Case Study: Five Star Quality Care

Challenge

Based in Newton, MA, Five Star Quality Care is a national healthcare and senior living services provider. Under its Rehabilitation Services banner (one of three major operating divisions), Five Star operates New England Rehabilitation Hospital (NERH) in Woburn, MA and Braintree Rehabilitation Hospital (BRH) in Braintree, MA. While both facilities are among the premier rehabilitation hospitals in the state, both suffered from a lack of recognition, not only about the advanced technology that the hospitals employ but the positive patient outcomes they generate on a daily basis.

Given the competition from various high-profile facilities in the Boston area, hospital officials realized that proactive marketing steps needed to be taken – quickly.

Approach

Bulldog Communications created a comprehensive public relations campaign whose overarching goal was to convince the general public – and potential patients in particular - that these two facilities offer the greatest chances for recovery from a variety of conditions and diagnoses. To that end, Bulldog used a variety of tactics – press releases, patient success stories, and expert opinion articles, to name a few – to highlight the high level of rehabilitative care these facilities offer. The patient success stories were especially powerful in providing tangible evidence of each hospital’s capabilities, since the stories were told by the patients themselves.

Results

The campaign was targeted to both the consumer and trade media. Through the consumer media, potential patients, as well as their families, were made aware of the two hospitals and their programs. The healthcare publications were integral in reaching physicians and caseworkers who can recommend the two facilities to their primary care patients.

Since the beginning of the PR campaign, hundreds of hits have appeared in a wide variety of media, including Boston-area television stations and newspapers, local community publications, and nationally recognized healthcare journals. A few of these include:

  • An article in the August 13, 2009 edition of the Boston Herald, entitled “Prof studies stroke victims' struggle.” The article prominently features quotes from a physician at NERH who is helping to create a program to address the real-life needs of people with neurological disorders.
  • An article in the August 6, 2009 issue of Hospital Newspaper, one the premier healthcare trade publications, on the use of Interactive Metronome therapy at BRH to treat a wide range of pediatric diagnoses.
  • A segment on WCVB (Boston’s ABC affiliate) on drunk driving and traumatic brain injury, quoting patients and physicians from NERH.

These placements have been instrumental in lowering the bed vacancies for each hospital’s inpatient business, while increasing patient referrals to the outpatient side.

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