Archive for the ‘Healthcare Public Relations’ Category
BMI. CPR. NICU. PCP. RN.
The health care industry is chock-full of acronyms.
Take any one to 10-letter concoction and it likely carries meaning in the medical world. Amid the countless abbreviations that imply different things to different practitioners, there is one five-letter acronym that is critically important to anyone and everyone coming in contact with the health care industry.
That acronym is HIPAA.
HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) has been around since 1996 and has evolved in scope and complexity over the past 16-plus years. HIPAA started out as an initiative that protected the health insurance coverage of workers as they changed employment, and has morphed into a multifaceted federal guideline designed to safeguard electronic health care records, enhance data security and ensure patient privacy.
HIPAA guidelines emphasize the protection of patients’ personal information and establish limitations to disclosing identifying information. In today’s modern, information-driven world, one wrong data transfer, human error or lost laptop could spell absolute disaster for any health care organization, big or small.
Companies must learn from the mistakes of others, educate their employees, make HIPAA a regular discussion point and start taking privacy policies seriously in order to stay in business.
Paying the Price
In 2009, CVS Caremark paid nearly $2.25 million dollars for a HIPAA violation because some CVS locations were throwing patients’ personal information away in unsecured trash bins. Since, federal authorities have taken a strict stance on enforcing privacy regulations.
Just last year, the UCLA Health System was forced to pay an $865,000 fine due to improperly disclosing the records of Tom Cruise, Britney Spears and Maria Shriver, among others. In this case, employees of the UCLA Health System allegedly snooped into the celebrities’ records and simply viewed information that wasn’t meant for their eyes.
“People are under the general misconception that because someone is an employee of a facility or a provider, that they can look at any type information,” said Patricia Sanchez, an attorney at Fenton Nelson in Los Angeles, specializing in the development of corporate HIPAA compliance plans and policy manuals. “Employees should only be handling the minimum information necessary to complete given tasks, otherwise they are going outside of their permitted disclosure.”
Educating the Workforce
Sanchez has seen her share of HIPAA-related mistakes, having represented a number of California’s most reputable health care organizations. From faxed papers and computer screens being publicly visible to company Facebook posts disclosing patients’ identities, Sanchez has pinpointed that a lack of education and attention are the primary reasons for violations.
“The biggest problem is that companies are not educating the workforce on what true access to health information is,” said Sanchez. “We like to help our clients through the process of being HIPAA compliant. They need help developing policies and procedures, training their staff, conducting walk-through assessments and pinpointing any red flags.”
To prevent a HIPAA violation, Sanchez recommends that companies create their own, custom-tailored HIPAA policy and make sure to keep a detailed paper trail of any HIPAA-related training.
“Companies are going out there and buying products and services from lawyers and consultants that aren’t tailored to their needs and they’re not getting help with implementation,” said Sanchez. “Documentation is so important. In an audit, they ask for all of the acknowledgements, all of the signed personnel sheets… you must have a paper trail of everything you do. Everything needs to be documented.”
Keeping it Fresh
In addition to providing quality care, adhering to HIPAA guidelines has become a top priority for many health care organizations across the United States. One of those organizations is HealthCare Partners Nevada, a leading Las Vegas-based coordinated care network consisting of more than 270 physicians and over 1,000 employees.
“We are constantly educating our employees,” said Denise Warren, Clinical Compliance Specialist for HealthCare Partners Nevada. “Every employee of [HealthCare Partners] is required to take a yearly online course and participate in continual training.”
HealthCare Partners Nevada has six full-time employees devoted to HIPAA, plus a HIPAA privacy officer and a 20-member “privacy committee.” The privacy committee meets quarterly, along with the company’s IT department, to review the company’s compliance with HIPAA regulations and patient privacy guidelines.
“It really is a team effort,” said Warren. “We all work together to assure our patients’ privacy and general wellbeing.”
Taking it Seriously
HIPAA is no laughing matter to the companies who take a proactive approach to their patients’ privacy. With potential fines, government audits and patient lawsuits looming with a simple mistake, it certainly helps to be organized.
“Companies need to start looking at HIPAA very seriously,” said Warren. “The federal government just started doing audits… before they had never done privacy audits and recently hired a firm to come out and make sure everything is okay. They’re not starting with the big companies and hospitals, but with the private practices.”
