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What is the service concept of your hospital?

When you make your service orientation clear, everyone knows what to expect from your organization

In the competitive hospital world, it’s important that all of your stakeholders – employees, patients, referring physicians, suppliers and others – know what your hospital stands for. Whether your service concept is ‘patient intimacy,’ ‘operational excellence’ or to be a ‘competence center of excellence,’ for example, all of your communications and activities must reinforce and support it.

Service orientations in healthcare are typically based on an organization’s philosophy, mission and goals, and can focus on topics like service, product, application, technology, market, etc. The strategic choice of a specific service orientation has implications at the organizational level in terms of supply, processes, contacts and personnel policy, and more, but it’s also critically important that it be linked to a well thought-out communication policy.

The entire communication life cycle comes into play: from communications advice, message definition, target group definition, content creation, building communication channels (websites, web communities for journalists, for patients, etc.), giving content a visual identity and creating tools that can be used by different target groups. These tools can be printed materials, presentations (video, PowerPoint, Instagram, etc.), websites and digital platforms, press releases, competence papers, editorials for trade journals, etc. An inventory of content helps you to make a clear evaluation and measurement at the end of the year, and analyze the results of your communication efforts.

The target groups you should keep in mind are general practitioners, patients, hospital specialists/medics, employees, medical staff/nurses, as well as your own ICT staff, for example, who are confronted with challenges such as the evolution to the digital patient file, etc.

In our experience, certain competencies and focal points are important for a successful strategy. From our practice we have identified some critical success factors:

  • Work out a strategy where a hospital can profile itself more as a competence center or service center by creating visibility in the hospital's healthcare network and ecosystem, via its own channels and tools and via general and trade press.
  • Help management to focus on the organization's DNA and thus create a unique profile.
  • Strive, as a hospital, to measure up to your rightful place in the care process, in which the guidance of the patient/client from birth to death (from womb to tomb) is central, not only the clinical trajectory. It is about the care concept of the 21st century: a collection of organizations that have a link to health and support each other. The end result is a complete range of care.
  • Translate this focus on a clear profile and service concept into symbolism (the logo and the house style, for example) and through to communication and behavior. These elements must be consistent and carry the organization's DNA to the outside world.
  • Make an inventory of all communications carried out in the past year and draw up an optimization plan for the coming years. Think about the outreach you want, where you want to meet the target groups – live, but also virtually – and think about the messages you will share in these interactions.

At Living Stone, we can guide you through this process, and support you with all the necessary tools and channels that are defined after the inventory and brainstorming sessions.

We can serve as an extension of your internal and/or external PR/communication service, offering strategic communication advice, and develop and execute on all possible channels and tools that are necessary for tackling communication in an efficient way, supported by our powerful project management approach and measurement and reporting tools.

For more information or to exchange views, please contact Anne-Mie Vansteelant by email at, or call at +32 (0)55 59 10 01.

Anne-Mie Vansteelant
Anne-Mie Vansteelant
COO | Managing Partner at Living Stone

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