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Marketing Observations From the Hospital Bed
Marketing Observations From the Hospital Bed

Marketing Observations From the Hospital Bed

I suddenly finished up in a healthcare facility a couple weeks ago, working with a significant bout of pneumonia.

I’ll spare you all of the details, nonetheless it basically all started with the trip to the Howard County General Hospital ER in Columbia, MD on a Saturday night after having a significant a reaction to something I ate. In the act, gastric fluids kiralık hasta yatağı found myself in the lungs. Ugh!

The digestive distress passed in short order, but an alert doctor observed that my vital signs were going downhill fast and determined that pneumonia was setting in quickly. He reversed my heading for discharge, and to my surprise, steered me toward the ICU unit.

Now all of us are conscious of the present national debate on health care reform. And I won’t tread into that explosive political arena in this blog.

But as I was in the ER, the ICU and then the standard ward (total stay was 7 days), I did make numerous marketing observations — both positive and negative, from the perspective of “the client.”

Let me start by saying that I smile when people say if you ask me, “Oh, I wouldn’t be good in sales.” Within my mind, every employee is a salesman, and all of us should realize the significance of that role.

This is exactly why I’m fond of saying a receptionist should treat their job as “Vice President of First Impressions.” (I didn’t produce that – I acquired that from a seminar I attended 10 years ago with marketer Keith Hatschek, who has since concentrated his work in the music field)

And the thought of “most people are a salesman” was so obvious if you ask me within my hospital stay at Howard County General.

Consider it. How can we draw our general opinions about whether a hospital is a “good” patient-oriented hospital or “bad” one. Isn’t it really predicated on several stories you may have heard from others plus perhaps your own or family experience or two?

So what hospital employee does a patient have the most connection with from which to conclude whether they’ve had a good or bad experience?

Doctors? – certainly not — we think of them almost as “independents.”

It’s the nurses, right?

To prove the idea, here is a common perception within my Ellicott City, Maryland neighborhood: “Go to Johns Hopkins in Baltimore to discover the best doctor care, but avoid staying over being an in-patient.”

Now I was an in-patient at Johns Hopkins over 20 years ago, and I had an excellent experience. But that negative perception about Hopkins, whether accurate or not, still persists within my neighborhood. Dig down a bit, and one learns that it actually stems from conversations at gatherings based on the experiences of only a some of the neighbors. (Hint: bad news travels fast at neighborhood social events)

OK, given that my assumption about nurses carrying lots of marketing power is accurate, I’d have to say my a reaction to my experience at Howard General was mixed.

On a single hand, I had exceptional care from a veteran nurse named Ellen in ICU (I’ll detail more below).

But on another hand, there have been the ER nurses who got so confused with paperwork and bureaucracy that I was really “lost” for 2 hours in a corridor waiting for an X-ray. My partner finally had to invoke something akin to “habeas corpus” to have me retrieved.

The confusion continued as bewilderment with internal procedures caused another ER nurse to delay my dealing with the ICU for 90-minutes. We finally convinced him to just wheel us around ICU, and we’d sort it all out there. Once we arrived, the reception by the ICU staff was like, “Where have you been? We’ve been waiting for you!” Hmmmm…

Finally, that which was I to make of the nurse who came in through the fifth day of my stay and asked me what I was in for. I considered to myself, “Perhaps you should glance at the paperwork at the station before to arrive to see me?”

But let’s end on a positive. Let me return to that nurse, Ellen, in ICU. I don’t know her last name (maybe their marketing dept will i’d like to know).

You may tell from first introduction that Ellen enjoyed her job and was conscious of the noble service her profession provides.

She was well-informed about my condition from the start.

She was friendly yet firm in ensuring I stayed on course toward recovery.

And then one other thing — she knew just how to strike up a quick conversation with me at the ideal moment (straight out of Dale Carnegie’s classic book, “How to Win Friends and Influence Others”). We chatted about my daughter and her teenage kids.

Ellen wasn’t the only real exemplory instance of positive nursing I experienced within my stay at Howard County General. There were certainly others who have been top professionals as well. (For example there was the Asian-American nurse, down in the standard ward, whose name I believe was “Yun?,” who worked efficiently and adroitly, yet unobtrusively, while prepping me for discharge.)

But I believe you receive my point. The most effective overall “salesperson” for Howard County General Hospital within my experience was the nurse named Ellen in ICU.

Now, a few of you could discount my assertion by replying, “Sure, in ICU, the nursing to patient ratio is 1:2 as well as 1:1,…not the case elsewhere in the hospital.”

OK, I take the point. But I learned within our brief conversations that Ellen had worked in almost every other department during her tenure at the hospital. Something tells me she exhibited exactly the same positive marketing qualities throughout her career.

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