While HIPAA may seem daunting, scary and downright tedious at times, Sanchez said that it is only enforced to keep patients safe and make health care organizations stronger.
“It really forces people to be organized and to know where everything is,” said Sanchez. “When you really, really become HIPAA compliant, you become paperwork and data compliant and know how information is relayed back and forth.”
Need more patients for your practice? When the Affordable Care Act passed, pundits were quick to declare the winners and the losers. Both columns were equally long. Now that the Supreme Court has upheld the law, and whatever your political affiliation may be and whether or not you agree with the law, there’s one thing that is certain: it presents an incredible opportunity for Nevada’s providers to differentiate themselves from their peers and capture a great number of patients that simply were not there before.
Do the Math
Just look at the number of new patients entering the health care market and do the math. On the campaign trail, President Obama declares that under the Affordable Care Act, 30 million people will be added. However, non-partisan organization FactCheck.org took a look at this figure and found the President was low-balling it. According to FactCheck.org, “even if we subtract the estimated 10 million uninsured who are not U.S. citizens…with the Census Bureau now reporting 46.3 million people without insurance, one might think that the correct figure should be closer to 36.3 million citizens without insurance.”
According to the U.S. Census’ Community Population Survey, approximately 21.3 percent of Nevada residents are uninsured, compared to 16 percent nationally. A report by FamiliesUSA, released in 2009, states that figure is much higher. That report found more than one out of three people (37.2 percent or 841,000 individuals) in Nevada under the age of 65 went without health insurance for all or part of the two-year period between 2007 and 2008.
New rules included in the Affordable Care Act, combined with grants in the stimulus, dramatically reduce administrative burdens placed on physicians. Their roles make it easier for physicians to deal with insurance companies and help physicians implement their own electronic medical record system.
The Affordable Care Act is also intended to reduce the amount of time physicians spend on emergency service, freeing them up to focus on preventative care. Research shows more patients will be willing to seek treatment before they get very sick or develop life-altering illnesses because they have insurance.
So, you’ve got a big new pool of patients and you can make room for them in your practice. What now?
The most important thing to remember is that the Affordable Care Act has raised the national understanding of what quality health care is. Patients old and new are more educated about their health care and they have become smarter health care shoppers. They are now more adept at choosing a doctor and making decisions about their health care. The providers that can stand out from the crowd are going to win big in this new market.
Market to young adults. Studies show that a disproportionate number, nearly half, of the uninsured are under 30. When these individuals enter the health care market, they are going to turn primarily to the Internet to make decisions about which doctor to choose. Your website, social media outlets and entries on review sites are going to take on a new importance with this audience. They tell a comprehensive story about you as a provider that is going to inform their provider selection decision.
Geo-target. You may not want to go after all 841,000 newly insured patients in Nevada. The sheer size of the uninsured population in Nevada makes it very likely that many of them are your neighbors and live around your office. Readily available consumer information makes it easier to specifically identify the newly insured so you can whittle the patients you are targeting down to a manageable pool.
Consider an ACO. Being a part of an Accountable Care Organization (ACO), a federal experiment intended to develop approaches for providing high quality care at low costs, will make you stand out in a crowded field.
For more information on how to take advantage of these developments, call MassMedia Healthcare Marketing at 702-433-4331
Volunteers in Medicine of Southern Nevada, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing the uninsured with access to preventative and comprehensive medical care, has retained MassMedia Healthcare Marketing as its public relations agency of record.
“MassMedia has experience in creating and implementing campaigns for a variety of health care organizations,” said Paula Yakubik, managing partner of MassMedia Healthcare Marketing. “Our dedicated team has the tools necessary to assist Volunteers in Medicine of Southern Nevada bring public awareness to its compassionate and driven mission.”
Volunteers in Medicine of Southern Nevada was established in 2008 by Florence Jameson and a group of concerned citizens wanting to provide access to health care for Southern Nevada’s working families. Their mission is to identify, understand and serve the health and wellness needs of Southern Nevada residents who do not have access to health care.
To learn more about Volunteers in Medicine, visit www.vmsn.org.
Crises range from a natural tragedy to a startling accident to a deep-rooted scandal involving a single employee. Given the political nature of health care and the delicacy involved with patient care, a crisis can arise from any facet of a medical organization.
