Going social: TMC Clark’s marketing campaign to bring patients back to the hospital

The Medical City (TMC) Clark in the Philippines shares how they used a marketing campaign to successfully reach out to patients who were fearful of visiting the hospital amidst the pandemic

At the Asian Hospital Management Awards 2020, The Medical City (TMC) Clark deservedly clinched the Gold Award in the Brand and Marketing Campaign category, which recognises innovative branding and marketing campaigns that lead to increased awareness of the hospital. Titled “A Safe Zone for all Patients”, their campaign was well-received by the public, and succeeded in convincing patients it was safe to visit their hospital. We ask the team behind the campaign about the planning process behind it, what their goals were, and what results were eventually reaped.

Assurance of the hospital’s safety

Located in Luzon, the largest and most populous island of the Philippines, TMC Clark was used to handling high volumes of patient cases on a daily basis.

But when COVID-19 began to spread widely in the Philippines at the beginning of last year, the hospital noticed a stark drop in the number of non-COVID-19 patients visiting its facility.

Unsurprisingly, patients were staying away from hospitals for fear of contracting the COVID-19 virus. “People decided they’d rather stay at home and suffer than seek medical attention (at hospitals) for their ailments,” the hospital said. “People failed to realise that delaying their appointments, or leaving their medical conditions unchecked, would be putting their lives at risk.”

Earlier in January, however, TMC Clark’s multi-disciplinary task force – comprising doctors, nurses and managers from different departments and units in the hospital – had already started working on infection control and safety protocols for the hospital. These protocols were developed in line with the guidelines set by the country’s Department of Health, World Health Organisation, as well as other different medical societies.

The protocols covered the procedures to be taken under different circumstances – for example, how medical emergency patients (such as those suffering from a heart attack or stroke) would be treated in an ER setting when there was no indication of whether these patients were COVID-19 positive. Another example was how medical personnel should approach emergency surgeries, which usually had to be done prior to the patients taking their COVID-19 tests.

With a comprehensive set of measures in place, the hospital was confident that it could mitigate the risk of infection, and ensure the safety of all its patients. The next step was to reach out to hesitant patients to reassure and encourage them to step forward for the care they needed.

Positive response and growing audience

The “A Safe Zone for all Patients” campaign was launched in mid- March 2020, and comprised a series of gifs, graphics and short videos posted on the hospital’s social media channels. These showcased the protocols that the hospital had adopted; for example, a gif was created to highlight how the hospital had designated elevators for suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases. These elevators, which were regularly sanitised, was off-limits for non-COVID-19 patients and staff.

safe zone elevator
Example of a campaign Facebook post

Such campaign posts garnered positive responses from the hospital’s followers and the general public, with some posts recording over a few hundred likes. The hospital received encouraging comments applauding them for their efforts, and patients began inquiring about their safety protocols and medical services. Over approximately a five-month period, from March to August, the hospital notched a marked increase in visitors to its Facebook page, and saw its page likes grow from 22,253 to over 31,000.

This, in turn, contributed to a 132% growth in the number of leads and inquiries generated. The hospital recorded an increase in revenue from P28 million to P67 million over this period – a substantial growth which the leads generated from social media contributed to.

More importantly, however, the hospital saw a rebound in the number of patients visiting the hospital, both in the inpatient and outpatient departments. “The increase in the number of patients visiting the hospital and the revenues we were able to generate is, for the hospital, a valid measure of the effectiveness of the campaign that was launched,” said the hospital.

With the pandemic showing no signs of abating in Asia, TMC Clark is continuing its campaign to engage and connect with its audience, by sharing updates to their protocols as the pandemic situation evolves. The hospital noted that the successful roll-out of such marketing efforts require close collaboration between marketers and the planning and implementation teams, which in TMC’s case would be the task force, together with the Safety, Housekeeping and Quality Departments.

Hopefully, the success that TMC enjoyed with their “A Safe Zone for all Patients” campaign will inspire hospitals in the region to also explore innovative ways to engage and connect with patients through their own social media marketing campaigns.

 

We at Hospital Management Asia aim to serve as a learning platform for hospitals, by showcasing the best the region has to offer. If your medical institution has any innovative projects or initiatives you would like us to feature, please contact Cindy at cindy.peh@clarionevents.com. We look forward to hearing from you!

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