Nancy Sergeant - 05/08/2018
Community mobile health outreach by a hospital is a core feeder of residents to population health-improving outpatient services in the areas surrounding the physical hospital. Hospitals and primary care groups often host a variety of regular screening events throughout the year so they may fade in to the background of your publicity efforts. As a result, they can become missed opportunities for media coverage. With a little creativity, the main event screenings can become the solid medical reason for a “what’s new” press hook that can cut through the competitive clutter for media coverage on a national health observance day event — even one as high profile as Go Red For Women® Day.
Here’s a recent example of a media relations strategy we employed for Saint Peter’s University Hospital located in New Jersey. Each February in honor of annual heart health awareness month, the community mobile health team conducts Know Your Numbers Cardiovascular Health Screenings and Education event at which hundreds of women — and men, are screened for
- Blood Pressure
- Blood Sugar
- HbA1c (Long term blood sugar)
- BMI (body mass index) and nutrition counseling
Guests are referred for further diagnosis if needed or may see a nutritionist onsite at the event to learn more immediately. Some residents return every year because of the convenience of getting several screenings under one roof.
This year, Saint Peter’s director of women’s health connected community mobile health, the breast center, the marketing department, the catering department and a few outside partners, and created the first Saint Peter’s University Hospital’s Go Red Health Village & Screenings event. The core screening event already occupied a large area to conduct the screenings. Attendees were welcomed into to the village on the way to the screenings and enjoyed an environment that signified to all that the hospital can be a place to be well and stay well, as well as to get better.
Women were invited to “Honor Your Heart” on Go Red For Women® Day by visiting Saint Peter’s University Hospital’s Go Red Health Village. All five senses were engaged through a holistic approach which included live music, chair massages, mini yoga workshops, health screenings, hot chocolate, and cooking demos set to the backdrop of a soothing waterfall. Saint Peter’s partnered with Elijah’s Promise Promise Culinary School, and other community health experts to give women a total health experience.
Additionally, Saint Peter’s Cardio-Oncology strain echo technology designed to protect the cardiac health of patients undergoing cancer treatment was featured in the village. This technology was the “what’s new” factor for Go Red 2017, and there was still an opportunity for more women to learn about it.
Registration was not required and parking was free. The space was a sea of red and excitement was in the air.
Media Outreach Approach
Our media relations team secured media coverage before, during, and after the event.
Same Day Pre-Event:
- WCBS AM Newsradio 880 let listeners know how to take advantage of the event
- WCTC AM local morning show had a live interview with the director of community mobile health to talk about the event and how to protect your heart
Same Day Post Event:
- Local television crews including WMBC TV and NJTV reported on the village and the screenings — Watch Women ‘Go Red’ to Promote Heart Health
- Local online news sources included TapInto — read Saint Peter’s Hospital Rolls Out ‘Go Red’ for Heart Health
- The hospital employee newsletter also featured the event
After the Event:
The in-house photographer shot video and made pictures that were sent to media who couldn’t attend for post event coverage, including the Home News Tribune and the Catholic Spirit.
The Takeaway Message: A fresh idea can add to a successful annual event to:
- Augment the educational value of the original content
- Bring in more guests
- Increase your database
- Create brand lift
- Generate media coverage
It takes some additional resources, a little more budget, and a champion to generate the enthusiasm and its worth it.
Let us know if you have created other ways to jazz up an and attract media to annual event.