Rural healthcare is my passion, so I thought it would only be fair that I dedicate some time and words to raise a little awareness for National Rural Health Day on November 17. The National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH) decided to set aside this day every November in order to bring to light the issues that rural healthcare facilities face in today’s world.
What NOSORH is trying to accomplish with National Rural Health Day is to educate those living in rural areas about the advantages and importance of their local hospitals. The message being that your local healthcare facility can, will, and should be your first choice when it comes to accommodating your medical needs.
Rural hospitals are more than likely the economic foundation of their region, unbeknownst to many of the surrounding population. In the eyes of that surrounding population, however, they may not be perceived as being the first choice for premium healthcare.
With an increase in out-migration, that is the increase in patients looking for their healthcare needs in metropolitan areas instead of locally, comes a decrease in market share. In addition, this can cause a snowball effect on your facility’s brand, reputation, image, and any built up goodwill you have with the community.
This is why it is important to note the power of word of mouth in these rural areas. Members of these communities attach great value and significance on the opinions and advice of their peers. A great place to begin is with the team members and volunteers in your hospital. Writing press releases and reaching out to local media, where applicable, is also a great way to build awareness.
The more effort your facility puts into educating the community about the services and advantages your facility provides the more awareness you will build which will lead to measureable results. Through a comprehensive approach in improving communication with the community, your facility can quickly grow census and, most importantly, local support.
To learn more about National Rural Health Day and how you can get involved in raising awareness for rural healthcare, please visit celebratepowerofrural.org. For information on how to better communicate with your community, you can call us at 214-528-5775.