Susan G. Komen was recently the subject of a national political controversy after its decision to retract funding from one of its most prominent beneficiaries. We sat down with Stephanie Kirby, Executive Director of Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s Southern Nevada affiliate, to learn more about how the national controversy impacted the local affiliate, how the organization responded to the incident, and how the local affiliate is moving forward in 2012.
Tell me about yourself and your role with Susan G. Komen.
I began volunteering for the Southern Nevada Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure in 2002. My mother had died from breast cancer in June 2000 after a recurrence. She fought incredibly hard, but it had spread to her brain. Radiation to her brain took a toll on her and it was hard for her to regain her skills. I returned to Las Vegas after caring for her for two months and she died three weeks later. I felt lost and sad and it wasn’t until I finally looked up one day and saw the sign for Susan G. Komen that things began to change. I walked into the Komen office and never looked back. In 2009, I became the executive director and I honestly love going to work every day. Words cannot begin to describe the phenomenal volunteers I am surrounded by on a regular basis.
What is the overall mission of the organization in women’s health care?
The Susan G. Komen for the Cure promise is to save lives and end breast cancer forever by empowering people, ensuring quality care for all and energizing science to find the cures. Seventy-five percent of every dollar raised stays in the community to support organizations that are in line with our mission and can provide direct services to those affected by breast cancer. Services include screening, education, support and treatment. We have always focused on women and men who are largely uninsured or underinsured with less access to adequate care. The remaining 25 percent is directed to our national research and grants program which is focused on finding cures. Millions of dollars have been put into research and we are ultimately doing what we do in order to find the cures. There are several types of breast cancer and perhaps even some that have yet to be discovered, which is why we say we need to find the cures, plural.
What are your marketing initiatives and goals this year?
The marketing initiatives and goals for 2012 include coordinating and executing a successful Race for the Cure on May 5. We would also like to expand our reach into the rural areas of Southern Nevada. Our service area includes six counties: Clark, Lincoln, Nye, Esmeralda, White Pine and Mineral. Some of these areas are several hours away from any kind of health care facility. We would like to strengthen our relationships with the medical community in these areas. In a time when resources are stretched thin, collaboration can be a wonderful way to reach a larger audience. We are also focused on creating new partnerships in the community with organizations and individuals who can work side by side with us to make sure the services, we feel are necessary in the community, actually exist.
Recently, Susan G. Komen received some negative attention on a national level with regards to its relationship with Planned Parenthood. How did the national incident impact the affiliate locally?
February brought a tremendous amount of negative attention to Susan G. Komen as an entire organization. There are 120 affiliates who work under the umbrella of the national office and, though we each have our own unique areas of the country, we all follow the same policies and regulations. The decision to discontinue the relationship with Planned Parenthood was made at a national level. It was a tremendous lapse in judgment and the decision was reversed. Apologies have been made, but the wake of confusion, anger and distrust is what remains. Out of the 120 affiliates that exist, 19 funded their local chapters of Planned Parenthood. The combined total of grant funding for a year for Planned Parenthood from those 19 affiliates is about $600,000. To put that in perspective, our affiliate granted out $725,000 in 2011. I am not attempting to minimize the partnership between our two organizations, but I think it is important for people to know the facts. Locally, we have not funded Planned Parenthood in a number of years. We do, however, provide them with educational materials, make referrals and work on committees to assure the population that we both serve has access to breast health care. The decision hit our affiliate, as well as almost every affiliate, extremely hard. I received hundreds of emails from people who felt we had turned our backs on low-income women. When the decision was reversed, I continued to receive emails and phone calls with negative messages from individuals who do not support Planned Parenthood and their initiatives. Those who were originally angry were glad to hear of the reversal but remained angry that it happened at all. We need to work to regain the trust of those who have believed in us for three decades.
What did you do at the local level immediately following the media incident and what are you doing to recover from it?
