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Engaging the Media for Transparency

The Problem:
Hospitals often have a cautious relationship with the media, leading to an “outsider looking in” perspective that may prevent the media from recognizing how integral hospitals are to their community.

The Goal:
Increase hospital access for local media outlets in order to encourage an understanding of what the hospital provides, how it runs and what its goals are.

Method & Implementation:
The Public Relations department at the Regional Medical Center (RMC) in Orangeburg, SC, decided to take a proactive approach to media relations by inviting local journalists to an “Emergency Department Media Day” where their CEO and key staff members would be on-hand to talk about one of the key departments in the hospital—the Emergency Department (ED).

The presentation began with a broad overview of how an ED functions and how patients interact with the department before digging into some of the specific statistics for RMC’s ED as well as some of the improvements and innovations that have taken place over the last few years. This was followed by a tour of the facility, including the state-of-the-art telehealth equipment used for stroke care in conjunction with MUSC to save valuable time in treating acute ischemic stroke.=

The tour was followed by a closing Q&A, with potential story ideas in the media packet for journalists to take with them.

While many of the journalists who attended the media day were members of the community who had been familiar with RMC for years, the experience still had the positive effect of reacquainting them with the hospital and its staff. Many of them expressed interest in producing new stories about the good work and growth that the hospital was experiencing, and each left the facility with a warm, positive impression of the facility. In addition to providing new information about stroke care and the operation of the ED, the media now has a better understanding of everything from how a bad flu season affects hospital operations to the procedure for dealing with snake bites. RMC also reiterated their value to the community, noting that they were a Level 3 Trauma center and the only ED serving the four-county area.

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