NMGMA: 10 Minute Takeaway Sharing Your Story through Effective Communications By CINDY SANDERS
the practice’s logo is everywhere, it’s equally important The second Tuesday of “to make sure it’s in a quality the month, practice managers environment,” Hutzel said. and industry service providers Using Apple as an example, gather for an educational Nashhe pointed out the comville Medical Group Managepany takes as much care in ment Association (NMGMA) their packaging as with their meeting to hear from experts commercials because every on a variety of topics designed element is meant to convey to improve the efficiency and their corporate axioms of success of medical practices. quality and sophistication. In January Erin George, senior For medical practices, advisor for Lovell CommuniHutzel suggested thinking cations, and Michael Hutzel, about what you want to conchief creative officer at FoxFuel vey to a patient coming in for Creative, shared insights on a service. How do you want effectively telling an organizathem to feel? What would tion’s story from brand integyou like them to share with rity and digital engagement to someone who asked about Pictured L-R: Michael Hutzel with Fox Fuel; Laura Watkins, NMGMA media outreach and reputation their experience? Hutzel said president; and Erin George with Lovell Communications. management. everything from forms filled With the specialized and out upon arrival to email highly regulatory nature of healthcare, sprint, it’s a marathon’ – applies. “I think reminders to a post-visit survey should the tendency is to think of the industry for a lot of people when they establish a be examples of the quality you hope to as being different from other consumer new business or medical practice, they do share. “All of those things are unbelievexperiences. Yet, whether it’s a medical a lot of great work on the up front,” he ably important in today’s world to make practice or a clothing store, the doors only said. “And then, what can be forgotten in sure you are consistently saying the same stay open as long as customers continue to the long term, is you have to constantly be thing,” he stated. walk through them. looking for ways to get your message out George discussed ways to get your When it comes to building a brand, there and refine it.” brand out into the community. The first Hutzel said the old adage – ‘It’s not a While it’s important to make sure step, she noted, is to identify who are your audiences and then consider the most effective ways to reach those groups. Most practices, even small ones, have multiple audiences – from current and potential new patients to referring physicians and provider plans. George said community relations, media relations, social media channels and an informative website are all part of an integrated communications plan. “On the messaging piece, when you’re thinking about how you talk about your practice, consistency is incredibly important,” said George. “How are you differentiated from others in the market?” However, she continued, the way you tweak and position that message varies by audience and media source. George suggested doing a bit of homework and reading other types of stories on various media outlets before sending out a pitch or press release. What works well for consumer media might not be the right fit for an industry publication. She also added, Tuesday, March 31, 2020 Tuesday, March 31, 2020 not everything has to be a formal press 7:30 am 7:30 a.m. release. Sometimes, George said, a phone r TheCal Cal Turner Turner Family The FamilyCenter Center call or email outlining the idea to one or Meharry Medical Medical College two media outlets might make more sense. Meharry College Taking a reputational hit, particularly through bad online reviews, is an increasGuest Speaker Guest Speaker ing concern for many practices. “People Patrice Harris, MD Patrice Harris, MD are motivated to speak when they have a ciation President, American Medical Association President, American Medical Association bad experience,” said Hutzel. “Nothing can empower somebody more than anger.” When a scathing online comment happens in a vacuum, where there is no offsetting positive content, Hutzel said the power of the negative review is exponentially amplified. “They’ve got 100 percent of the marketplace,” he pointed out. To lessen the impact, Hutzel said practices
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should proactively grow their digital presence by publishing content, being active on social media channels and engaging in goodwill efforts to get patients with positive experiences to post reviews, as well. Inevitably, most businesses have to face some level of ‘crisis’ from the stumbling block of a bad review to much larger issues. “The most important thing is to have some kind of plan in place before these things happen,” said George. “You don’t want to be caught flat-footed because then you’re playing catch-up from the beginning.” Having a crisis plan doesn’t cover every possible scenario, George continued, but it does provide a general roadmap of how to respond. She added the first step is fact-finding to have a better idea of what happened and how it happened. Once that information is in hand, the severity of the issue might require pulling in outside resources including a public relations firm or legal assistance. George added if outside help is going to be required, making that decision early allows your communications partners both internally and externally to coordinate messaging and rapidly address the issue.
Upcoming Events February 11 “Hiring Smart: Best Practices to Identify, Screen and Onboard Candidates for Your Practice” – Join Valora Gurganious, MBA, CHBC partner and senior management consultant at Doctors Management for a discussion on the profiles and expectations of different generations and how that impacts the ways in which candidates are hired and managed.
March 10 “Driving Quality in Healthcare: Avoiding the Ditch” – Paul Gentuso, MD, FACP, CPE, chief medical officer for Heritage Medical Associates draws parallels between driving a car in challenging conditions and driving quality in a challenging healthcare environment.
Attend a Meeting The February and March meetings will be held at Saint Thomas West Conference Rooms with free parking in the Seton Garage. The luncheon program runs from 11:30 am-1 pm. To register, members should go online to nashvillemgma.org. Nonmember practice administrators interested in attending an event, please email NMGMA President Laura Watkins at website@ nashvillemgma.org for a guest registration.
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