Small Hospital Takes a Fresh Approach to Marketing; How to Communicate Improvements and Overcome a Reputation That’s Out of Date
By Lisa Ellis
Fresh Care. Delivered Daily. The concept is simple, yet this hand-picked brand message represents Columbia Memorial Health (CMH) perfectly. It also hits home on many levels for the hospital’s target area, which consists of Greene and Columbia counties of upstate New York.
Hospital Tries To Overcome Past Reputation
The CMH network has a total of 120 individual multi-specialty practitioners, a hospital, a medical office building, and 14 remote locations offering outpatient care. A full 70 percent of the organization’s revenue comes from the outpatient side, according to William Van Slyke, Vice President of Marketing and External Affairs.
There’s an academic medical center not far from CMH, and the well-known New York City hospitals are just a two-hour drive away. Yet the toughest challenge to the health system’s success actually comes from an unexpected direction. “Our biggest competition to increased volume has really been our own reputation,” Van Slyke admits, adding that in the past, the hospital didn’t have high satisfaction ratings from patients.
To rectify this situation, for the past 10 years, CMH has invested in a series of enhancements to improve and broaden services and increase local access to excellent care. And while people already in the Columbia Memorial network seem to recognize the upgrades, recent consumer perception studies reveal that the hospital’s former mediocre reputation has been preventing new people from giving them a try.