Showing posts with label Hinduja Hospital. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hinduja Hospital. Show all posts

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Crisis in healthcare industry

As this sector deals with life - every life saved translates into big publicity and every life lost translates into lot of negative publicity very difficult to erase.
Crisis in this sector is usually classified into the following:
  1. Death of patient
  2. Sexual harassment charges
  3. Medicine overdose
  4. Duplicate drug
There are many situations where crisis can take place, but above mentioned are few of the important ones. Incase of any crisis the thumb rule is:
  1. It is very important to understand the crisis, talk to all the parties involved.
  2. Inform the spokesperson and people affected to maintain a common statement for media. In the meant time setup an enquiry committee.
  3. Keep media informed about the latest reports only after approval.
  4. Get assistance of legal department/consultants.
  5. Understand what media wants and diplomatically solve all the queries.
  6. There are many aspects to deal with crisis so it is necessary to hire a communications agency.
Here I will quote a case study to better understand crisis Molestation charges against male doctor by female patient during checking and no female attendant is nearby. And the doctor is not guilty, but how to prove it? What, I have highlighted is an extreme crisis situation which can tarnish the image of the doctor as well as of the hospital. Here, it is important to understand the doctors’ side and the patients’ side of the story. Can schedule meeting with a psychiatrist of both the parties, whose reports can help to understand the reasons behind such incidence. The legal dept and the hospitals spokesperson should keep all channels open and interact with the media (the information shared with the media should be approved by the mgt). As far as possible the culprit should not speak to media and have faith in the hospitals management. If the patient is wrong their will be loopholes in her story which can surface during interrogation. It might happen that the patient was sexually starved and was trying to advance towards the doctor and he might have objected resulting in this claim. The other possibility can be that doctor was checking her heart beats and by mistake touched her breast. Only after discussions this type of case can be solved. Once the case is solved both the parties (doctor & patient) should speak to media and convey the right message. Keeping media informed helps to gain positive respect from media which helps in the long run.

This can happen in any hospital like Hinduja Hospital, KEM Hospital, JJ Hospital, Tata Hospital, etc. So be aware and set your protocols to fight such crisis...

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Image management in Healthcare industry

Healthcare industry for decades was dependent on word-of-mouth publicity. Even when the industry started operating as corporate entity they still were not able to advertise because of stringent rules laid by ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research).
Also the Indian mindset, I mean the public at large don't really trust advertisements in healthcare sector, so this leaves the sector with very little prospects of publicity.

Whether doctors should advertise has been in debate for a very long time in ICMR meetings, but I think this discussion will continue, as the decision makers are of the old thought process and believe that if the Hospital/doctor is really good then the patients will spread the good word to target audience and that’s the main reason they are against advertising.

So the main question arises whether this should this stop the healthcare sector from hiring Advertising and Brand Consultants?


Rather the healthcare sector should hired Brand or PR Consultants who will help in providing advice and guide on managing the brand. It is very essential for a healthcare provider to define internal as well as external communications, to segregate the target audience, to inform about the services offered and the most important to device a crisis management strategy. These Consultants will also help to position the Healthcare provider in the minds of its target audience.

Most often the doctors who have completed Masters in Healthcare Administration take charge of the marketing department of these Healthcare companies, and they certainly cannot advice on Brands and how it relates to the company philosophy. Actually this is the main reason Healthcare companies need experienced Brand/Image Consultants.

Case Study: Hinduja Hospital, a trust managed hospital with a capacity of 351 beds including ICUs, ICCUs, latest technology to diagnose and treat patients, very highly qualified Medical and Para-medical staff to managed emergencies, etc. Most of its doctors often quote in media on various health related issues, media has a very positive attitude towards the hospital, so half battle is won when solving crisis situations.

The hospital never advertises because it is a charitable trust hospital helping poor patients. The best part is even media knows this about Hinduja Hospital, but what happens when an opinion survey is conducted. The findings very much deviate from the philosophy of the hospital, it shows that the hospital is for rich people and hardly any poor patients opt for treatment in Hinduja Hospital. Quite surprising! But that’s the truth about this hospital. Now the public perception needs to be changed so the brand is in sync with its philosophy, mission and perception.
In this case the hospital needs to hire an Image Consultancy which would try to change the perception over a period. The plan would be a mix of events, CMEs, internal communication programs, brochure and information document development, etc. The Image Consultancy with experience and market survey will help Hinduja Hospital to position itself as a world class Hospital for poor.