Posted on October 29, 2015
Myth #4: Rural Hospitals are Just Band-Aid Stations
This is a common consumer MISperception. The root cause is usually something as simple as local residents not being aware of all the services available at your facility.
So how does a rural hospital overcome this myth and change people's mindsets? Here are three ways:
1. Develop a capabilities campaign
A capabilities campaign is like a brand campaign mixed with a service line campaign. It's general enough to be used over an extended period of time to increase awareness, but it also provides details on the variety of services your facility offers patients.
The way we like to do a capabilities campaign is to first brainstorm an overarching theme. This theme should communicate your competitive advantage, unique selling proposition or why a patient should choose you. From there, we usually create several versions of print ads, radio spots, billboards, videos, social media posts or whatever other tactics your facility wants to use. Throughout these pieces, you can change the messaging to promote different services and increase awareness of all your capabilities.
2. Host a health fair or education series
Since this misperception stems from lack of awareness, education is a key element in overcoming it.
Why a health fair? It's a one-stop learning shop where community members can get a quick snapshot of all the services you offer. But don't forget the light refreshments and door prizes to draw people in.
Why an education series? This option allows multiple touch points with audiences. You can start promoting the education series with messaging on all the events, and then, you can send reminders. An education series is also a great way to engage with targeted, but varied audiences, as each event will engage people with different health needs.
3. Get your employees involved
Whether you call it brand ambassadors or employee ambassadors, it's crucial to have your employees engaged with the community and spreading the word about your services.
One way to do this is through a speaker's bureau. Different departments throughout the facility can create educational presentations that can be shared at chamber events, schools, businesses or with local clubs and organizations. These presentations shouldn't just be about a service, but instead should take an educational angle to prove your facility is a thought leader and looking out for the wellness of the community.
Examples: Your dietitian does a demonstration on eating a heart healthy diet. Your physical therapists can provide trainings or injury prevention classes for running clubs or school athletic groups.
Another way employees can help counter this myth is by being involved in the community on a personal level. The volunteer groups or other organizations they participate in present opportunities for employees to talk with community residents about your facility's services.