Connecting Your CAH to the Community

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 - your employees.

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 experience.

Here are two ways to help keep your employees informed and included:

  • 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 today!

 

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Marketers: Hit Your Hospital's 'Suite' Spot

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 speak "C-suite."

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:

  1. Financial challenges
  2. Healthcare reform implementation
  3. Governmental mandates
  4. Patient safety and quality
  5. Care for the uninsured
  6. Patient satisfaction
  7. Physician-hospital relations
  8. Population health management
  9. Technology
  10. Personnel shortages
  11. 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 four areas:

  • 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 results.

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.

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