Last fall, Monigle administered a survey to over 30,000 people who were the decision makers for healthcare in their household. From the survey, a list of the 10 most trusted healthcare systems was developed.
Executives from five of the 10 systems discussed their brand strategies for building trust.
- Lisa Schiller, Chief Communications and Marketing Officer, UNC Health in Chapel Hill, NC: Schiller believes that the “human, compassionate experiences” routinely delivered at UNC Health are an important part of their ranking #2 on the list, and particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. She also says their efforts around patient and consumer listening have played an important part in their ranking. Even before the pandemic, they implemented a consumer insights team that conducted research among their internal and external audiences, then developed plans, messaging and tactics based on the research results. They developed a separate COVID website for consumers. In their COVID efforts, they focused on health disparities, which helped to build trust in underserved communities. Their experts became trusted sources for not only local traditional media, but for social media, internal audiences and more. Their experts also developed COVID testing, helped develop COVID medications and tested vaccines, and responded to media inquiries from around the globe.
- Andrew Thomas, MD, Interim Co-Leader and Chief Clinical Officer, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus, OH: The top-ranked academic medical center sees accomplishing its mission of improving people's lives in their state and around the world as its primary means of establishing and maintaining trust. Wexner led the state and region in COVID-19 response even prior to the onset of the first cases in Ohio by utilizing their experts in infectious diseases, epidemiology, critical care and pharmacy. These OSU experts also serve on state and national committees and organizations. During the pandemic, OSU built on its already-existing strong media relations and connections to bring timely pandemic information to the public. OSU has also maintained a close relationship with local, state and federal government officials, so they have been very involved in press conferences, town halls and briefings from various government officials. Their ER physicians hold monthly community dinners at different local churches, where they can interact with members of local communities on a casual basis while sharing health information and performing screenings. They host and staff weekly free clinics for several ethnic communities and hold health and wellness programs for expectant mothers in low-income communities.
- Frank Lococo, Vice President of Marketing and Communication at Nebraska Medicine in Omaha, NE. Lococo says trust should result as a side benefit of a good mission, solid values and a great culture that is shared. He adds that trust doesn't just happen - it's more of a long game, requiring time and intention. Nebraska Medicine builds confidence and earns trust by having their marketing and communications teams partner with their subject matter experts and gets them onto the right platforms at the right times. They make sure the voices of the organization are the actual experts and not others like administrators or marketing/communications professionals. They also work on good relationships with reporters and related organizations. They stick to the facts and are not afraid to admit when they don't know something. They listen to their communities and are responsive.
- Christine Kotler, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at Baptist Health South Florida in Miami, FL. Operating on the belief that trust is instinctive, Baptist Health works to affirm its position as the place people turn to for all their healthcare needs. The organization works to meet the expectation that they will always be available for the community and their families - to take care of them and their loved ones, but also always do what is best for them. Being connected to the human experience is the basis of their trust-building strategies. The effects of the COVID pandemic have led to a more intimate, community-focused strategy with people associating their brand logo with warm, compassionate care. During the pandemic, they worked to be the trusted source of information in their communities. They provided information relevant to their various audiences (i.e., age groups, demographics, etc.)
- Jonathan Lewin, MD, former CEO of Emory Healthcare in Atlanta, GA. Dr. Lewin lists strategies such as good communication between healthcare teams, patients and families; transparency with their patients and employees; and providing exceptional, compassionate care across their clinical specialties and clinical trial/research opportunities. During the pandemic, Emory worked with other local health systems to coordinate communications related to case surges, supply shortages, visitor screening at provider locations and more. The local organizations shared best practices and created common messaging, education and transparency, which inspired trust in the communities. Emory led in COVID research, such as working on development of the pediatric vaccine with Pfizer and testing antiviral medications for COVID.
What trust-building strategies are used at your organization?