Specialize in Pain Treatment, Not Painful Marketing

Specialize in Pain Treatment, Not Painful Marketing

By: Jared Christianson, Junior Copywriter

Injuries to bones and joints can happen to anybody. With the common nature of orthopedic conditions, it should be easy to attract new patients, right? Not without an effective marketing strategy!

Here are 7 steps for designing a successful marketing plan for your orthopedic clinic:

1. Address a diverse range of orthopedic services.

Focus the majority of your marketing on the most common injuries or treatments - such as shoulder, knee, and hip conditions and procedures - but remember to advertise a wide range of services and conditions. Whether it's spine care or foot and ankle treatments, many people don't realize that orthopedic clinics cover an extensive number of conditions.

2. Highlight your talented specialists.

Patients are drawn in by friendly and warm providers, so introducing them, in addition to highlighting your services, can help increase patient volume. Include a "Meet the Providers" section on your website, create YouTube videos interviewing some of the orthopedic surgeons, and post on social media about different staff members. People like when medical professionals seem accessible and up-to-date with social technology.

3. Show off the impressive features of your facility.

If your facility is modern, comfortable, and appealing to the eye, offer plenty of pictures and videos displaying the inviting features of your facility. Potential patients will see the modernity of your facility and assume that your healthcare and technology are equally new.

4. Come across as less traditional, yet still professional and innovative.

Orthopedic clinics treat patients ranging from kids to the elderly because injuries and pain can happen to anyone. Because of the wide variety of ages, you have to market to them all. Produce marketing campaigns covering anything from high school sports injuries to walking up the stairs safely after hip procedures. Patients appreciate advertising traditional services in a creative, modern fashion.

5. Advertise using broad networks.

As mentioned before, use social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to your advantage. Remember to also maintain traditional marketing strategies like direct mail campaigns and television and radio ads. The more coverage you provide through advertising, the more people you will reach. Examples can include a Facebook post about increasing football injuries because fall is arriving, or a television commercial about an older couple that is able to return to daily activities because of your clinic's services. To make the most effective use of these strategies, know where different audiences are and adopt your messaging to reach the right audience through the correct channel.

6. Use statistics to your advantage.

Every 1 out of 5 adults suffer from diagnosed arthritis. 90% of knee replacements last more than 10 years. Positive statistics like these influence patients dramatically. You can talk about the impressive outcomes from your treatments all you want, but facts and statistics are what stick.

7. Communicate the positive results.

We helped one orthopedic clinic increase new patient visits by 23% in just 10 months. Of course we are going to display that result for other people to see. When people notice positive results, they realize something good has to be happening at that clinic. They would rather go to an orthopedic clinic gaining patients than one losing patients.

All of these tips can help bring in more patients to your orthopedic clinic, but make sure to stay consistent when following them. Just because you created a few successful marketing plans doesn't mean it's time to relax. Always stay aware of new marketing strategies and upcoming trends. It will help separate you from your competitors.

If you want to learn more about marketing your orthopedic clinic, contact us today!

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5 Effective Strategies for Marketing Your Urology Clinic

5 effective strategies for marketing your urology clinic 2

In a world where transparency is vital to a business' success, urology clinics face some obstacles. There can be difficulty in promoting treatments of urologic issues when many people are uncomfortable with the subject matter. However, much like GI clinics and other specialties, urology clinics are becoming increasingly accessible through new attitudes in marketing and social media habits.

Rather than shy away from sensitive topics, embracing your treatments, procedures, and recovery options can be extremely beneficial for your business. Issues like kidney stones, enlarged prostate, and sexual dysfunction are some of the most common disorders in our country.

1 in 7 men will get prostate cancer in their lifetime. 11% of couples will experience some sort of fertility issue. 500,000 people suffer from kidney stones each year.

To not market the services you provide for these conditions would be to miss out on potential client growth and satisfaction.

With that in mind, here are 5 practices to effectively market your urology clinic.

