Posted on June 15, 2010
Do you know what PR nightmare could cripple your organization?
If not, you should. The folks at BP could tell you why.
And if you don't think that you are as vulnerable as an oil
giant like BP, think again. You have PR nightmares lurking around
Don't believe me? Let's take a virtual walk through Anytown
Surgery department or center. From operating on wrong body
parts to leaving surgical instruments inside the body cavity, human
error ultimately trumps any quality protocol that is in
place. What if the equipment isn't sterilized properly and
infection spreads? Ask your surgery manager for a
walk-through so you can see what is done to prevent such errors -
at least you'll know what was supposed to have happened.
Baby nursery. There's a reason why most hospitals have
invested heavily in security systems to prevent baby snatching or
switching: it's extremely difficult to recover if either happens
inside its walls. Lucky enough to have such a system? Make sure you
still test the system on a regular basis - it's better if you find
the loopholes before it happens to your patients.
Pharmacy. Whether it's the highly visible retail pharmacy or the
typically hidden inpatient version, you should recognize the
potential for a media crisis. On top of medication errors,
which could be a category in and of itself, the bigger issue is
protecting the highly sought after pain medications and
narcotics. And it isn't just the risk of an armed robbery or
break in to be concerned about - just think what would happen
if a nurse decided to keep those pain medications instead of
providing to a patient as instructed.
Emergency room. Ever watch ER or Grey's Anatomy?
While the odds of one of those patients coming through your
emergency department's doors is slim, let it serve as a reminder
that the bizarre cases are most likely to start here.
Administration. Angry patients and family members would
most likely seek out administration. While few facilities
want their senior leaders to appear inaccessible, many are adding
security measures that make it more difficult for the public to
enter the area.
So what can you do? In addition to some of the suggestions
offered above, the best advice I can give is to always be on the
lookout for anything that might impact your hospital's image and
reputation. After all, that's the very reason patients select
you in the first place - and why they'll keep coming back.
Posted on June 21, 2010
Another debate for the ages?
A colleague and I recently discussed whether it's more difficult
to properly execute a poorly constructed marketing plan or to
create tactics worthy of a strategic masterpiece?
Before you answer, think carefully about the countless debates
that have been framed around the simple question "Which came first
- the chicken or the egg?"
Perhaps when it comes to healthcare marketing there is no right
answer. After all, can you build successful tactics if working from
a less than stellar plan? Is it always possible to meet the demands
of an insightful plan?
Sure seems like the perfect fodder for an insightful
discussion. What do you think? Let's hear your
Posted on June 28, 2010
With the start of summer officially here, it's a good time to
talk about the seasonality of Urgent Care advertising.
How should we define Urgent Care? The same way your
consumers do - as any health care that isn't an emergency or a
scheduled appointment. That means walk-ins, minute clinics
and health kiosks in the mall all count.
Few healthcare services require traditional retail marketing
like Urgent Care. That's because you never know when the next
Urgent Care visit is going to happen. Sure, you can predict peaks
and valleys based on historical data, but the truth is you need to
be in consumers' minds throughout the year to remain their first
choice for Urgent Care.
The message usually isn't too complicated - Urgent Care comes
down to convenience and service. Let consumers know when
you're open, what you do, how much it costs and how to get there
since that's what really matters when they need to find a health
care provider at 8:30 p.m.
I'm not suggesting you need to spend a ton of money on
traditional advertising, either, although I think radio and
targeted direct mail can be very powerful media for Urgent
Care. Every time someone enters any of your facilities you
have an opportunity to remind him or her about your Urgent Care
services. Do you have lobby boards or table tents in your waiting
areas or cafeteria? The next time you choose to sponsor a local
organization and you receive an ad in their brochure or program,
why not advertise your Urgent Care?
Worried about internal friction from physicians who believe you
are cannibalizing their patients? Assure them that most parents
aren't going to wait for the next available appointment when their
child can be diagnosed at the local big box, grocer or drug
Here are a few other seasonal opportunities to consider:
1) The flu shot. If you get
consumers in your Urgent Care door for their annual immunization,
they're more likely to come back when they need to see a health
2) Major holidays. Convenience
matters the most during the hustle and bustle of major
holidays. Make sure your community knows when your Urgent
Care is open and how to get to your center.
3) The accidental tourist. Are you
in a market with an influx of summer or winter tourists? Make
sure that local motels and restaurants where they visit have
information about your Urgent Care.
Do you have any other ideas on how seasonal changes impact