank you.


| Culture

“Hey, Siri, Where’d You Get Your Personality?” Four Ways to Make a Digital Assistant Engaging.

When you think of digital assistants, you’re likely to think of Amazon’s Alexa, Google’s Assistant or Apple’s Siri, and how they make your life a little easier by giving you reminders, providing commute updates and helping you with your online shopping. The form and function of these assistants is often top of mind and it’s easy to see how these aspects align with their respective brands and help engage the user.

But what about the personalities of these digital assistants? How do their personalities enhance the user experience, and how do you design a personality that is both helpful and fun for the user to interact with?

The personality of a digital assistant is an essential piece of the puzzle when it comes to user engagement and satisfaction. A digital assistant may have plenty of functionality, but if accessing that functionality isn’t an enjoyable experience, users might decide not to use your product. Below are four key things to consider when designing a digital assistant personality that engages users and aligns with the client’s brand.

• Conveying Empathy: The digital assistant should use a tone and language that signals empathy to the user as a way to build trust. Especially when dealing with sensitive topics like health or money, it is important for the user to feel like their digital assistant is trustworthy and understands what they need.1

• Personality Quirks: While incorporating personality quirks might seem less intuitive than building in empathy, adding minor personality flaws helps humanize interactions in a way that allows the user to relate to their digital assistant.2 Think about taking an existing personality trait of the parent brand and amplifying it or adding a nuance to it for the digital assistant.

• Creating Dialogue: Users are more likely to engage with their digital assistant if they feel satisfied with the overall experience. While the ultimate goal is for users to feel like their needs are being met, something as small as creating simple dialogue can go a long way to increase user satisfaction and engagement.3

• Gendered or Genderless?: Currently, the “out of the box” personality setting for the majority of digital assistants is explicitly or implicitly female. Conversations in the media highlight concerns that female digital assistants reinforce gender stereotypes by implying that they are more suitable to fill service roles.4 This means choosing a gender – or not – increasingly has the potential to make a statement.

1. Tearsheet. Banks struggle with empathy, privacy issues with voice banking. Available at: https://www.tearsheet.co/artificial-intelligence/banks-struggle-with-empathy-privacy-issues-with-voice-banking. Accessed August 2, 2018.

2. Digiday. ‘We’ve trained our customers to be super rigid’: Lessons from Capital One’s chatbot, Eno. Available at: https://digiday.com/marketing/weve-trained-customers-super-rigid-lessons-capital-ones-chatbot-eno/. Accessed August 2, 2018.

3. Time. Google wants to give your computer a personality. Available at: http://time.com/4979262/google-wants-to-give-computer-personality/. Accessed August 2, 2018.

4. Forbes. Voice assistants as an extension of your brand: Three things marketers should consider. Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescommunicationscouncil/2018/07/23/voice-assistants-as-an-extension-of-your-brand-three-things-marketers-should-consider/#71c44c0d8a24. Accessed August 2, 2018.


| Research

Impact of Finances on Health.

Financial stress: Reacting to a growing crisis

If you’ve ever dealt with bill-driven insomnia or credit-card-induced stomach pains, you’ve experienced financial stress. Health care professionals have long studied the role stress plays in our personal health and, subsequently, how stress affects our quality of life and how we interact with our surroundings. As our culture becomes more adamant about treating anxiety and fostering open, honest conversations about mental health, a recent push to understand how money problems produce stress has occurred.

There’s now increased awareness of “financial stress” – the relationship between financial difficulties and their effects on health – in the health care and financial industry sectors. As a result, employers, universities and research institutions alike are actively creating and developing myriad resources to combat this crisis.

Research shows that financial stress affects different components of a person’s overall health.

As institutions continue to undertake research endeavors to understand how finances affect our health, financial stress has become a widespread experience in the United States. In 2015, the American Psychological Association published research intended to identify the most common sources of tension in the United States and concluded that 72% of Americans experience financial stress. In follow-up studies published in 2017, they determined that money is the second-most-common stressor among Americans. Other institutions have discovered that the most common symptoms of financial stress are anxiety and depression and that financial burdens also affect physical health and interpersonal relationships. Further research illustrates that, as a result, our nation’s productivity, the quality of our familial relationships and the experiences we are providing for our kids are declining.

Research shows that financial stress affects certain demographics differently, too.

Apart from the distinct ways that financial stress affects individual components of our health, different demographics experience unique challenges when they encounter this issue. Communities especially vulnerable to financial stress include parents of young children, low-income individuals, the uninsured, people with limited mobility and other disabilities, and first-generation college students, to name a few. Strikingly, the heightened vulnerability experienced by these groups can be so pronounced that, sometimes, people may fall victim to substance abuse or avoid seeking medical care altogether.

Institutional endeavors and public health campaigns are helping Americans combat financial stress.

The substantial breadth of offerings provided by employers, universities and federal agencies is impactful because, as a result of our increased awareness of financial stress, resources are being customized to address the specific needs of unique communities and individual aspects of overall health.

Apart from the impact of financial stress on Americans’ health, many studies assert that financial stress reduces the quality of work and productivity of employees. Collectively, employees across all positions in any given workplace contribute to billions of dollars’ worth of lost revenue every year. Employees spend a substantial amount of time at work worrying about finances, and their productivity is negatively affected by stress even when they actively concentrate on tasks.

These insights offer a new perspective on the age-old aphorism “health is wealth.” Check out our report on the impact of finances on health to learn more about this pressing issue and its intricate nuances. Download the full report here.


| Research
 
 

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