1. Use statistics for your benefit.

The statistics regarding urologic conditions are staggering. With the common nature of urologic problems, you can use statistics to inform, surprise, draw in, and even shock people. If someone sees or hears an advertisement describing prostate cancer without statistics, they might just brush it off and continue with their day. If they hear that 1 in 7 men will get prostate cancer in their lifetime, they might contact their urologist in the near future for a checkup.

2. Promote new technology.

Whether it's new robotic surgery or Greenlight XPS Laser Technology, there are new and innovative developments appearing daily. Promoting these technologies helps potential patients feel safe knowing they will be receiving the best care with top-quality equipment. New technology advances also show a pursuit for constant change and improvement in the urology field.

3. Know your target markets.

Urology clinics treat many female patients, but male patients make up most of the business. You should still use about 40% of your marketing efforts to cater to women, but focus the majority of the marketing on men. When marketing to women, remember these strategies:

  • Emphasize how many women don't realize they can be treated at a urologist and showcase the variety of services offered for female urologic conditions.
  • Make sure you feature your female providers or mid-level providers in marketing plans as well; many women feel more comfortable being treated by other women when it comes to urologic care.
  • Encourage women to help their male partners see a urologist; men, on average, are less likely to visit the doctor for health issues.

4. Broaden your reach.

You can't expect people to hear about you through word-of-mouth or to somehow stumble upon your website on their own. With the incredible number of outlets for advertising in the world, use them to your advantage. Television, radio, social media, email, and direct mail are just a few of the methods in which you can market your services.

5. Provide variable content.

If you broaden your reach in as many channels as possible, you can't just use the same content for each format. Determine your target markets, develop a plan and calendar, and define your service line priorities. You can create a Facebook post that links to a blog written about prostate cancer prevention, and the blog directs the user to an eBook on your website. You can put together YouTube videos of provider profiles to display their accessibility and personality.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to marketing formats and strategies. The key is to take advantage of the possibilities. If you follow these tips when developing a marketing plan for your urology clinic, you're bound to improve your results.

When it comes to marketing your urology clinic, obstacles can present themselves along the way. If you are looking for a comprehensive plan to get you started, contact us today!

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5 Rules for Linking Business and Communication Goals

5 Rules for Linking Business and Communication Goals

By: Chelsea Rank, Account Coordinator

Whether you want to attract more followers to your business' Facebook page or persuade a particular audience to use your services, it all starts with a goal: a big picture statement of the outcome you hope to achieve.

In most cases, the goal of any business is to increase profitability. This can be accomplished through identifying a certain audience, leveraging certain marketing efforts, or creating brand awareness through media coverage. But how often have you thought about business and communication goals being separate from one another?

Communication goals create awareness, build a reputation, or shape attitudes, thereby helping achieve business goals. There are five strategies to consider when outlining a plan to leverage marketing to achieve business success:

The Five "C's"

  1. A successful organization aligns the coordinates of their business and communication goals. They are not separate entities-rather, they are linked. For example, social media goals are subordinate to business core values. Social media strategy, however, is in constant support of overall business strategy. Applying resources to reach the common goal between the business and communication strategy as effectively as possible will reinforce your organization.
  2. It could be oral, written, or visual, but content drives audience engagement. Knowing what to feature and what to avoid will help retain customers and attract new ones. Maintaining consistent core messages while knowing the difference between risk and opportunity will help optimize content to audience needs. In a way, this protects core values by eliminating clutter and highlighting important messages.
  3. The channels in which you choose to display your message can mean just as much as the message itself. Know which social media platforms to use and which to leave behind.  Your website is always your home base, and social media should support and drive traffic back there.
  4. Connections between digital tactics and traditional tactics will help link messages. There needs to be a common ground between social media platforms and other communication tools. Additionally, maintaining valuable relationships between stakeholders, competitors, and other audiences is imperative, and also demonstrates the importance of external connections.
  5. Assessing effectiveness through corrections will determine the best way to repair errors and continue to improve. Using audience interaction and feedback to improve and correct your goals is essential. Things don't always go as planned, but adjusting and trying again will sharpen your strategy. Tracking your digital efforts' return on investment is also important, so you can learn what is most effective. Setting up tracking from the beginning is the best way to continuously monitor and improve.