The first two days after the decision became public consisted of fielding calls and emails non-stop. Everything we were doing came to a screeching halt, with the exception of the calls from women who needed to know where they could go to get help…those calls do not stop. We released a statement to our supporters trying to [explain] a very confusing situation, which was difficult, as we were equally as confused. The following day, the decision was reversed and we released a letter to our supporters. The letter was taken well by some and not so well by others. Without separating our affiliate from our national office, I needed people to understand that our office had not changed one bit with the original decision nor the reversal. What has changed is the level of trust, as I mentioned above, and I am hopeful the community will give us another chance. It will take a willingness to speak openly and answer questions, which I have been doing since this situation started.
What marketing events and next steps are coming up for Susan G. Komen’s Southern Nevada affiliate?
We are very aware of the challenges that lie ahead, but that cannot stop our work to raise dollars to put back into our community to assist with access to care. Our 17th Annual Race for the Cure will take place on Saturday, May 5 in downtown Las Vegas. Our next grant cycle will begin in April with hundreds of thousands of dollars going right back to our community. We are collaborating with the Northern Nevada affiliate to make sure our entire state is represented and that our elected officials understand our mission. Every day, I look at a picture of my mom on the wall in my office. I know she would be proud and I know what I do on a daily basis is what I was meant to do. We all make mistakes, but it is how we grow from those mistakes that will show who we truly are. Susan G. Komen for the Cure is committed to becoming a better and stronger organization and I believe we have the opportunity and strength to do exactly that.
The Susan G. Komen controversy demonstrates why it is imperative to handle these situations with the utmost efficiency and care. Amid a crisis, companies must be transparent, honest and ready to disclose any and all information pertaining to a specific situation.
The worst thing a company can do during a crisis or controversy is nothing at all. Every organization should have a plan in place and be primed for meaningful, responsible action. To begin developing and implementing an effective crisis communication plan, visit http://www.lasvegascrisiscommunications.com/ or call the MassMedia Healthcare Marketing crisis division at 702-433-4331.
Employees are the lifeblood of any hospital or medical practice. In addition to performing their assigned responsibilities, they carry your message to patients and they carry out changes within your organization. Because they play such a vital role in the strength of your organization, communication with employees should always be made a priority.
From implementing the provisions in the health care reform legislation to rolling out new marketing campaigns, having engaged and motivated employees is key to the success of any organization’s initiatives and to the organization itself. Engagement and motivation are fueled by effective internal communication and a strong sense of belonging. Below are a few tips on ways to achieve this.
- Send Regular Communication Updates
A newsletter or e-newsletter is a great way to communicate important updates, news, announcements, events, recognitions, etc. to your team. Content should include articles from senior executives on operations, compliance, provider plans, initiatives, patient care, marketing activities, and more.
Through an e-newsletter, your team members can access your practice’s or hospital’s website or social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
This form of communication ensures that your employees all receive the same information. With more employees informed about the happenings of your practice or hospital, engagement with the brand and attendance at company events will increase.
St. Rose Dominican Hospitals produces an eight-page, full color bi-monthly employee publication titled “In Touch Newsletter.”
“In Touch keeps employees informed about upcoming events, staff highlights and the latest St. Rose news and provides a chance for departments and employees to highlight new technologies and procedures,” said Tammy Kline, internal communication specialist at St. Rose Dominican Hospitals.
2. Integrate External Marketing Campaigns and Internal Communication
When developing a marketing campaign, show potential ads and brochures, to several employees to test the message and ensure that it resonates with them and aligns with the organization’s beliefs and culture.
Before unveiling the new campaign to the world, show the final components to employees first to make sure everyone is on the same page. This will also give your staff time to internalize the message and become brand ambassadors to deliver it to patients.
Physicians, caregivers and staff members are the critical interface with patients and are a reflection of your brand. Their enthusiasm and commitment to the campaign will be essential to selling it to your current and potential patients. They must do more than just know the message- they have to believe in it and act on it every day. Be sure to display the campaign’s message at your practice or hospital so that your staff is constantly reminded of the image your organization wants to project to its target audience and the community.
3. Encourage and Foster Feedback from Your Staff
Two-way communication in which physicians, nurses, caregivers and staff members share their thoughts, ideas, opinions and feedback provides senior executives with invaluable and insightful information.
Dialogue and active listening should take place at meetings for all levels of employees. Creating an environment conducive to openness and honesty will result in employees having a more positive attitude about their workplace.
