6 ways hospitals are improving community relations

In Ohio, hospital construction is causing tension with neighbors, but hospitals have their way of maintaining good relationships with their communities.

It's marketing 101: Hospitals must maintain good relationships with their communities. And community relations are doubly important during construction projects. 

In Columbus, Ohio, new construction was threatening to erode the relationship between Nationwide Children’s Hospital and its neighbors.

Mount Carmel Health System, also in the Columbus area, is in the middle of a $711 million project. One facility will shift inpatient services, but keep its emergency room. 

And OhioHealth is building an $89 million headquarters that some residents fear will exacerbate traffic in the area. 

All three organizations have created programs and policies and have crafted public relations messages to not only improve communications and protect their reputation, but also offer real value to the locals, reports The Columbus Dispatch.

The ultimate goal is improved communication with the community, OhioHealth spokesman Mark Hopkins told the publication.

“We want people to know what’s going on, what we’re doing, so they’re not surprised,” he said.

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Here are six of several solutions and projects outlined in the article:

  1. Nationwide established two groups through its community relations department that respond to concerns and meet with residents and community groups to get feedback.
  2. The organization also builds goodwill through a local program that renovates vacant buildings and homes and offers job training to local residents.
  3. Mount Carmel Health System gathered community input about its expansion and keeps neighbors abreast of the changes. It also holds regular open houses and forums to gather concerns.
  4. In response to concerns over that shift in services, the organization crafted a public relations message to assure residents that services aren't going away—they're just changing to better suit local needs.
  5. And a small but effective touch: Mount Carmel is landscaping areas around the construction zones to keep the neighborhoods attractive.
  6. OhioHealth sends mailers to residents, hosts community meetings and gives presentations to neighbors and groups such as the Chamber of Commerce and Rotary clubs.