Marketing in any capacity drives business success, but especially in the healthcare realm. These five strategies will help your healthcare organization refine goals and determine how marketing can best achieve them.

 

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How to Design an Effective Marketing Strategy for Your Gastrointestinal (GI) Clinic

How to Design an Effective Marketing Strategy for Your Gastrointesinal (GI) Clinic

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, disorders of the gastrointestinal tract (GI) affect 60 to 70 million people in the United States every year. And that's not counting the millions more with undiagnosed symptoms. Colon cancer alone is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths each year, even though it can be detected early through colonoscopies. With over 20% of the population suffering from GI issues, the phone in your gastrointestinal specialty clinic should be ringing off the hook.

But what if it's not?


Well, you might not be marketing your clinic to its full potential. Like any specialty field of healthcare, marketing your GI clinic effectively is key to your success. How are people going to walk through your doors if they don't even know what you offer?

Here are 7 steps for designing a successful marketing plan for your GI clinic:

1. Understand your patients' needs.

Yes, you might have the latest and greatest technology for a certain procedure. And yes, maybe you have a recent interest in Zenker's Diverticulum, but what are most of your patients actually looking for?

Place high priority on common GI issues that will attract the greatest number of patients possible. For example, celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and heartburn are just a few of the most common GI conditions that occur. Think of your marketing like a tree: start with the trunk, and branch out from there.

2. Determine your target markets.

You're off to a good start, but now you have to put faces to names. What ages are you targeting? What level of knowledge does your target market have? Specific outlines of whom you're aiming for will go a long way in the creative process.

Also think about what stage your target markets are at in the process. Have they self-diagnosed? Have they been evaluated but didn't seek treatment? The messaging will vary based on their knowledge.

3. Design customized strategies for each market.

Would you give your 8-year-old nephew a brand new car for his birthday? No, because it doesn't make sense.

Same concept applies for your target markets. Different messaging and unique approaches will apply to each target market you're trying to reach. Brainstorm with your creative team and come up with several options for each market to draw in as many patients as possible.

4. Develop creative, but appropriate messaging.

Many of us wouldn't read a billboard that says, "Stop in today!" next to a picture of a GI clinic and get off the nearest exit to rush there.

Messaging should highlight your services, providers, quality of patient care and more. It should be creative and attention grabbing, yet informational and inviting. For example, a billboard might feature a line that says, "Fight Heartburn Today," and a graphic of a person in a boxing ring with heartburn. Cheesy? Maybe. But will it grab a person's attention more than a boring picture of your clinic? Yes.

5. Highlight your strengths.

You probably have many impressive features within your GI clinic, but make sure to highlight the ones specific to what separates you from your competitors. Strengths such as friendly physicians, convenience, or a comfortable, warm facility can attract new patients. For example, one GI clinic features content about their onsite surgery center because it's more convenient for patients than having to go to two separate facilities for the evaluation and surgery.

6. Provide content.

Use social media to your advantage. People look online for everything these days, so posting relevant information tailored to your markets' needs can attract a broad range of potential business. Social media content can include anything from blogs, Facebook posts, or tweets, but remember to fit each post within the style of the particular platform. An effective social media strategy would include a Facebook post about a healthy diet for people with Crohn's disease and a tweet about new summer hours and availability for patients.

7. Track your results and adapt to change.

If the first strategy you tried isn't working, don't just give up and revert back to old ways. Monitor your results, ask what you could be doing better, and adapt to the changing market. It might take some time, but the results will be positive in the end.

