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5 ways to keep your health care communications in good health

The messages health care communicators share require a sense of urgency,
tact and accuracy. Whether dealing with a crisis, addressing an epidemic,
sharing a patient’s story or unveiling the results of a research study,
communications professionals are under a lot of pressure to get the details

As a result, you may have fallen behind on keeping your communications
strategy up to date with the ever-changing trends in the industry. Whatever
the size of your staff, how much time you have available or the degree of
your technological know-how, it’s important to find new ways to reach your
audience. These are five basic ways to freshen up your strategy and keep
your audience engaged:

Think your work is in tip top shape? We want to see it. Enter
Ragan’s 2017 Health Care PR Marketing Awards and let us be the judge.

1. Give your blog a makeover

Dedicating the time to create new and fresh content for your blog doesn’t
have to be daunting. Developing a content calendar, encouraging staff to
guest post and finding inspiration from other outlets can make
brainstorming post ideas a total breeze.

MD Anderson Cancer Center amped up its blog strategy by newsjacking and introducing a new design. It
provided fresh takes on current social trends and news stories for its
audience, branding the organization as a thought leader in the industry and
increasing web traffic by 13 percent.

2. Use video as a storytelling tool

Video is easily the most popular and highly favored communication medium
today. For health care communicators especially, video can be used in
myriad ways. You can share a miraculous patient recovery story, let a staff
member recount a harrowing emergency room experience, spread news about
impressive research your organization is conducting or make a call for
donations. The possibilities are truly endless.

Klick Health took a novel approach, using innovative technology to create a virtual
reality video that took viewers on a journey through the colon to share
vital information about treatment options for ulcerative colitis and
Crohn’s disease. The VR experience debuted at a booth at the 2015 American
College of Gastroenterology Annual Meeting.

3. Engage with your audience on social media

Whether your organization produces medical devices or pharmaceuticals,
provides care or conducts research, there’s a good chance that your
intended audience spends quite a bit of time on social media. If you
haven’t already, now is the time to invest in growing your following and
truly engaging on social platforms.

City of Hope took a unique approach to its updated social strategy. The organization
started with its blog, narrowing its focus to four key content verticals:
research and patient care, patient stories, people profiles and
fundraising-related content. The team created sharable content around those
four topics and distributed them via social media. This effort resulted in
an impressive 827 percent increase in impressions across multiple

4. Start a community outreach program

Community outreach campaigns can be very expensive. However, it’s extremely
important for health care organizations to be engaged with the issues in
their community. The good news: Doing this doesn’t necessarily have to cost
a lot of money.

PadillaCRT’s partnership with Be the Match, for example. In desperate need of bone
marrow donations, the organization wanted to find a low-cost way to raise
awareness. It worked to organize 17 5K races throughout the nation and
encouraged people to sign up for their local bone marrow registry. This
low-cost initiative resulted in 340 local and national news stories. More
than 300 people a day registered to become donors as a result.

5. Develop a mobile app

The benefits of developing a mobile communications tool are endless. You
can use an app to communicate with your staff, share news with your
community or provide care updates to patients and their families.

Tanner Health Systems created a mobile app for patients at its urgent care centers. The app
shares real-time information and cuts down on wait time in five care
centers. Users can also access a physician and specialist directory, look
at job listings, receive news and care updates and more.

Is your health care communications team or agency making a name for itself
using these methods or others? Share your work with Ragan’s
2017 Health Care PR Marketing Awards to be named an industry expert.

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