“St. Rose encourages two-way dialogue with our employees through various ways including monthly administrative rounds and quarterly employee forums,” said Kline. “These meetings are used to provide updates, address concerns and answer questions.”
Your team members can also take surveys and participate in internal focus groups to measure and discuss the effectiveness of processes and procedures as well as operations.
In addition to soliciting feedback, senior executives should also use team meetings to unify all employees behind the mission and vision of the organization and build excitement around its purpose.
Whether you were for it or against it, the “Affordable Care Act” – the expansive new federal law that will dramatically change the face of health care in the United States – is likely to affect every part of your business. But smart marketing can help you and your company stay ahead of the game.
By: Paula Yakubik – @pyakubik
Because the law requires Americans to have health coverage, as many as 32 million more Americans will be added to the country’s insurance rolls when the law is essentially entirely implemented in 2014. Although most major provisions will not take effect for more than two years, health care providers need to begin thinking about how this sweeping new law will affect their bottom line.
The biggest short-term challenge will be increased competition. A number of provisions in the new law are designed to improve access, giving consumers more information about what coverage is available, and at what price. What does this mean for health care providers? The smart ones will step up their marketing to distinguish themselves from their competition and demonstrate the value and service they provide.
I see three critical areas for expanded marketing efforts:
- Retaining existing patients. If private practices want to successfully compete against larger or less expensive groups, they need to market to retain and grow their patient base. Providing quality care will no longer be enough; paying attention to the overall patient experience will be more important than ever before. Get to know your patients – what they value in your practice and what they’d like to see changed – and use this information to a marketing advantage.
- Attracting newly insured patients. With the Affordable Care Act adding millions to the health insurance rolls, marketing yourself to stand out among your competition is imperative, especially for smaller private practices that want to thrive in this new world. As with the first group, your marketing should no longer be just about patient care, but also about the customer experience and service you provide.
- Luring patients from other providers. In addition to the newly insured patient pool, tens of millions of consumers will now have the opportunity to change providers. It will be important for your practice to stand out so that it can attract patients who are shopping. In addition to delivering and marketing an exceptional patient experience, distinguish yourself by being a reliable resource and expert. Use innovative tools and mediums you may not have previously tapped – including social media – to be a trusted source consumers can rely on.
Navigating through this landmark change in U.S. health care will not be easy, but it will be imperative for survival and success. Putting a little more time, effort and money into marketing now will pay big dividends when health care reform is fully underway.
(Originally published in MM&M – June 2011.)
By: Ryan Tarkowski — @ryantarkowski
As Media Relations Specialist, Ryan Tarkowski works with account executives to oversee the media interactions of health care clients, HealthCare Partners of Nevada, Nevada Head Start State Collaboration and Early Childhood Systems and Women’s Cancer Center.
He brings nearly a decade of news experience to MassMedia. Working in radio and television as a producer, reporter, assignment editor and talk show host, he learned how to tell a compelling story in a limited amount of time. MassMedia Health sat down with Ryan to talk about how health professionals can get the most out of opportunities.
What makes for a strong health care news story?
In general, news is anything that is timely, unique or novel. Stories that do the best job of holding the attention of the audience will be covered by the media, so conflict, failure and scandal often generate the most interest.
Beyond these generalities, what constitutes news varies depending on the medium, the outlet and the individual reporter or editor.
Why should a doctor or medical professional care about media relations?
Being called upon as an expert source by the media allows you to reach patients and potential patients in a way not offered by traditional advertising. Media provides you with a third-party endorsement in the eyes of the audience. People generally believe that if the reporter trusts you they should, too.
When crisis situations arise, a strong relationship with the media helps ensure that your story is presented in a fair manner. That is why it’s important to always return a reporter’s phone calls – every interaction is an opportunity to build goodwill. Even if you do not agree to the interview, offer to help with the story in another way.
What do I need to know about reporters?
The most important thing to remember is that reporters are just doing their jobs. They are usually working on tight deadlines so they appreciate someone who is available, prompt, and concise. Reporters are often not experts on the stories they cover so it is your job to answer their questions with understandable, accurate information delivered in an interesting way.
What can I do to become more “media friendly”?
- Be available. Reporters don’t always interview the best source; they interview the first source that returns their phone call.
- Avoid sales pitches. Pitching your business can discredit you.
