Each year, the much-anticipated list of Best Hospitals by US News & World Report is a great national springboard for local and regional hospital public relations.
Here’s an example of win-win-win PR that brings the big story down to the local reader. The San Diego Union-Tribune put the media spotlight on two respected, and nearby, institutions with its article: UC San Diego, Scripps again top U.S. News list by health care journalist Paul Sisson.
The value of validation…
Hospitals recognitions—this is one of many such opportunities—have value in that they are praiseworthy, and a noteworthy distinction that local readers are likely to remember and share. The Union-Tribune reached out to an authoritative source for elaboration, our own Healthcare Success CEO Stewart Gandolf.
“SAN DIEGO — UC San Diego’s quality in a dozen hospital specialties ranks among the 50 best in the nation, according to the latest “Best Hospitals” evaluation by U.S. News & World Report. [The] closely followed health care compendium also bestows eight national rankings to the combined programs of Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla and Scripps Green Hospital.
“While health quality experts are quick to note that such rankings should not be consumers’ only factor in deciding where to receive care, the results do bring a certain cachet that can help influence doctor referral patterns and make it easier for top performers to recruit new talent.
“ ‘Getting a national ranking in the U.S. News report is the best kind of validation,’ said Stewart Gandolf, chief executive of Healthcare Success, an Irvine-based health care marketing consultancy. ‘It’s valuable because it’s coming from outside the organization, and it’s coming from a name that people recognize. A third-party endorsement is not just valuable, it’s gold,’ Gandolf said.”
Leverage for the PR message…
Of course hospital marketing and communications specialists recognize the added PR value of leveraging the spotlight by way of other channels for internal and external audiences. The Union-Tribune writes:
“High-ranking hospitals routinely tout the rankings in their promotional campaigns, including TV commercials and brochures. Gandolf said those commercials can impact both patients and physicians, bringing in millions of dollars in additional revenue.
“ ‘Just like consumers, doctors are influenced when they see on television that, wow, this particular hospital seems to be doing very well in this category or that category,’ ” Gandolf said.”
The significance and importance of any hospital recognition may be lost on the general public, so it deserves an explanation. Local media coverage can help spread the word as well as providing context and meaning for the community.
For more, you can read about the US News Best Hospitals 2015-16 here. And for related reading, you can find more articles and information about health care PR, community relations and publicity in our healthcare marketing library.