Posted on October 23, 2014
The building blocks of a bridge to your community
What are the key elements in making a solid bridge? Support
beams to hold it up. A solid surface for crossing. And guard rails
for safety. Only together will these items create a connection that
is strong and safe.
The same principle applies when your critical access hospital is
building its connection with your community. In this case:
- The support beams are your employees
- The solid surface is community residents
- The guard rails are local business leaders
These are the three key audiences you have to build
relationships with to ensure a strong and stable connection to your
community. And the strength of these relationships will
significantly impact the trust, confidence, loyalty and support
patients and prospective patients have for your facility.
So how do you begin building? Start with the support beams -
Employee engagement and satisfaction is how your CAH creates
strong support for your bridge to the community. When physicians,
nurses, therapists and other employees who directly interact with
patients are happy and positive, they will provide better service,
which ultimately results in a better overall patient
Here are two ways to help keep your employees informed and
- Employee forums - regular meetings between
senior leadership, providers and administrative staff keep everyone
up-to-date on important hospital information such as overall
performance or changes in policies or operations.
- Employee involvement in marketing - ask
managers or nurses to help you select patient testimonials when
marketing specific service departments. Then, feature providers
from that department in the advertising (when appropriate) as
opposed to using stock images.
Learn how to successfully construct the other
elements of your bridge by attending our upcoming webinar,
Connecting Your CAH to Your Community, on November 5 at 12
pm. Click here to register
How to talk to your C-suite executives
Have you ever had a deer-in-the-headlights experience when
you've presented an executive summary? You meet with the CEO and
other C-suite members. You've got a rock-solid marketing campaign
to help meet your hospital's business goals. But when you start
presenting - BLANK STARES - all around the room.
What just happened?
You led with your right; not your left - brain that is. We in
the marketing profession need to remind ourselves that CEOs and
others in the C-suite line are in the problem-solving business. If
we want to capture their attention, we need to provide hard-hitting
solutions to their healthcare concerns, and we need to know how to
First, what are the concerns of hospital CEOs these
days? According to the American College of Healthcare Executives,
these issues are at the top of CEOs' lists:
- Financial challenges
- Healthcare reform implementation
- Governmental mandates
- Patient safety and quality
- Care for the uninsured
- Patient satisfaction
- Physician-hospital relations
- Population health management
- Personnel shortages
- Creating an accountable care orgnaization
If you can effectively address one or more of these concerns in
your marketing plan and executive summary, you can turn that
dreaded deer-in-the-headlight stare into "The Buck Stops Here"
buy-in from the top.
How to talk to your CEO
Once you get in front of your CEO, CFO and the like, it's time
to set creativity and colorful dialogue aside. Cut to the chase
with succinct, black-and-white C-suite speak. In other words, don't
get bogged down in details. Think "big picture" first. Provide a
brief summary - sans marketing lingo or clever campaigns. Stick to
what CEOs and other executives need to know by highlighting these
- Objective: What are we trying to accomplish?
What behavior are we seeking to change? How does this initiative
support your rural hospital's strategic plan?
- Messaging strategy: What is our message? This
doesn't mean you need to provide the exact copy. Just clearly
explain what your approach will be.
- Timing: Share when the campaign will be
launched. Again, forego the details. Stick to the key dates of when
you'll hit your target audience(s).
- Results and measurement: Let your CEO know how
all of this will benefit the hospital and how you'll report on
Watch for additional posts in my "How to Talk to …" series for
insights on how to more effectively communicate with your rural
hospital's other key audiences. If you have any specific questions,
I'd be happy to talk with you.