Marketing, Promotion, Public Relations

Think Pink!
Dreaming Up a Children’s Hospital

Think Pink!

From the pink candies, to the pink pens, the pink paper clips, the pink shirts, the pink ties, and even a pretty, pink bag in which to place clothes—Abraham Port, MD, knows the little things count when it comes to the discerning eyes of the opposite sex.

After all, he has more than 25 years of radiology experience, 20 of them specifically in women’s imaging. He has learned that messy bathrooms will raise red flags, appropriately sized cloth gowns will always be preferred over ill-fitting paper ones, and a warm smile can instantly ease anxiety.

Advertising is just one way that Complete Women’s Imaging Center builds awareness and brand image.

So when he was appointed as director of breast imaging of South Nassau Community Hospital’s brand-new Complete Women’s Imaging Center in 2006, he made sure to pay attention to the details.

It worked. In just 2 years, he has already doubled the number of imaging exams he performs a year, with 7,000 to 8,000 mammograms, 4,000 to 5,000 ultrasounds, 800 to 1,000 breast MRIs, and 800 breast biopsies.

“One of the problems in medicine today, with HMOs and doctors overseeing patients, is that patients have lost their confidence in their physicians because they don’t spend enough time with them,” Port said. “They don’t get enough interaction. They don’t feel heard, and they don’t feel cared about.

“A woman who is worried about breast cancer—if you don’t make her feel cared about, then she’s not going to come to you,” he continued.

Complete Women’s Imaging Center, located in Oceanside, NY, therefore makes it a top priority to radiate an exceptionally friendly environment. Coffee and tea are available to patients as they walk into the office, which the staff makes an effort to keep immaculately clean. Port said that when one arrives at the center, there is a calming quiet in the air. He has a technological staff of women, all of whom are certified in their respective fields as well as gentle in their demeanors.

Port pointed out that today’s population of educated women understand that there are differences in various places that offer mammograms. They read newspapers, research the topic on the Web, and understand that there are breast specialists within the field of radiology. As a result, Port and his staff make sure to engage their patients in conversation about the disease, make sure they thoroughly understand their conditions, and discuss appropriate courses of treatment.

While most patients go to breast imaging centers driven by their gynecologists’ and internists’ referrals, patients themselves choose Complete Women’s Imaging Center because of the doctors who are there, Port said. These doctors have the credentials as dedicated specialists and the reputations of being kind and gentle.

“Everybody I hire has to be good,” Port said. “Everybody I hire also has to be nice.”

The center is also unique in that doctors give their patients the opportunity to wait after a mammogram to be informed of results. That way, patients won’t leave the office without knowing their own statuses, helping to quell anxiety. If a patient is in a hurry, someone from the office will call them later that day. Port himself calls up his patients to deliver the results of breast biopsies, rather than sending the results to the doctor. “It’s being attentive to patients’ needs,” Port explained. “It’s treating the patient like you would treat your own family member, and that’s how it should be done.”

Port said he and his staff give talks in various hospitals, discussing the newest techniques in breast treatment. For referring physicians, the center also sends out prescription pads with a brochure about the facility. Port also plans to start visiting other doctors’ offices, now that he has hired additional breast specialists who can help relieve him of his once 70-hour workweek. But Port emphasizes that his best marketing comes from patients’ word-of-mouth, who tell friends and family about their pleasant experiences.

And do the pink clips and candies really make all the difference? Yes, Port said, if they’re coming from the heart. After all, a rosy glow really begins with clinicians who are warm and friendly.

“It’s not some kind of marketing ruse. It’s all sincere, and that’s the whole point. If you are sincere and good, you’ll be successful. If you’re attentive to women, then they will come back to you. It’s really fulfilling a mission and a job of delivering the best high-quality, technically advanced breast care in an environment that makes them feel comfortable and gently treated.”