A well-designed GI clinic-marketing plan involves understanding, planning, acting and reacting to the needs and wants of the potential patients in your community. An effective marketing strategy will significantly increase the amount of traffic that walks through your doors, and will grow your business to the point where new patients consistently seek your clinic for their gastrointestinal needs.

When it comes to marketing your GI clinic, challenges can present themselves along the way. If you are looking for a comprehensive plan to get you started, contact us today!

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Everyday Blessings: 4 Lessons I've Learned from Interviewing in Healthcare Marketing

Interviewing

By Liz Paulson, Copywriter

My journalism career was over before it began. In 2002 as the associate news editor for the Boston College newspaper, I was assigned the task of reaching out to families of the BC alums who had died in the 9/11 attacks for the first anniversary of the tragedy. The paper was going to do a spread on it.

"Ask them to tell us what their kid liked about BC," instructed the managing editor.

"How do I know if I have the right family?" I asked.

"Ask them if they're missing anyone this time of year," the managing editor snickered.

I nodded. And then I spent the next week ignoring the assignment, yet thinking about it constantly. Who was I, a 20 year-old girl from Wisconsin, to call up grieving parents and ask them if their dead child had fond memories of tailgating at football games or throwing keggers in the Mods?

It didn't take my swift and subsequent dismissal from the newspaper staff to tell me what I already knew: I didn't have the stomach to be a journalist.

So, a decade and a half later, I was a little apprehensive about just one part of my new job at Legato: interviewing people who have suffered or faced challenges I knew nothing about for the publications that we help clients produce.

But, lucky for me, everyone I get to talk to for my job actually wants to talk to me. They want to share their stories of triumphing over an unlucky blow to their health. I also get to speak with featured hospital employees for each publication. They are always so gracious and pleased to share with me how much they love what they do. It's now my favorite part of my job: talking to regular people who have amazing attitudes and plenty of life experience to share.

Although it may not always make it into their articles, I've made it a habit to ask everyone I speak with what their secret is. If they're in love with their job, I ask why. If they're still happily married after 60 years, I ask how. If they have every right to be really mad at life for the situation they're in, but aren't, I ask why not. Here are some of my all-time favorite "secrets to life":

A woman who has been married for almost sixty years, whose husband takes her hand wherever they go, even if it's to cardiac rehab, told me this:

"Treat your husband like a flower. If you yell and berate the flower, it will wither and die. If you lavish love and sunshine on the flower, it will thrive and bloom for you."

 

The gentleman who was the oldest resident at his nursing home said faith was key:

"I can do all things though Christ," he said. "I try to be a blessing to others because the Lord has blessed me."

A nurse who works in the emergency room of a critical access hospital said that it was easy to have a good attitude at her job:

"Every day I see firsthand that every day is a gift. How could I possibly be negative when I know that life is so fragile and precious? I'm blessed to be able to do the work that I do."

The head housekeeper at a hospital admitted that changing linens wasn't the most glamorous part of her job, but that it was her privilege to interact with the patients:

"We might be the only people a patient sees all day who isn't there to poke them or give them bad news. It's our duty to do whatever we can to make their experience as comforting and comfortable as possible."

I have yet to speak to a bitter elderly person. I have yet to hear a featured staff member complain. I don't think it's a coincidence. I am convinced you don't get to be old if you don't have the good sense and the good humor to be grateful for your time on earth. And you don't become an outstanding employee by complaining about problems. You do so by solving them.

I'm so glad I never became a proper journalist. I know I'll never win a Pulitzer for the work I do on hospital publications, but I'm really, really proud of it. I have the honor of telling the remarkable stories of everyday people-people who, even though they may never get a better 15 minutes of fame than having their pictures printed in a local publication, have as much to teach the world as anyone on the cover of Time or the homepage of The Wall Street Journal. Maybe even more so.

