Rural Hospitals are a Brand and Image Matters
Community support is important for rural hospitals. To maintain long-term profitability and keep patient volumes up, it is important that community believes in the hospital and trusts its quality of care.
The main point here is that perception matters; and in the minds of consumers and patients, perception becomes reality. As a result, it is important for rural hospitals to recognize their hospital is a brand that needs to be continuously supported.
Unfortunately, when rural hospitals begin to struggle and start aggressively cutting costs, these actions can send a negative message and begin to diminish the perception the community has about the value and quality of services the hospital provides.
This negative perception can lead to declining patient volumes, which only adds to the financial struggles.
Every organization goes through challenging times; and rural hospitals can learn from the most successful consumer brands that have weathered many challenging times.
The secret to how great brands weather financial downturns is communication. They communicate the situation, the actions they are taking, and their next steps. Every negative is communicated in terms of how the actions they are taking will create benefits for their customers.
For example, if a rural hospital is forced to eliminate a medical service, focus on how the results of its elimination create opportunities to add new services that better meet the community’s needs.
It’s about shifting to the positive and generating excitement about the changes to come. If you don’t get in front of the negative perception, the community will lose faith and stop supporting your hospital.
To learn more about how NewLight Healthcare helps struggling hospitals return to profitability, click here to read the last case study about how we helped a struggling rural facility redefine and grow their brand.