How do you give people a more accessible experience at a 175-year-old premier institution? In early 2009, hospitals were facing a small crisis. Consumer trust was declining. Consumers were increasingly seeking alternative services and therapies outside of hospital environments. Hospitals were perceived as being impersonal, formal “institutions.” Rush University Medical Center saw an opportunity to counter these trends by forming more direct, transparent connections with the public and called on Grisko to help the hospital on a more progressive communications track.
The merging of cultures. Extensive research and analysis revealed a gap between Rush’s innovative culture and the public’s knowledge about the hospital and its work. We set out to close that gap by “virtually” opening Rush’s doors to the public. We built an integrated social media platform for Rush that included Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and two blogs: Rush News, designed to help increase reach and distribution of medical breakthrough news, and a general information blog to build stronger connections between the internal culture at Rush and the public. Although this initiative was launched only five years ago, the content platform and communications strategy were considered innovative for the industry, given patient privacy concerns and the perceived sovereignty of hospitals.
24/7 Care. Rush saw an immediate uptick in consumer engagement on all digital platforms, from increased traffic on its website to direct dialogue with the public on social media channels. Through a Twitter exchange, Rush’s social media team connected a woman seeking orthopedic help for her mother to a surgeon at Rush. This success story sparked an October 2010 article in Ragan Communications, an influential online publication.