- Be honest. Nothing can ruin your relationship with a reporter faster than giving false information.
- Do your research. Ask what the story is about before your interview and try to anticipate the reporter’s questions.
Brands and marketers have used video to connect with audiences since the inception of YouTube and its effectiveness and reach has continued to grow as more and more users emerge. Videos allow consumers to connect with brands on a personal level that few other marketing tactics can offer.
To achieve brand loyalty, consumer brands strive to establish a deep connection with their target audience; one that often times occurs naturally in the medical field. While many companies must get creative to determine how to incorporate engaging videos into their marketing mix, the digital platform is a natural fit for physicians and medical groups because of the personal connection that exists between patients and their doctors.
Despite the proven success of video marketing, the medical industry has been slow to adopt it. Only recently have hospitals and medical groups started to incorporate video into their communications plans, recognizing it as a viable way to connect with patients outside of the office. Some of the nation’s top medical marketers have capitalized on this unique opportunity and video has emerged as an important tool for physicians to connect with existing and potential patients.
Last month, MassMedia met with Mayo Clinic’s Social Media Director Lee Aase. Mayo Clinic, the first and largest integrated, not-for-profit group practice in the world, has emerged as a leader in social media and is a shining example of how to best use video in the medical field. With a dedicated social media department, Mayo Clinic has formed global connections between doctors and patients using Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and corporate blogging for several years. Video has become an integral part of Mayo Clinic’s communications with its patients and the global community. People around the world seeking reliable medical information can access an extensive video library through Mayo Clinic’s social media platforms.
The clinic’s website includes links to its blogs and YouTube channel that houses videos on a variety of health-related topics. Important medical research and treatment advances are relayed through patient testimonials and interviews with doctors from each of Mayo’s three campuses across the country. The videos allow viewers to enter the world of the patient, hear their stories first-hand and get a real sense of their medical struggles and triumphs. The public has responded extremely well to Mayo Clinic’s efforts; its videos have received over 4.5 million combined views since the YouTube channel launched in June, 2006. In addition, Mayo Clinic offers new patients access to doctor introduction videos so they can learn about their doctor prior to visiting the campus. Because of these videos, first appointments and consultations have become more efficient.
From a public relations standpoint, Mayo Clinic has effectively used video to pitch the media and secure news coverage for its doctors, medical research and advancements. Video pitches provide reporters with a preview of the doctor, giving them a real sense of who the doctor is and how they would fare in an interview setting.
Aase stresses that a professional camera or editing studio are not necessary to produce and share valuable video content. Any medical practice can engage through video. A Flip camera and tripod are all you need to get the job done and get you on your way to increasing engagement with the media, your patients, their family and friends and people from anywhere across the world who are seeking reliable medical information. He plans to continue communicating through video content and encourages other medical practitioners to also engage.
By: Georgeann Pizzi – @gpizzi & Pam Myers – @pammyers310
Adults more than 55 years of age account for nearly 25 percent of the population in Southern Nevada. This demographic segment continues to grow at an increasing rate. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of Americans over the age of 65 will double by 2030. Because seniors are large consumers of health care, medical groups must be keenly aware of this demographic shift from not only a service standpoint, but also as it relates to their communications efforts. In the new era of online and digital marketing, doctor groups should not lose sight of the power of traditional media and its ability to reach senior patients.
The goal of any outreach or advertising campaign is to convey your message to your target audience and the first step is to find out how they obtain information. Pew Research recently reported that nearly 70 percent of seniors read newspapers and magazines as their primary news sources. Further research shows that despite the shift to online communication, seniors continue to consume news mainly through traditional media, including print, television and radio. Despite these compelling statistics, a blanket campaign across traditional media channels will not ensure you’re reaching the right audience. There are specific TV networks, radio stations and publications that rank high among the senior population and others that reach only a small segment of this group.
To effectively reach seniors through advertising, it’s important to take your strategy a step further and do the research necessary to gain clear insight into their behavioral patterns. Important aspects to consider include what communities or areas have higher concentrations of senior residents, what publications are specifically devoted to this group, what television and radio stations have the highest concentration of viewers and listeners, and what programming and day parts are most popular. The answers to these specific questions will help guide where and when you place your advertising, and it will ensure your efforts are reaching the right group.
