By admin | November 14th, 2013
Healthcare public relations is a high wire act. Every industry has its challenges, but everyone pays attention to health news because, quite literally, it’s about life and death. The smart healthcare PR practitioner understands that his or her day can turn on a dime (the bus accident that sends dozens to a hospital ER, the malpractice issue that bubbles up from nowhere, the high profile patient in surgery, etc.) and that news monitoring is an important part of a smart PR practice.
Hospital and healthcare systems from Los Angeles to New York and every point in between need to have solid media tracking – print, broadcast, web and social media – in place not only for the day-to-day public relations measurement of news and issues, but also for moments of crisis. And crisis issues are part of the job. What other type of business has a department called “the Trauma Center?” The best media monitoring services see themselves as part of a healthcare client’s team rather than as a simple service provider or a software program. For example, every member of our staff knows that we’re on call; we know all our healthcare clients are always on call, too.
On top of the challenging–and widely public–medical PR matters, which a complete news monitor quantifies, today’s healthcare public relations office needs social media tracking to identify and help address insidious issues that can start small, but can grow. Online postings that “go viral” are all too common. Healthcare systems that ignore negative Facebook posts and Twitter mentions do so at their own risk. A tweet that says a nurse was rude or a doctor was incompetent should in most cases be treated like a complaint phone call or letter. Good healthcare reporters in any market (and not just big cities like Chicago or Denver) are following social media to help seek out possible stories. A hospital PR department that is forewarned, thanks to cross-media monitoring, can effectively confront issues before they become too public.
A great news clipping and media analysis service can’t stop a crisis. No one can do that. But do think of media monitoring as a type of insurance policy . . . or a dose or preventative medicine. I hope the above tips help you evaluate the effectiveness of your media monitoring and PR measurement efforts. Everyone wants to work smarter . . . not harder.