Public and in interest of the hospital managers are

Public relations (PR) is the way organizations, companies
and individuals communicate with the public and media this communication may be
address target audience directly or indirectly through media with an aim to
create and maintain a positive image and create a strong relationship with the
audience. This communication may include direct interviews, newsletters, public
appearances, internet such as Facebook and twitter, and etc. 

Effectiveness of public relations:-

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To be effective public relations must depend on the
government board’s appreciation of the special public relations needs of the
hospital as well as on the support of all departments. By and large this latter
support is readily forthcoming because public relations cuts across
organizational lines and in interest of the hospital managers are more willing
to do for the public relations what they normally would not do for other
department .

In recent time there has been pronounced trend toward the
CEO’s of hospital assuming an expended public relations role and performing
some activity related to public relations which they feel are too important to
be left in the hands of their subordinate’s .consequently CEO’s are seen
spending more time on public relations function. These activities include public
speaking, dealing directory with media, lobbying in favor of or against issues
that affect health care and hospital dealing with consumer protection forums’,
promoting industrial, or occupational medicine by meeting corporate bosses and
cultivating community and top opinion leaders. The public relations director
arranges this meeting and prepares promotional materials for the CEO’s use

The basic components
of public relations in hospital :-

There thirteen elements affect in public relations in
hospital have been listed as follows Counseling, Research, Media Relations, Publicity,
Employee/Member Relations, Community Relations, Public Affairs, Government
Affairs, Issues Management, Financial Relations, Industry Relations, Development/Fund-Raising
and Special Events.

Counseling, involves providing advice to management about policies,
relationships and interactions. Research mean shaping attitudes and behaviors
of the public in order to plan public strategies. Working with mass media in
seeking publicity or responding to their interests in the hospital call media relations.
Publicity is disseminating planned messages through selected media to sponsor
the hospital. Employee/Member Relations describe as Responding to concerns,
informing, and motivating the hospital employees or members. Community
Relations is designed activity with a community to maintain an environment that
benefits both the hospital and the community. Component public affairs can describe
as developing effective involvement in public policy and helping a hospital
adapt to public expectations. The term is also used by government agencies to
describe their public relations activities and by many corporations as an
umbrella term to describe multiple public relations activities. Government
Affairs is relating directly with legislatures and regulatory agencies on
behalf of the hospital. Lobbying can be a part of the government affairs
program. Identifying and addressing issues of public concern that affect the
hospital can simply call as issues management. Financial Relations is the creating
and maintain investor confidence and building good relationships with the
financial community Also known as Investor Relations or Shareholder Relations. Industry
Relations is the relating with other hospitals in the industry of an organization.
Development or Fund-Raising can describe as demonstrating the need for
development and encouraging the public to support the hospital, primarily
through financial contributions. Special Events is inspiring an interest in a
person, product or organization by means of a focused “happening”
also activities designed to interact with publics and listen to them.

Importance of public relation in promotion of hospital:-

Public relations department in a hospital:-

Public relation is relatively new service in hospital. Nevertheless, it’s
rapid growth in recent years and the fact that many hospitals now have public
relations programs and public officer indicate that it has earned an important
and permanent place in the hospital set -up.

The importance of and the need for public relations can be appreciated when
one considers some of the problem today’s hospital have to contend with -high
cost of medical care and the growing public criticism of hospital, problem of
delivering quality care at affordable cost, need for efficient and professional
management of hospital and increasing involvement of government agencies and
consumer protection forums in patient care and internal management of hospital.
Different section of public- community, employees, medical staff, patient,
visitors, etc. forms their opinion about the hospital according to the source
of information .These opinions can be influences by a good public relations
programmed.