MassMedia Healthcare Marketing has conducted a number of focus groups on behalf of our clients to get direct feedback from seniors with regard to their communication preferences. Our findings consistently show that seniors are loyal to specific radio and television stations and print publications, and that they listen, watch or read their trusted sources on a daily basis. This is good news for marketers and we can be confident our placements will achieve favorable reach and frequencies relative to our advertising dollars.
With its moderate year-round climate, Southern Nevada is fast becoming a retirement destination for seniors throughout the country. As a result, there are a growing number of niche publications and special sections that specifically serve the senior community. The Las Vegas Review-Journal publishes a monthly supplement to its daily paper with content for senior residents. Master-planned senior housing communities, including Del Webb’s Sun City Anthem and Sun City Summerlin, publish their own magazines. These are great opportunities for doctor groups to promote their services to seniors through highly targeted advertising, which can be much more affordable than marketing to the general masses.
While traditional media remains king among most seniors, it’s important to note that adults over the age of 65 are using the Internet at an increasing rate. For that reason, online advertising should always be considered for your advertising mix. Remember, advertising is only one way to reach the senior community. The best approach is always an integrated one with grassroots, public relations and direct marketing strategies and tactics.
By: Melissa Gonzalez – @mmariegonzalez
This September, MassMedia Healthcare Marketing was hired by Women’s Cancer Center Foundation for Research, to plan and execute an awareness walk entitled “Owareness – A Walk for Ovarian Cancer,” a sequel to last year’s Owareness Rally. The challenge of this year’s event was to build on the success of the previous year’s rally by developing it into a community walk to grow additional support and have a more lasting impression for the cause. The new objectives included building support with strategic partners and influencers, overall execution and raising increased community-wide awareness.
The team developed a strategic plan which included media relations, social media, promotional materials, website updates, sponsorship outreach and special events coordination.
The agency revised the name from “The Rally for Owareness” to “Owareness – A Walk for Ovarian Cancer” to communicate the key message and purpose of the event without changing the established Owareness branding. Fliers, posters, e-blasts and the Owareness website were updated from the previous year to promote news of the event.
NFL Hall-of-Famer Jerry Rice became the name celebrity and to raise awareness for the event, promotional materials were distributed through multiple channels, including the Women’s Cancer Center office and OB/GYN offices throughout Southern Nevada. Tthese materials were also provided to ovarian cancer groups and organizations such as the Ovarian Cancer Awareness Network (OCAN) in Southern Nevada.
The agency’s team used the Women’s Cancer Center and Owareness social media platforms to make announcements, promote sponsors, engage new supporters, and provide education about the detection of ovarian cancer. Videos of patient testimonials, community partners and physicians were also posted to social media sites. In the two months leading up to the event, MassMedia grew the Owareness Facebook page by 81 likes, the Twitter page by 68 followers and quadrupled the amount of engagement from the previous year.
To further its reach, the agency partnered with OCAN, which assisted by promoting the event to its members, support groups and other cancer organizations throughout Southern Nevada.
In addition to the promotional outreach, the MassMedia team also assisted the center with outreach to sponsors. The agency contacted many service providers of the Women’s Cancer Center to secure support and help offset costs associated with the event. More than 13 companies provided their support and helped fund the cause.
The event was held on Saturday, September 24 at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) student union. The one-mile walk took place throughout the tree-lined interior of the campus. Sponsors were allowed to set up booths around the perimeter of the event. Balloons, signage and a DJ helped create a fun atmosphere. Dr. Nick Spirtos, director of the Women’s Cancer Center; Jerry Rice; Mayor Carolyn Goodman; Congresswoman Dina Titus and cancer survivors spoke to the crowd.
Approximately 200 people attended the event, doubling last year’s attendance. The attendees included survivors, patients, family members and community leaders. The agency secured interviews on five TV stations and segments on various news and radio talk shows. The event also received positive press coverage in several print publications. The Owareness social media pages continue to grow with 262 Facebook fans and 1,394 Twitter followers to date.
After months of planning and outreach to organizations and sponsors in the medical industry, MassMedia raised more than $20,000 for the foundation to go toward research, helping uninsured and underinsured ovarian cancer patients pay for chemotherapy treatments and continued education in the community about detection and screening for the disease.