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Playing to Win Patient Engagement

Anna Webster, for HealthLeaders Media, September 7, 2011

The University of North Carolina Hospitals, a not-for-profit integrated healthcare system, is setting up a 2011 photography contest for employees. The two purposes of the annual photography contest are to promote photography as a hobby and beautify UNC Hospitals with quality artwork in public areas.

The top 10 photographs for each contest—one for the UC Memorial Hospital and one for the Hedrick Building -- will be enlarged, framed and displayed by Employee Recreation & Wellness at each building for 1-2 years. A judging panel will select the top 10 based on technical merit, artistic interpretation, and visual impact. After the top 10 are selected, UNC Hospital employees can vote for their favorites by submitting a nomination ballot.


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The benefits for photography contest are two-fold--Free art and a means to increase employee engagement. UNC Hospitals could have hired artists to decorate the space, but this contest alternative combines cost-saving marketing with wall-worthy aesthetics. The idea is clever because it covers multiple goals of employee interaction.

The funware marketing technique can also encourage people to perform more tedious tasks that they would otherwise consider boring, such as completing surveys, shopping, or reading websites.

 For example, to lure more patients to its website, Mills-Peninsula’s Family Birth Center in San Mateo, CA has posted a baby picture contest online. Moms are invited to enter a candid photo of their healthy, breastfed baby when they were age 18 months or less. Winners will be announced at their Children’s Halloween Party later in the fall.

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