When it comes to public policy, health care is in the battle of its life. As employers and lawmakers wrestle with how to contain the cost of providing care for employees, the elderly and poor, more and more hospitals, insurers and doctors are coming under scrutiny.
State legislatures and the American Congress alike are often misconceptions of what health-care providers are doing in their communities and how a very complicated patchwork of reimbursement funds health care costs. No longer can providers rely on sheer goodwill as a means of being treated fairly.
Health-care providers tend to be respected and valued within the communities they serve. They are known for their good work and their reputations. And as providers have grown and expanded, merging and acquiring, they have come more and more to rely on their brands as identifiers for their organizations.
The single biggest challenge health-care organizations face in branding is maintaining consistency. With so many services to offer, the temptation – and often the real practice – has been to develop individual brands for these services, rather than housing them under the overarching brand of the health-care organization. The result is confusion for patients and the community at large.
Crises happen. In health care, it’s inevitable. So, the best preparation is to have a plan.
But, most health-care organizations are so busy providing care and delivering services, that very, very few have prepared communications plans in anticipation of a crisis. And when the crisis hits, it sucks every ounce of time away from daily operations and consumes leadership’s every thought.
Crises come in big packages and small ones. They can last a day or months. They can also alter an organization’s reputation for good and for bad.