Bill Swanston

I decided to try to answer my cardiologist’s question – “How does our hospital build our brand and create a marketing plan?”After pondering the question a while, I scribbled down these four things that they might focus on in their hospital marketing:

#1.       Their proficiency in all medical procedures.

#2.       Promoting their hospital quality awards and solid patient satisfaction.

#3.       Highlighting their up-to-date technology & equipment.

#4.       Acknowledging that they are top specialists in the country or region.

After writing those down, I went on the Internet to see if these were what most hospitals talked about on their websites. I found that – in general, these four covered the advertising approaches used, and was about to suggest these to my doctor friend.

Sitting on my desk was a copy of Harvard Men’s Health Watch newsletter. Before I finalized my reply to my doctor, I read it cover-to-cover. The articles, written at a patient’s comprehension level were:

  • How to get more from your memory.
  • When to stop colorectal screening.
  • When to get your hearing checked.
  • Is “good” cholesterol still good for you?
  • How and why to add strength training to your exercise plan.
  • Should you be tested for hepatic C?
  • Do statin drugs impair memory?

This newsletter made me rethink my reply to my cardiologist. With access to newsletters, articles and especially the Internet, the hospital’s prospective patients are probably very educated about the things that ail them. I wondered – how do these knowledgeable patients select the hospital they will go to?

Based on my readings and my experience, I told my cardiologist, “To build your brand, your hospital needs to provide educational information or helpful links to the customer on their specific disease. They need to show disease-specific outcomes (not just total hospital outcomes) and patient satisfaction scores. In other words, you need to help consumers understand the strengths of your Heart Center. You need to connect to the consumer and provide relevant information that is at their level.”

When you’ve needed an operation, how did you select your hospital? Did you do your own online research? What helped you make the final decision? I would like to know if my answer to my cardiologist was on target.

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