Posted on September 4, 2013
"Making the grade" in a pay-for-performance environment is
important for hospitals of all sizes. But gaining the trust of
prospective patients goes beyond report cards.
In the eyes of consumers, grades, stats and facts aren't the
only indicators of quality. There's a "human element" that is
easily overlooked as hospitals train their sights on performance
scores. That spells opportunity for your rural hospital.
Add a human element to your internal quality model -and your
marketing efforts - and it can become a powerful, persuasive and
pivotal tool in positioning your hospital for revenue growth and
success. See for yourself.
Check out this case
study (pages 1 - 3) featured in the September/October 2013
issue of Spectrum (produced by the Society for Healthcare
Strategy and Market Development®). It shows how Holy Family
Memorial (HFM), in Manitowoc, WI, (population 33,000) developed a
Right Care Model®, along with a comprehensive marketing campaign,
to bring quality to life.
HFM's "experience our quality through others" strategy and its
overall organizational transformation led to some unparalleled
results. I'll give you an example.
Cardiology was the first consumer service line HFM promoted.
Five months after the campaign launched in February 2013, HFM had
185 new Heart and Vascular Clinic (HVC) patients. The
study provides important details and other impressive
In an era of informed consumerism, hospitals' quality scores
will continue to be compared and scrutinized by prospective
patients. That means your rural hospital needs to continue to focus
on making the grade. But what your hospital does beyond that may be
the final factor in a consumer's decision to use you - or lose you
- when it's time to seek care.
The ball's in your court …
Posted on September 6, 2013
Manhattan Research recently surveyed more than 5,000 adults who
use the Internet as a health resource. Fifty-four percent of
respondents said they did online research to decide what services
they might need - and who should provide them. Other surveys have
estimated as high as 75 percent of American adults search for
health information via the web.
Despite these stats, many rural hospitals disregard their online
presence. They also mistakenly believe that online reviews play
little or no role in defining their hospital's brand. (If you're in
that camp, just think about what positive - or negative - reviews
have done to the success or failure of a newly released movie.)
The indisputable truth is: If you don't continuously manage your
hospitals' online reputation, someone else will. Chances are, that
"someone" will be a faction of disgruntled patients who take every
opportunity to paint your CAH in a bad light.
And it doesn't matter if you have a litany of great reviews. The
naysayers can - and will - cast doubts in the minds of other
consumers. And those prospective patients may decide to go
elsewhere for care, simply because you didn't care to address your
It doesn't have to be that way. Here are some low-cost
strategies your hospital can implement immediately to help you
address the opportunities and challenges of online reputation
- Monitor what people are saying - and respond, when
- Use social media effectively:
- Start by posting one to two times a week. You can increase the
number of posts as activity and engagement increases.
- Develop a go-to topic list and editorial calendars. This makes
consistent posting easier throughout the week.
- Like and share posts from other healthcare sites, such as the
National Rural Health Association (NRHA) and Society for
Healthcare Strategy and Market Development (SHSMD).
- Refresh your website, re-evaluating copy and positioning, and
updating/adding keywords, meta-tags and browser titles to
maximize search engine optimization (SEO) potential.
As an invited speaker at the Sept. 10 Arkansas Office of
Rural Health Critical Access Hospital Administrators
Conference, I'll be discussing "Reputation Management and
Marketing Services to Rural Communities."
I hope you're planning to attend the upcoming conference. If you
are, I'd be happy to have a sidebar with you on this important
topic. If you're not able to attend, contact me and I'll send you a
copy of the presentation.