Campaign Draws Viewers to Surgery Webcast

Marianne Aiello, for HealthLeaders Media , October 27, 2010

Memorial Health Care System in Chattanooga, TN, recently tapped into the current medical documentary trend by creating a video of an open heart surgery, which also featured interviews with the patient, her family, and a live chat with the surgeon. To advertise the broadcast, marketers created an integrated campaign that drew viewers and generated buzz.

The 405-bed system began streaming videos in its website in 2008, which averaged about 1,800 views each month. But for this project, marketers decided to partner with the Chattanooga Times Free Press to host the video on its site. To set the wheels for the video and webcast in motion, Lisa McCluskey, vice president of marketing and communications at Memorial, identified a heart patient and surgeon that were willing to share their stories.

"The concept of doing a surgery video is a wonderful way to [promote the heart program] because it is dramatic," Tim Roberts, vice president and creative director at Franklin Street Marketing, a Richmond, VA, agency said in the October issue of Healthcare Marketing Advisor. "That helped Lisa in terms of getting buy in from the surgeon and the hospital in general. They were very forthcoming in trying to look for ways to share info about the surgical process."

After the patient and surgeon agreed to be featured in the video, marketers had to decide the best way to broadcast the event.

Marketers promoted the webcast via print ads in the Times Free Press, online advertising on, a 15-second spot on the local NBC affiliate, traffic tags on NBC and CBS affiliates and 18 radio stations, article in Chatter magazine, and in Memorial employee and physician newsletters.

In fact, Memorial advertised the webcast so well that the initial airing on September 15 had some technical difficulties.

"At the start of the video, we pulled 97 MG of 100 MG available bandwidth, which necessitated some technical maneuvers to cause the video to run smoothly and created a 20-minute delay in the launch," McCuskey says. "As we launched, there were 2,800 IP addresses logged on for the webcast."

Because this webcast was so successful, Memorial marketers plan to do quarterly webstreaming procedures, with the next one occurring in January and focusing on a diagnostic catheterization and bypass grafting procedure.

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