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How to Create the Right Mix of Content to Share on your Hospital's Social Media

How to Create the Right Mix of Content to Share on Social MediaBy Chelsea Rank, Account Coordinator

In any social media strategy, content reigns as the most important influencer of audience engagement. In the healthcare marketing realm, the content your organization shares should reflect multiple different areas, without blatant self-promotion. I recently read the book Renegades Write the Rules, and thought the author, Amy Jo Martin, had some great points. In particular, she offered six different value buckets of content to use when leveraging social media to enhance your brand.

Educating posts teach your audience something new about the healthcare marketing industry:

  • Industry news
  • Industry legislation

Entertaining material includes lighter posts that spark interactivity with the audience:

  • Holiday posts
  • Contests

Inspiring content is encouraging or positive:

  • Community/charity events
  • Patient testimonials/patient stories

Exclusive posts show anything your audience doesn't have immediate access to in your company:

  • Behind-the-scenes videos
  • Virtual tours

Informative content includes branded information about your company:

  • Company awards
  • News releases

Reciprocation encompasses responding to your audience online:

  • Addressing comments
  • Answering questions

Your posts should reflect an equal balance between these categories.

A strategic principle of creating social media content is ensuring that posts are category-apportioned, meaning you are varying categories of content to create the right mix. Too few categories tell your audience that you offer little variety. Too many categories give off the impression that your organization's messaging is unfocused. Resources should be allocated across channels.

Develop a content mix review whether you're just getting started with social media to build your brand, you're already established on social media but are looking to improve your strategy, or you're just curious about the impact your content is making. I suggest keeping a log of previous posts and shares across your social media channels and grouping them into the six content categories. Take notice of any patterns that emerge. Also keep in mind the posts that generate the most audience interaction, and if any of these posts fall in the same content category.

Paying close attention to social media content will allow you to isolate effective strategies and shift your approach accordingly. You can then make decisions based on what produces results, rather than guessing what might work. Remembering the six content categories will allow you to create a rock-solid social media plan, revealing important patterns that lead to significant insight.

When it comes to digital marketing, social media is just one piece of the puzzle. If you are ready to improve your digital efforts and ensure all stategies are working together, download our e-book:
How to Focus Your Digital Strategy: 6 Steps to Creating a Patient Persona.

It will take you through how to:
-Create a patient persona specific to healthcare
-Find reliable research resources you can use to make data-driven decisions
-Do it on a budget

Download E-Book

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How Your Hospital Should Be Using Social Media

How Your Hospital Should Be Using Social Media

By Aaron Wagner, Account Executive

Whether you are a one-person show or part of a marketing team, there is always pressure from the senior executives and boards to "use social media." The tricky part is figuring out what social media channels to use and how to use each of them to benefit your hospital.

Believe it or not the answer isn't to use all of the social media channels or to post the same type of content on various channels. Identifying what you want to accomplish with each channel will help you stay on track with your hospital's social media goals and maximize your marketing efficiency.

Facebook. This is going to be your biggest audience and chance to make a great impact. Hospital's Facebook pages are becoming an extension of its website. Most facilities will post anything relevant to their Facebook page. Posts about events, new physicians, health articles, and updates about the hospital and the surrounding community are excellent subjects. It's a simple way to post content and updates quickly. Every hospital should have a Facebook page to better connect with its patients and the community.

Twitter. Hospitals shouldn't have a Twitter account unless they have a clear strategy and purpose for an account and can project a large enough following that warrants the time invested into the account. The best way for hospitals to utilize Twitter is to tease. With only 140 characters to make an impact, think of Twitter as an approach to get followers to your blog, website, or event page. Tease, "The 5 things you don't know about…" and have it link to the hospital blog. In the event of a crisis - depending on hospital size - Twitter might be useful to provide quick updates to the public.

Instagram. One of the most popular apps that continues to grow, but is there a reason a hospital should have one? Not necessarily. For smaller hospitals there's not a great need to have one. However, if you are part of a large hospital or system you should use Instagram as a way to connect with the community through photos. Photos should all be feel good - hospital events, fundraisers, volunteer work, staff etc. Perhaps create an Instagram cardboard cutout that people can take pictures with and use with a certain hashtag to encourage participation.

