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Patients “Like” Social Media
Nancy K. Sayre
A long-term care facility (50 beds) in the Midwestern U.S. has just been acquired by a larger
acute care hospital/health care system in the nearby city because they want to offer services
across the continuum of care. Last year, they also acquired a provider of hospice services (25
beds). The hospital has relied mainly on television advertising and a strong web presence
(landing pages, banner ads), whereas the two smaller organizations used word-of-mouth,
physician referrals, networking, and print materials to recruit new patients.
Marketers know that social media is changing the way consumers and health organizations
interact. The strategic plan indicates that priorities for the new combined health system include
enhancing patient safety and the patient experience, expanding into the growing senior market,
competing on outcomes, minimizing the total cost of care, expanding geographic reach,
extending partnerships with employers, and maintaining or improving the margin of 5.28%. As
the newly appointed director of marketing for this combined new health system, you believe
there are multiple points of discussion for your team regarding a marketing strategy using social
Prepare a written report of the case using the following format.
What is going on in this case as it relates to the identified major problem? What are (only) the key points
the reader needs to know in order to understand how you will “solve” the case? Summarize the scenario
in your own words—do not simply regurgitate the case. Briefly describe the organization, setting,
situation, who is involved, who decides what, and so on.
Major Problems and Secondary Issues
Specifically identify the major and secondary problems. What are the real issues? What are the
differences? Can secondary issues become major problems? Present analysis of the causes and effects.
Fully explain your reasoning.
In a sentence or short paragraph, as the newly appointed director of marketing, describe your role and the
approach to the problems and issues that someone in your role would take to address them? What are the
advantages and disadvantages of your selected role? Be specific.
Organizational Strengths and Weaknesses
Identify the strengths and weaknesses that exist in relation to the major problem. Again, your focus here
should be in describing what the organization is capable of doing (and not capable of doing) with respect
to addressing the major problem. Thus, the identified strengths and weaknesses should include those at
the managerial level of the problem. For example, if you have chosen to address the problem from the
departmental perspective and the department is understaffed, that is a weakness worthy of mentioning. Be
sure to remember to include any strengths/weaknesses that may be related to diversity issues.
Alternatives and/or Recommended Solutions
Describe the two to three alternative solutions you came up with. What feasible strategies would you
recommend? What are the pros and cons? State what should be done—why, how, and by whom. Be
How will you know when you’ve gotten there? There must be measurable goals put in place with the
recommendations. Money is easiest to measure; what else can be measured? What evaluation plan would
you put in place to assess whether you are reaching your goals?
TIP: Write this section as if you were trying to “sell” your proposed solution to the organization.
Convince the reader that your proposed solution is the best available and that it will work as planned.
Make sure the goals you identify are worth the effort required to achieve them!