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Catholic Healthcare West: Think Fast!

Kandace McLaughlin Doyle, for HealthLeaders Media, March 18, 2009

Click to view PDF version.The name of the game for many of today's consumers is fast. Look at fast food; the quicker and easier the better! But, of course, they also want quality. When it comes to the ER, patients and consumers have those needs in common. A recent campaign from Catholic Healthcare West, a system with facilities throughout California, Arizona, and Nevada, managed to successfully marry the two concepts in an interesting and unique way.

There was a need in Catholic Healthcare West's regional market. Thirty-minute clinics were popping up and the focus was primarily on door-to-doc time. Needing a way to meet consumer needs as well as to communicate back to the public, Catholic Healthcare West did extensive research and found ways to completely redefine the way its ER was operating.

"We went from three-hour wait times to three minutes," says Paul Szablowski, vice president of marketing, communications, and public relations for Catholic Healthcare West. "What we found is that sometimes we were asking for a patient's name and insurance 10 or 15 times . . . so we streamlined that process from an operational perspective."

Once new procedures were in place and door-to-doc times had been dramatically reduced, a multi-layer campaign was launched to increase patient volumes. "We wanted to take the time to raise consumer awareness before a situation arises," says Szablowski.

The campaign that Catholic Healthcare West launched stressed to the consumer that making a fast choice is important but making a "good choice" is critical. This was done using a unique creative strategy that visually molded the ad's copy to the shape of various fast-food items—stressing the visual association and stressing the meaning of "fast."

"Anyone can guarantee fast service," says Szablowski, "but can you guarantee efficient practice? Shorter wait times are great but we wanted to stress that you should look at the depth of specialty as well." The message "Nobody chooses to have an emergency. But choosing the right Emergency Services can make all the difference. Expect More" was also used throughout the various materials as a way to tie the concept together in a meaningful way.

"The campaign is edgy, it's very different, but the proof is in the pudding," says Szablowski. ROI analysis showed that the campaign helped Catholic Healthcare West to see a 27% increase in patient volume numbers over the previous year.


Kandace McLaughlin Doyle is an editor with HealthLeaders magazine. Send her Campaign Spotlight ideas at kdoyle@healthleadersmedia.com If you are a marketer submitting a campaign on behalf of your facility or client, please ensure you have permission before doing so.

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