HealthLeaders Media Marketing Weekly - August 6, 2008 | The ROI of Avoiding Bad PR View as a Webpage | Subscribe for Free
The ROI of Avoiding Bad PR
Gienna Shaw, for HealthLeaders News

As if local patient dumping weren’t enough of a PR nightmare for the U.S. healthcare system: Now hospitals are being called out for patient dumping on an international scale. The New York Times tells a heart-wrenching story of a 35-year-old uninsured illegal immigrant, so injured in a car accident that he is unable to care for himself. The wheelchair-bound man was sent back to the impoverished hills of Guatemala where he has only his elderly mother to care for him. It was not the government that deported him, but a community hospital in Florida, acting on its own. [Read More]
  August 6, 2008

Editor's Picks
Patient dumping at home
Los Angeles hospitals have been shamed in recent years by reports that some of them dumped homeless patients onto downtown's skid row before they were well enough to care for themselves, but a new city ordinance makes it a misdemeanor for health facilities to transport a patient to a place other than his or her residence without written consent. Hospital administrators fear that a conviction could trigger an automatic exclusion from government health programs, and they also worry about the cost of keeping patients who are healthy enough to be discharged but have no place to go. [Read More]
Transparency road blocks
Because most patients aren't knowledgeable enough comprehend the minutiae of their treatment options, clinical transparency is especially hard to achieve. In his latest Hospital Impact article, Nick Jacobs asks readers to acknowledge the issues still blocking the way to full transparency. It's a topic that many are passionate about, as you can tell by reading the comments, which are as interesting as the post itself. [Read More]
Making transparency genuinely transparent
Meanwhile, you have to give CEO Paul Levy and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston credit: The hospital promised to start reporting progress towards the goal of eliminating preventable harm by 2012. A new page on the hospital's Website will list data each quarter in several categories. Better yet: Despite the fact that listing incidents as a percentage of the total cases (a number that would be small—about 2/100's of a percent) would be more flattering to the hospital, it will list the actual number of incidents. Why? Because, writes Levy, doing so emphasizes that each of the cases involved an actual human being. "Describing them as a percentage would dehumanize the physical impact on a real person, someone's mother, father, sister, or brother," he writes. There is a drawback: The public perception that the hospital harms patients more than other hospitals that do not list number of cases—which Levy says isn't true. The fact that the hospital is committed to telling the unvarnished truth regardless is a testament to their real commitment to real transparency. [Read More]
The M-word
Marketing gets a bad rap in the healthcare world because many people don't discern marketing a health service versus marketing a credit card, writes blogger Tannus Quatre. "I will counsel practice owners that if they truly believe in the service they are offering their community, then it is part of their professional responsibility to educate others so that the community can receive the benefits of their care," he writes. "A great clinician who is disenchanted with marketing to the extent that they don't build up a following does little good to anyone." [Read More]
The paternalistic MacGuffin
What's a MacGuffin, you ask? Well, you'll have to read this post on The Health Care Blog by Bob Wachter to find out. Although I get the literary reference, I'm not sure I understand the analogy to healthcare and the patient experience. What is clear: Wachter's very thorough examination of the issue of patient experience and patient-centered care. He offers a variety of viewpoints from a number of sources, finally pulling it all together by making the argument that sometimes patients need a doctor—not someone who caters to their every whim. "Patient-centeredness is a reasonable aspiration, and it is highly appropriate for some patients in some situations," he writes. "I believe that my patients are more interested in care that is compassionate, open, safe, evidence-based, and—at times (gasp)—even a bit paternalistic." [Read More]
Campaign Spotlight
Out of the Ordinary
Click to view larger version.
Thinking that much of healthcare advertising tends to look the same, Amy Speagle, marketing & public relations director for The Medical Center of Aurora (CO) & Centennial Medical Plaza looked to Weise Communications in Denver to create something out of the ordinary. "I am a firm believer that you need to stand out in the crowd," Speagle says. Along with standing out, there was also the challenge of generating awareness about Centennial Medical Plaza's ER and a newly formed relationship with Kaiser Permanente's patients. The medical center sponsors a local family sports center so the creative team headed over to look for some inspiration. [Read More]
Calendar of Events
8/28/08: Marketing to Physicians: Increase Referrals and Grow Market Share

9/9/08: Marketing Obstetrics: Strategies for Service Line Campaigns
9/17/08: SHSMD Annual Conference, San Francisco

10/15/08: HealthLeaders Media Marketing Awards, Chicago

10/16/08: HealthLeaders Media Top Leadership Teams, Chicago
From HealthLeaders Magazine
The Hospital
of the Future

Sure, your organization offers sophisticated, compassionate care. But the patients of tomorrow will want much more than that. [Read More]
Marketing Forum

Funnel Vision: Do Health Leaders Have Delivery-Model Myopia? Given the nature of today’s shifting healthcare landscape, healthcare leaders may have defined their operating model too narrowly, says contributor Preston Gee. [Read More]
Audio Feature

Bob Allen, vice president for public relations and government affairs at Crouse Hospital in Syracuse, NY, shares how his hospital's "Expect the Best" campaign helped the hospital grow its OB market share by 15%. [Listen Now]
Sponsor HealthLeaders Media Marketing Weekly

Contact Lisa Brown, Director of Integrated Sales, at or call 781.639.1872.
Marketing Resources From HealthLeaders Media

Your physician relations program: How to increase referrals and grow market share.
Find out what makes winning hospital campaigns work: Join us in Chicago for the 2008 HealthLeaders Media Marketing Awards.
Get tips, tools, and techniques in our new guide to market research for healthcare marketers.