A hospital is not a place we typically think much about. Until we need one.
While last year led to a huge worldwide appreciation of hospitals and healthcare workers, the real value of a local medical center and its services is not always known until someone experiences it first-hand as a patient or family member.
If you are a communications professional, how do you ensure people understand what their local or regional hospital brings to the community? Do they know what services are offered and what your future goals are? Can they relate to the staff who work there, and do they feel confident in the care they may receive at your facility?
An annual report can ensure they do.
While the concept of the annual report might seem a given for many corporations, this communication tool is something that even the smallest, rural hospital should not overlook as essential.
In many cases, people have a choice when considering where to seek medical care, and they need to know not only what is great about your facility, but also the stories and faces behind the staff who provide services and care.
It isn’t just potential patients who want to know about your facility. Community business leaders, future employees, area medical professionals, and philanthropic supporters all want and need to know what is happening behind your doors.
An ideal annual report will include a word from leadership and information about your mission, vision and values. Future plans and initiatives, along with current or planned partnerships should be shared, as these illustrate your commitment to the community. Also consider including some stats, but not just financial information. While it may seem boring on paper, your community needs you to remind it just how many ER patients you see each year, or how many babies were delivered at your facility.
Storytelling is important, too. Think outside the box here. While it’s wonderful to share patient praise, try to also highlight your staff’s stories. Why they work for your organization and what they do is important, but also share who they are outside of the hospital walls when they clock out. This helps personalize and humanize them and your organization.
Budget, time, or staff may vary within each healthcare system – so remember, even an online annual report that includes a message from the hospital leaders and some personal stories can be effective. If schedules or staffing is tight, consider bringing in some help from an agency or a freelance writer and/or designer to facilitate spreading your message.
(Psst, Blue Wagon Group can help!)