patient loyalty

Hospital Marketing: Surgical Tweets Keep Patients’ Families Updated

At least one hospital is now using Twitter to improve communications from the surgical suite to family members.      

Fawcett Memorial Hospital in Port Charlotte, Florida has begun using Twitter to send updates from the surgical suite to family and friends.  Instead of the family waiting, sometimes for hours, with little or no information about the surgery, Fawcett Memorial has someone in the surgical room sending tweets updating the status of the surgery. Even family and friends who can’t be at the hospital can follow the status.

In most causes there is little information about the surgery until well after the surgery is completed.  Sometimes a nurse will call the OR for an update for the family but the information is usually fairly sketchy.  Tweeting renders an extra level of service to family and friends.  They can know exactly what is going on in surgery and that provides a greater level of comfort and emotional connection to the patient.

Referring to the patient as “a patient of” and their doctor’s name and never mentioning the actual name of the patient prevent HIPAA violations. Both patient and surgeon have to give approval for the tweets.  The tweets are sent only to persons who are given the appropriate Twitter information and approval to receive the updates.

Many hospitals would react to this by arguing that they do not have personnel to send tweets and the nurses in surgery are all concentrated on the patient.  These are valid arguments. But for hospitals that are trying to get an edge in the marketplace, this could be a competitive advantage.  It certainly has the potential to create positive buzz and build loyalty to the hospital.

And it’s just one creative example how social networking can be used to improve service and enhance communication.  There are countless other ways it can be utilized.  Fawcett Memorial is next considering using twitter in the ER for the same purpose.  The availability and acceptance of social media and some creative thinking can truly break new ground in patient service.


Marketing Your Hospital – Marketing The Milestones

Celebrating a milestone such as a 100 year anniversary can be a prime opportunity to tell your hospital’s story and build patient loyalty. 

Birthday Cupcake

If hospital walls could talk there would be incredible tales of hope, heartbreak and uplifting care.  And when your hospital reaches a milestone, be it 25, 50 or 100 years in existence, it’s a strong testament of success.

Many hospitals have interesting pasts that invoke a sense of community pride.  Gadsden Regional Medical Center in Gadsden, Alabama is one such example.

In 1906  Dr. Rawls started the city’s first hospital in a home.  By the 1950’s, the hospital was owned by the county’s Baptist Association and through their leadership and with major help from the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, a new hospital was built on land donated by Goodyear, a major employer in the area. The construction was funded in large part by payroll deductions of the Goodyear plant workers.

The rich and storied past provided a great opportunity to retell that history and highlight the hospital’s many accomplishments.

Things to consider for your hospitals special milestone:

  1. Community-wide events such as picnics, parties for people born at the hospital, galas for the physicians and major donors, dedications of new wings or the donation of a commemorative sculpture to honor the past.
  2. Erect a timetable display reveling major milestones of the hospital’s history in the lobby, cafeteria or other public areas.
  3. Develop a media campaign to tell the history in a compelling way.
  4. Design, print and mail a detailed history piece to the hospital’s market area or patient data base.
  5. Have clever, medical-related specialty items to give away at public events. Pill boxes, thermometers, first aid kits, water bottles, baby medicine dispensers are all good examples.
  6. Plan radio and tv show appearances to promote all the upcoming events.
  7. Use facebook and twitter to promote events in each phase of the celebration.
  8. Produce a short video on the history and celebration to post on youtube, use at speaking engagements and feature on the hospital’s website.

Seize the opportunity and make the most of these markers in time and continue to build patient loyalty.  It’s a wonderful way to sell your hospital to newcomers to the area as well as reinforce the brand to your community.