The Complete Women’s Imaging Center utilizes state-of-the-art digital mammography equipment with computer-aided detection technology, as well as interventional breast procedures, such as stereotactic-guided and sonography-guided core biopsies, guided wire placements, and fine needle aspirations; breast MRI; and breast ultrasound.

Dreaming Up a Children’s Hospital

Fifty years ago, Cinderella believed that a dream is a wish your heart makes, and over the past year, administrators at Florida Hospital in Orlando have been dreaming along with her creator, Walt Disney, to provide a new pediatric hospital for children.

Officials recently revealed new details about their visionary plans to shape what they refer to as the “Children’s Hospital of the Future,” which aims to make a significant impact on children’s health throughout Central Florida.

Here’s something to celebrate! The Disney Children’s Hospital at Florida Hospital will be all about interaction, education, technology, innovation—and comforting kids.

The Disney Children’s Hospital at Florida Hospital will be the first children’s hospital in history to bear the Disney name. Promoting interaction, education, technology, and innovation, the facility strives to rethink the approach to children’s health care and treatment.

“It’s to change the whole perception of how young patients, and even their siblings, interact with the hospital,” said Tim Burrill, assistant vice president. “We can all think back to when we were kids and had to go to the hospital—it was just scary. It’s harder to explain to children what’s happening, so you have to decrease their anxiety.”

With the Disney brand comes familiarity from the general population, Burrill said, as well as the unique challenges of taking a name and placing it into the market. Marketing strategies have consisted of presenting the project to the community in phases, he continued.

“There is the public persona of the hospital and what you are seeing there,” Burrill said. “Disney stepped up immediately and helped us with our front door, with our first impression when people walk in. It’s a very playful place, and we were very intentional with what we put in there.”

For example, in the three-level lobby, 3D figures of beloved Disney characters, such as Timon, Pumba, and Baloo, will greet families. These statues, which were at one point on Disney property, will serve as protectors of children during their healing journeys, just as they had supported the main characters in their respective movies, Burrill said. Children will also have the opportunity to draw individual markings on a cave wall, create jungle sounds on musical step pads, play with virtual salmon swimming in a virtual stream, or immerse themselves in a magical world of popping bubbles and dancing sea horses. As the sun sets, the lobby will transform into a celestial display, complete with ceiling constellations and a musical score created by the young patients.

The interactive theme doesn’t stop there. One of the keystones of the project is the creation of a dedicated children’s emergency department that will be the first in the United States to feature Ambient Experience Design solutions from Philips. Each patient room will be fully customizable, allowing children to choose the lighting color and theme they prefer. Depending on their decision, they can go to the beach, visit the mountains, or meet an animated character—all made possible through a virtual projection onto a wall. “It’s engaging,” Burrill said. “Not all of them will be feeling great—of course; that’s why they’re there. So let’s try to distract them a bit and not make it so scary.”

More features added to the in-room environment include interactive technology from GetWellNetwork Inc, which will provide its GetWellNetwork Patient-Life System as a kind of interactive television. Pediatric patients, who will have bedside access to video games, movies, and the Internet, will also be connected to their clinical record. The TV screen will show the names of their nurses and doctors, who can prescribe educational videos about their disease state or their upcoming procedures. Later, hospital staff will quiz the youngsters on the presentation and make sure they understood their condition.

“It drives the clinical process, as well as the experience in the room,” Burrill said.

Chosen themes will also follow children to the MR or CT and throughout the treatment process as a source of comfort. Moreover, doctors have discovered that calming nerves yields an added clinical benefit. “We found that when we put this kind of technology and calming devices in, we can reduce the amount of sedation that we have to give children, and that is clearly a better option for our kids,” Burrill said.

Disney Children’s Hospital is currently undergoing construction and renovation, which is expected to be completed by 2010. The new dedicated lobby and entrance are expected to open in mid-2009. When finished, the seven-story, 200-bed hospital will house an Advanced Center for Pediatric Surgery; destination pediatric programs including advanced surgery, oncology, neurosurgery, cardiology, transplant services, and full-service pediatrics; and an innovative health and obesity platform.