Talking about healthcare—whether it's the benefits of an innovative drug, a new device or product, or the care provided at a community hospital—can be difficult.
Too often outreach efforts are overrun with jargon that the targeted audiences may not understand. That's not an insurmountable problem for the Agency of the Year in the 2018 Healthcare Marketing Impact Awards. Agency GSW uses the mantra: “Speak people.”
“ 'Speaking people' is about listening to whomever our audience is—whether it's patients, providers, payers or specialty pharmacists—and really hearing what it is that they're coming up against and teeing things up in a way that's truly understandable,” said Sonja Foster-Storch, president of GSW North America.
St. Elizabeth Healthcare, a system based in northern Kentucky, hired GSW to help engage its community. Although St. Elizabeth is more than 150 years old and a long-standing fixture in the community, patients were going elsewhere, in part for that very reason.
Nearby hospital networks were expanding and building shiny new satellite locations, making it increasingly hard for St. Elizabeth to attract and retain patients. Because of its age, locals viewed the hospital as not being cutting-edge or equipped with the latest and greatest doctors and technology.
However, that wasn't the case. In recent years, it had added orthopedic and neurological clinics, a mental health facility and a cancer center.
When working with a hospital or system dealing with declining patient retention, GSW starts the same way: It hits the streets to figure out where patients are going for care and why. “It's all about conversations, and it's amazing when you sit and listen, the information you get,” Foster-Storch said.
“We find out where the gaps are and then we launch an effort that talks at a level that's understandable and going to have an impact,” she said.