This is a three-part blog post series, digging deep into the area of Community for nonprofit hospitals and healthcare systems. In this first post, I explore the current status and identify strategies for stickiness with a healthcare omnichannel presence.
Hospitals operating as nonprofit organizations provide a number benefits to their local communities, in the form of free and discounted care for the most vulnerable and ‘community benefit’ (such as preventive services, training health professionals, research, and community health improvement). There are a number of requirements to meet to retain the nonprofit tax-exempt status.
The Community area of public-facing flagship websites of nonprofit hospitals and health systems offers key information for several audiences including legislators, policy makers, non-profits, community clinics, and consumers. The below publication is mandatory to include:
- Financial assistance policy for medically necessary and emergency care
- Community health needs assessment (CHNA)
- Implementation plan that meets the community health needs identified via the assessment
- Annual report to share accomplishments from the past year on community benefit efforts
The latest versions should be available and access to previous (CHNA and implementation plan) publications can also be made available.
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Often it is about more than just meeting these legal obligations but also at the heart of an organization’s mission and brand. Brand values that are tied to improving the local community’s health and overall well-being, educating and training healthcare professionals, expanding medical knowledge through research amongst others.
Many nonprofit hospital systems and healthcare systems offer a large number of community initiatives and often have limited time and resources dedicated to frequently showcasing updates on flagship website and via other channels – newsletters, social media, etc. In addition to this, there’s difficulty experienced in measuring the economic value of community benefit in an engaging and way easy to understand for wide-ranging stakeholders. But there’s definitely value in creating fresh community-related content across various channels to create stickiness.
Strategies for Stickiness with an Omnichannel Approach
Increasing awareness and engagement within the physical community are central in supporting your organization’s Community efforts. Create wider reach and awareness of work being done across your community health improvement efforts by leveraging community outreach via the partnerships your organization has created. Leverage community partners to ensure those in the community know where to go for further information as well as how to access the services available.
Ensure the digital channel comprehensively reflects your organization’s community benefit efforts. Showcase the work and impacts of community benefit on your flagship website with frequent updates of what’s happening across specific neighborhoods and which services will be offered as part the community health improvement and community building programs/activities. In addition, consider highlighting with case studies and quick facts the impact you are making in improving the health of the community. Don’t forget to ensure health professions education is represented on your flagship website so physicians, nurses and other health professionals know what is available. Also, consider including a unreimbursed care as a message on the Community area of the flagship website.
From a digital usability perspective push forward with digital excellence, ensure you offer prominent links to pivotal publications. Make the Community area of your site actionable by incorporating calls to action so website users know where to sign up for even and to obtain further information, download resources, or where to send their questions, etc.
Ensure the Community area of the flagship site easily accessible and ensure there’s a cross-linking strategy in place from various clinical areas to ensure quick access so site visitors can learn more about the community programs and the financial assistance policy. In addition to this ensure it’s accessible from the header or footer of your site. A link within the header will offer greater prominence for those who visit your website and assist them to navigating to the area faster.
With community outreach support from partners, frequently website updates with fresh content, and digital best practices being adopted, it will increase the stickiness with the healthcare omnichannel presence. It will increase awareness for the events you hold out in the community and expand reach. I hope you found this blog post about developing a healthcare omnichannel presence useful. The next post will explore best practices to adopt for a Community digital experience on your flagship website. We will go into specific steps to action to ensure you offer a first-class digital experience.