LA Times

Healthcare Marketing: Social Media for Hospital Recruitment

Social media is proving to be very effective in recruiting efforts.  And it can also double as a great brand building strategy for a hard to reach audience.     

Human Resource professionals are finding that posting jobs on Twitter can be very effective in recruiting new employees.  But it is also a way to advertise and market brands to 18-34 year olds, the mainstay of the social networking site.

Alejandra Cancino in a recent article in the Los Angeles Times discussed how Sears and K-Mart are using recruiting efforts on Twitter to also communicate a strong brand message to a sometimes skeptical and difficult to reach audience. “It allows for multiple ways to communicate a positive message and achieve multiple goals within an organization from marketing to human resources,” stated Mike Dwyer, a social media strategist for Aon Consulting.

Cancino quoted Lance Brolin, a Sears human relations executive, when he stated the company wants to see what social media can offer in employment, advertising and in ensuring their messages are getting to the right candidates.

The strategy has a least two objectives.  Recruit quality employees and communicate a strong brand message. Twitter has proven to be effective with the first objective and now companies are realizing they can accomplish the second objective among a younger, hard to reach audience.

Healthcare HR and marketing professionals can work together to create a very effective synergy in achieving goals for both departments.  And together build a stronger brand.


Hospital Advertising: Longer ER Wait Better?

Hospitals should be careful advertising wait times for their ER.  It could be misleading.

Some hospitals are now advertising wait times for their ER.  Such tactics are receiving much publicity and attention. Hospitals are using digital billboards or referencing websites where patients can see current wait times. On the one hand, these hospitals should be applauded for communicating relevant patient information and for being aggressive with their marketing.  But there are some points that should be considered before advertising wait times.  

Wait times at a hospital’s ER are always fluid.  Circumstances can drastically change wait times. Serious injuries that are presented at the ER will take precedence over less serious ones. Should that happen, the patient could feel seriously misled by the information advertised. A person with chest pains could think they would have to wait a certain length of time based on advertised times and not realize they would receive treatment priority regardless of wait times.

“Frankly, my opinion is that it’s a very bad idea to put waiting times up on a billboard,” stated Dr. David Seaberg, an American College of Emergency Physicians board member and dean of the University of Tennessee College of Medicine in Chattanooga for an article in the Los Angeles Times.  “When you get seen is a very complex process….To put out a number can be misleading.” 

A few hospitals are also buying a service that allows a patient to go online and for a fee, reserve a time to be seen.  This is a bit risky because a patient doesn’t always know how serious their condition is.  While they had rather wait at home instead of in an ER, they would be much safer in an ER in case complications develop or conditions worsen. Additionally, in essence, to “sell” appointment times seems a bit inappropriate for healthcare organizations. 

Again, marketing aggressiveness and a hospital’s efforts to be transparent and communicate helpful consumer information is to be commended.  But a hospital has the obligation to act responsibly and to do what’s best in patient care.  It can be questioned if advertising ER wait times is fulfilling that obligation.

When it comes to advertising ER wait times, perhaps the best thing to do is wait?