Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Swine Flu and the Media Equals Opportunity

Okay, are the hospitals and health systems paying attention?

With the media creating a panic about swine flu and the chances of a worldwide pandemic, now is the time for the healthcare system to step forward.

Get those PR and Marketing departments off their chairs and into the media, on your web site and into community with health, prevention and treatment options on the swine flu. Leverage the opportunity to do some good for a change instead of waiting for things to happen.

Okay, free consulting follows:
  • First, get your docs together in rapid order and get them on board.
  • Second, link your web site to the CDC, WHO, etc., and make a big deal out of it.
  • Third, prepare some material for distribution in the community. i.e., grammar schools, high schools, private grade schools, senior centers, community groups, local employers etc., and such with tips and ideas for prevention, health information etal. That is what you do!
  • Four, write a series of press releases and get them out to the local media and position a doc or docs from your medical staff as the content experts. Arrange some media interviews.
  • Five, establish your hospital or health system as the "go-to" information source.
  • Six, run some informational public service newspaper ads.
  • Seven, write and distribute some PSAs for newspapers and broadcast media, don't forget local cable.
  • Eight, get your docs into the community and speaking.
  • Nine, be transparent and explain how you will handle a swine flu outbreak in your community.
  • Ten, start over repeating steps one to nine again and again and again.

CEOs repeat after me, I will take advantage of opportunities such as this for the greater good of my community.


David Kinard, PCM said...


I'll admit, though I appreciate your tips for marketers -- especially the golden thread of taking a leadership role in our communities -- I think that in this case there are already too many voices, too much hype, and too much panic to this pandemic.

The Public Health Department and Centers for Disease Control are distributing tons of information through the media (broadcast as well as print), not to mention what is being replicated online by good-intentioned souls. We are not seeing a shortage of contribution, but in my opinion, way too much.

Unless your organization has something NEW to say, I think it is best to dial down the hype and content, and allow those at the forefront to send their messages through an uncluttered channel.

Michael J. Krivich, FACHE, PCM said...

Good point David. There is lots of noise and the community hospital or local health system can play a positive role in assisting consumers sort through it all.

It could be a very powerful media op that's positive and does not come along very often. Most healthcare organzations do fail to recognize these opportunity for positive medai realtions when they come along.