Snapchat. While it's the fastest growing app that continues to improve and evolve it's not a necessity. Snapchat could be a good resource for a larger hospital but would have to be done right for a smaller hospital to use it. Using Snapchat for events - run/walks, fundraisers, Foundation, etc. is a fun way to get those at the event to participate. Larger hospitals could have various doctors, therapists, and staff members "take over" the hospitals Snapchat for a "day in the life of" segments.

Pinterest. There are two main things that hospitals should use Pinterest for: food and exercise. Have your team of dieticians find healthy recipes to pin to the hospitals "Healthy Desserts" or "Healthy Breakfasts" boards. Encourage trainers and physical therapists to provide input on exercise ideas on how to lose weight, build strength, etc. and post those pins to the "Workout" or "Running" board.

The five apps above are great channels to connect with your patients and the community. If you decide to use more than one, make sure that you are "cross-apping." Share the Instagram photo to your Facebook page. Encourage your Facebook fans to follow you on Twitter. Post a blog recapping an event and tease it on your Instagram account. Or share a healthy recipe pin and link it to your website where you have other healthy recipes for visitors to check out.

Don't get overwhelmed! Unless you have a large social media team, start by mastering Facebook first. Then venture into Twitter, Instagram and the other apps. Consider forming a social media team of those who know how to use social media so you can venture into the various apps that make sense for your hospital. Social media can seem daunting, but the savvy marketer can master it with little trouble and start boosting a hospital's presence online.

When it comes to digital marketing, social media is just one piece of the puzzle. If you are ready to improve your digital efforts and ensure all stategies are working together, download our e-book:
How to Focus Your Digital Strategy: 6 Steps to Creating a Patient Persona.

It will take you through how to:
-Create a patient persona specific to healthcare
-Find reliable research resources you can use to make data-driven decisions
-Do it on a budget

Download E-Book

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Myths in Rural Healthcare: No One's Online in Rural Markets

Myths Rural Healthcare No Ones Online in Rural Markets

A major part of my job is developing marketing plans for our clients. It's a comprehensive schedule of tactics including all the ways we plan to reach our targets. And frequently, it includes digital and online components. As hard as it is to believe in 2016, an objection I still hear quite often from marketing managers and CEOs alike is that the people in their community aren't online.

This is a common misperception. They are. With the advent of smartphones and tablets, the Internet is more widely accessible than ever. Plus, more and more counties and smaller communities are getting Wi-Fi grants for their residents. Factors such as cell towers and proximity to cities matter less and less when it comes to online access. Let's look at some numbers:

  • 88.5% of the population in the United States is online.
  • 83% of people in rural communities are online.
  • 76% of Internet users search online for health information.
  • 52% of smartphone users search for health information on their phones.

At the most, 17% of people in rural communities aren't online. Dismissing an opportunity to connect with your audience because they may be part of that minority is unwise to say the least. So don't let old ideas keep you from being successful with new ones. Your patient population is much more connected than you may think. Digital and online marketing is a great way to reach them. Whether it's with an aggressive Google adwords push, fun and engaging Facebook content, informative blog posts, or enticing content offers, there are touch points at every turn for connecting with your audience.

So when you think rural healthcare marketing, think online. The platforms are there. Prospective patients are there. Your healthcare organization should be there too.

If you are ready to start building your brand's digital strategy, but are not sure where to start, download our presentation: "Rural Healthcare Marketing in a Digital World." Learn how to:

  • Control the message through your website content
  • Manage your brand on social media
  • Protect your reputation on review sites

We'll take you step by step to ensure you have a solid foundation-and the support you need-for taking your healthcare marketing online.

If you're ready to start building your brand's digital strategy, but are not sure where to start, download our presentation: Rural Healthcare Marketing in a Digital World.

Learn how to:
•  Control the message through your website content
•  Manage your brand on social media
•  Protect your reputation on review sites

We'll take you step by step to ensure you have a solid foundation--and the support you need--for taking your healthcare marketing online.