A good public relation program is essential both inside and outside the
hospital .Inside the hospital to maintain dedicated staff who will provide warm
and personal service to patient and outside to communicate the activity of the
hospital to the people and to interpret people’s perception of the hospital and
its policies to the hospital ‘s management

Healthcare changing at rapid pace with the role of public relations in
hospital is changing too. There has been an explosion in technology that has
revolutionized the practice of the public relations in terms of its acceptance
and sophistication. Many public relations directors who remain insulated in
their self contained hospitals performing the traditional public relations
activity such as publication of house journals and functioning as hospitals
media agent have suddenly found themselves equipped and unprepared to face the
challenge of new concepts of marketing positioning and advertising that have
been introduce to public relations.

Responsibility of public relations department

The major responsibility of the public relations department are interpreting
,advertising ,marketing and communicating .To carry these responsibility
effectively ,the public relation director should be fully informed of
everything that goes in the hospital .In other word he should be amender of top
management team and should attend meeting of the government board for this it
is obvious that the director is a person of the highest personal integrity
,stature ,judgment and personal discretion

Public opinions about a hospital are formed first and foremost on the
personal experience of patients and their families ,then on the opinions of the
staff and their families ,persons who have first -hand knowledge and
information about the hospital, visitors, suppliers and only then on information
derived from other source .this primacy of individual as a source of opinions
has a profound influence on the hospital ‘s public relations .It underscores
the importance of a sound internal relations program as the bases for all
external public relations

Advertising, marketing, promotions, public relations, and sales managers
often serve as liaisons between the firm requiring the advertising and an
advertising or promotion agency that develops and places the ads.

The employees are first line of public relations .it is the responsibility
of the management that all the hospital and by their actions and word , they
can make or break the hospital .It is important to understand ,therefore ,that
good public relations hospital public relations hospital begins with the
employee and that it is product of positive employee relations .progressive
personnel policies which lay emphasis and an supervision and an enlightened
result in high morale ,productivity ,internal harmony and motivated ,loyal and
contented employees who take pride their organization.

From another angle it is necessary to ensure that all employees know their
hospital .a well informed employee is the best public representative of the
hospital .Providing a good orientation program and keeping the employees
continuously informed of all aspect of the hospital are the combined
responsibility of the human resource and public relations program.

Functions

To interpret to the management the different view point and attitudes of
various strata of the public which it has identified, and recommend action to
effectively solve the problems arising from attitudinal changes on issue
relating to the hospital.

To study the action and activity of the management and the impact they may
have on the public perception of the hospital, apprise the management of any
harmful effect and recommend suitable action to avoid it

To gather and analysis date on an ongoing basis to improve communications to
between the hospital and the public

To assist the the institution to secure support and guidance from the public
In the development of the hospital and ,to that end .help in conducting market
surveys To develop communication materials such as internal and external
newsletters ,publications audio-visuals ,media releases consisting of material
on hospital services ,health topic and human inters stories to promote the
hospital goal’s and objective ,and direct them to reach specific target
audiences

To establish channel of communication between the hospital’s public and the
management team

To help in rising funds for the support of the hospital

To develop and maintain good relations with the media and communicate with
the press at authorized by the hospital’s CEO, always keeping in mind the sound
principal that public relations practitioners should be open and honest with
press

To organized hospital’s speaker bureau consisting of the CEO. Senior members
of the staff including medical staff ,and governing board member to speak to
civic groups , clubs and organizations in an effort to promote the hospital’s
and

To participate in community affairs that have bearing on the well being of
the hospital be a member of service organizations such as rotary ,lions or
other group and other group and become respected community leaders

Major services of public relations in hospital:-

Getting informed on what is being published in the daily
news and following up what it issued about the hospital news. The department
photocopies and saves this information in special files then is proposed to the
hospital manager. Each specialist is responsible for one newspaper where he
follows up the news and then displays and saves it.

Daily passage on the hospital patients in all floors. It is
responsible for following and resolving all the patients’ problems being faced
during their stay in the hospital. They are also responsible for inquiring
about the VIPs and welcoming them in the hospital.

