Returning for More
Lincoln resident and MBS grad returns to earn online MBA degree
As director of marketing and development at the Penobscot Valley Hospital in Lincoln, Maine, MBS alumna Kristie Libby is working to help meet the growing challenges in healthcare.
“In healthcare today, there has been a shift from treating the patient following an illness to preventing the illness altogether,” she says. “Facilities are seeing fewer patients needing overnight care and now are providing more outpatient services that use lab work and imaging to help diagnose an illness. To this end, we at PVH are partnering with organizations to help prevent major healthcare issues like obesity and substance abuse. Also, we recently unveiled a new mission, vision and tag line, ‘Your partner in health.’ Our staff is communicating with patients, taking an active role in their healthcare and going above and beyond every day to improve their health and well-being.”
A native of Lincoln, Maine, where she still lives, Libby earned a degree in marketing from MBS in 2004 and now is participating in the school’s online MBA program. She had been thinking about continuing her education, and after reading about the new online MBA in a recent MBS Connects, was inspired.
“I was impressed by the flexibility offered by the new MBA program,” she says. “Anyone’s work/life schedule can be accommodated since courses can be entirely online, entirely on-site, or a combination.”
Her days fly by as she serves as hospital spokesperson and primary media contact and as community liaison, informing residents about changes that the hospital has put in place to enhance the patient experience. She is responsible for writing a variety of material including the hospital’s annual benefit report, news releases for the local paper, and articles for the monthly hospital newsletter.
“I particularly enjoy the writing aspect of my job since I am often asked to facilitate communication between hospital departments as I gather knowledge from our clinical staff,” Libby says. “This allows me to learn and inform the community on innovative changes to enhance the patient experience.”
For example, a recent article for the hospital newsletter required her to work with the hospital’s pharmacist, case manager, and primary care practice about the importance of taking prescribed medications.
“Research shows that 40% of patients report not filling a medication or splitting doses to limit their drug expense,” she says. “In my article I pointed out that our pharmacist can recommend more affordable alternate medications, our case manager can refer patients to resources that can help them pay for their medication, and our primary care practitioners can oversee the entire process to improve the patient’s health.”
Libby received high accolades in 2014 when her work on the 2014 PVH Community Benefit Report earned the hospital an Award of Excellence from the New England Society for Healthcare Communications (NESHCo).
Always cognizant that the annual community benefit report reminds residents that the hospital is committed to the region and aims to serve as a resource in growth and development, she created a new format with a strong graphic design, condensed the previously 11-page report into a six-sheet portfolio, and made sure the language and presentation was simple and straightforward since it would be mailed to nearly 7,000 households.
The report won NESHCo’s Creative Design & Photography Division for printed piece design in the esteemed Lamplighter Awards. Other winners in the category were MIT Medical and Harvard Medical School.
“This was the first year PVH joined the professional group, New England Society for Healthcare Communications, which provided the hospital staff with training and networking opportunities,” says Libby. “We were thrilled to be recognized in a category with other respected institutions. It was also an impactful piece for our community.”
Libby enjoys living and working in the same close-knit community in which she was raised. As head of the Lincoln Economic Development Committee’s marketing subcommittee, she recently spearheaded the creation of a new promotional video (lincolnmaine.org) to encourage those looking to start or relocate a business to consider Lincoln. The video garnered 2,000 views on YouTube and connected with 15,000 people on Facebook within the first few weeks.
“It’s a joy to work on this committee with volunteers who are all engaged and have a personal responsibility to see Lincoln succeed,” she says.