At a recent breakfast featuring several CEO’s of Chicago hospitals, the panel was asked this question: “what keeps you up at night?” Their answers really woke up the audience of nearly 500 and provided a chilling reminder about how the world and our priorities have changed.
One panelist explained that his answer would have been very different years ago. It would have focused on the hospital’s census, average length of stay, and quality ratings. Today what keeps these hospital CEO’s awake is concern over patient safety.
At first glance, you might suspect that their comments have to do with Medicare’s Hospital-Acquired Condition (HAC) Reduction program. Or, reports from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality that cite one in eight hospital admissions result in a patient injury of some kind. After all, the HAC program alone costs hospitals nearly $400 Million in Medicare payments.
This kind of “patient safety” is not what these administrators had in mind. On the heels of shootings all over the world, from Paris to San Bernardino, to other crazy incidents occurring almost daily, their morning thoughts are on whether or not anything happened in their hospitals the night before and if their patients and employees are safe.
Unfortunately for brands in all categories, this is not the first time, nor the last, CEO’s have to think about consumer safety. It goes way back, before the days of Tylenol tampering to the most recent outbreak of E.coli experienced by Chipotle customers. I’m sure airline CEO’s think about it all the time as do other brand leaders with products and services that directly touch peoples lives.
These same potential nightmares keep brand marketers up at night, too. Many have very detailed protocols to deal with any type of threatening incident that might occur. For hospital marketers, the list is long, and worthy of a reminder to have:
- Safety transfer plans and lock-down drills – like schools, churches, and synagogues to keep stakeholders safe and intruders out.
- PR emergency plans – to keep the public and media on top of events with an emphasis on transparency, especially in light of social media traveling at light speed.
- Social media plans – to alert campuses and facilities when a danger is present in real-time.
Staff training/education – to keep eyes and ears open, and to always be skeptical of any type of disruption.
- Changes in customer service protocols – from open visitation to controlled access in order to keep security high and patients safe.
- Ongoing safety controls – for patients and customers in all areas to make sure the right people are where they are supposed to be, and others are not.
As 2015 ends and the holiday season is upon us, I couldn’t think of a better blog subject to put things in perspective than brand safety. It is tragic that world events have put us all on high alert, and what keeps us up at night are the daily reminders that (as the song says) in a New York minute, everything can change.
Here’s to a great New Year for you and your brands – may 2016 bring peace and safety to you, your families, and your organizations.