Reservation for conferences, symposium, debate for thesis
statements (masters, PHD) by filling the form that applies to each of them and
writing the kind of debate or the conference, accompanied with the hospital
manager signature and issuing the purchase order under item of the scientific
activity account.

Methods of Improving Public Relations in Hospitals

High quality of patient care will ensure simultaneously good
public relations. Obviously, a patient will never accept public relations
programmed in lieu of indifferent hospital care. Thus, good patient care is a
sine qua non. No amount of smiles, cheers and propaganda will compensate for
bad administration and poor professional care in a hospital.

A patient comes with certain definite expectations to the
hospital. The reception is normally the first contact point but often he may
have made earlier contact with the hospital by getting into correspondence or
by contacting over the telephone. All courtesies must be extended to him on
these occasions to project a good image of the hospital.

A lot of valuable information can be and should be furnished
to patients even prior to their admission. Certain details with regard to time
and date and the person to whom he should contact with exact place will help in
achieving favorable opinion about the hospital. Equally important is the fact
that the person who is to receive the patient should be available on right time
or else this will lead to just opposite effect, and the patient may go back
home disgruntled.

Most of the hospitals have their own telephone exchanges.
The experience of a telephone call may be the first impression of understandable
importance. Telephone operators should answer calls promptly and politely and
promptly respond to the queries of the caller. This would avoid waste of time
and frustration.

Environmental sanitation, cleanliness and physical comforts
provided to patients create good impression. Well kept lawns, clean
surroundings are reflection of good administration which helps in building
initial confidence.

Reception, Enquiry and Admission Office should be
established as one single unit. The staff posted there should be specially
selected and trained in human relations. They should be courteous, cheerful and
above all efficient in their work. Persons working here should have full
knowledge of the routine procedures of the hospital so that information to the
patients or their relatives is furnished without any delay.

The Outpatient Department is the most sensitive place from
the public relations point of view. Largest number of people visits this
department. According to the estimation for each bed in a hospital there are
500 visitors to a hospital in a year. This would explain the gravity of the
situation. More frictions and misunderstandings arise in this department than
anywhere else. Separate parking space for the staff and the public, adequate
waiting space and seating arrangements and facilities of wheel chairs and
trolleys should be made available. Public toilets, drinking water, cafeteria,
and public telephones are essential in this department. Waiting time of the
patients should be rendered to minimum. Maximum number of doctors should be
available during the peak hours. Help of paramedical and non-medical staff is a
must. Voluntary agencies may be required to help the patients in finding out
various areas of the hospital. This department should be organized in such a
manner that there is free flow of traffic and cross traffic is avoided or
minimized. In addition to the help from staff and volunteers, suitable guidance
aids like supply of information brochure in local community centers and other
sign postings will definitely help in creating a good impression. A responsible
member of the staff should be available to explain the reasons of delay or
listen to public grievances.

Measures should be. taken to avoid queue jumping and
influence of ‘pull’. To avoid public resentment separate counters should be
opened for the hospital, employees.

The Accident and Emergency Department or ‘Casualty’ is
another very sensitive area. People coming here are charged with emotions,
anxiety and sense of’ urgency. This department should be staffed and equipped
for round-the- clock services. It should be supported by an efficient ambulance
service. Prompt medical re lief and sympathetic behavior of the staff is very
important in building good public relations. In one of the studies, it
was” observed that consumers were dissatisfied due to misunderstandings,
rough behavior of lower cadre staff and poor information and guidance system in
this department.

Most patients entering the hospital have many questions and
concerns. Hospitals must strive to answer their questions. A hospital
information booklet provides information that is helpful to patients and their
relatives. Often, patients are admitted in an elective basis and they have time
to plan their admissions. They can take advantage of these booklets in planning
and preparing for their hospital stay. The booklet can be of various types and
the information to be incorporated therein will depend upon many factors. The
hospital administrator should decide, after careful study, as to which information
should be provided through these booklets.

There are certain other aspects which need careful
consideration which are described in brief as under.