Download Free Guide

 

 

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Myths in Rural Healthcare: Rural Hospitals are a Thing of the Past

Critical Access Hospitals Are A Thing Of The Past

It's a changing world out there. Ask any rural hospital administrator. It seems like every day there's another story about a rural hospital being forced to close its doors. So it's easy to understand why the impulse for some is to just sit back and let the inevitable happen.

But it doesn't have to be that way. In fact, it's one of the healthcare industry's biggest myths: that rural hospitals are a dying breed. I take issue with that notion. Rural hospitals are just like any other business in any other industry: they're fighting for their share in a competitive market. And, like any other business in any other industry, some do it with more success than others.

Here's how the smart ones stay successful:

They develop a marketing plan. All this doom and gloom talk could be a crutch, your excuse to stop trying. We don't see it that way. With challenge comes opportunities. Start by marketing like a big city hospital. Evaluate what your strengths and weaknesses are. Take the pulse of the community you serve. What is their opinion of your facility? Do they even know all the services you offer? Then, explore areas of innovation and expansion. Take action, and then promote it. Marketing gets the word out and alerts potential and present patients to the exciting changes going on at your hospital.

Offer more and embrace technology. There's no better example of a rural hospital that I can think of facing the challenge head on than Barrett Hospital and Healthcare in Dillon, Montana. An institution since 1922, they moved into a beautiful state-of-the-art facility that feels like a five-star ski lodge in 2012. They've made great strides in expanding their services and have welcomed technological advances to more efficiently serve their patients. These are substantial investments, but for Barrett, they have paid off.

"Since moving into our new hospital, we've continued to work hard to expand services and improve access to healthcare to all we serve," says Ken Westman, CEO of Barrett Hospital and HealthCare. "And we will continue to look at opportunities to grow our services to meet the needs of the communities we serve."

This attitude helped earn Barrett Hospital and Healthcare accolades as an iVantage Top 100 Critical Access Hospital in 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2015 and a 2015 National Rural Health Association Top 20 Critical Access Hospital.

Take heart. The situation isn't as dire as some of those doomsday folks might have you believe. Take heart, and then take action. Success is out there for those who know where to find it.

Still uncertain about how your rural health facility can compete with larger systems?

Our NRHA webinar--Increase Revenue In Your Sleep--discusses how establishing partnerships and relationships can lead to an increase in:
•  Revenue
•  Patient volumes
•  Number of service lines

Download Webinar

 

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4 Things to Include in Your Critical Access Hospital’s Social Media Policy

A negative review. A bad comment. An inappropriate post. These are all reasons why many healthcare organizations are reluctant to become too active on social media. Because nobody can control everything that is being said.

However, since social media is such a large part of people's everyday lives - and a tool many use to make buying decisions - your healthcare facility can't afford not to be active. That's why it's important to have a comprehensive social media policy that everyone in your facility is familiar with.

A written policy can protect both your facility and your employees. Here are four important components that your policy should include:

1. An online employee code of conduct and potential disciplinary measures for violations of the code of conduct.

Examples:

  • Employees can associate themselves with the facility online, but must make it clear that their opinions are personal and do not represent the facility.
  • Employees cannot share sensitive or confidential information, especially in relation to patient care.

2. Employee social media usage guidelines.

Examples:

  • Only members of the marketing department or designated social media team can post on the facility's social media channels.
  • Personal social media use cannot disrupt workplace productivity or performance level.

3. The approval process for online content.

  • Outline who has final approval of online content that directly represents the facility.
  • List who in the facility is approved to post content on behalf of the facility.

4. A crisis management plan.

  • Clearly identify who in the organization should be notified regarding a negative or inappropriate social media post, who will respond to the post and what potential responses are.

Once your social media policy is created and approved, the next step is ensuring all employees are aware of the new policy. A good way to do this is by including it in the employee handbook and/or employment agreement.

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