Strategic comms supercharges nutritional awareness effort

Abbott launched an ongoing campaign last year to raise awareness of the importance of nutrition therapy for hospitalized patients.

Client: Abbott (Lake Forest, IL)
Agency: CooperKatz & Company (New York, NY)
Campaign: Alliance to Advance Patient Nutrition Launch
Duration: May 2013-January 2014
Budget: $175,000-$225,000

Abbott launched an ongoing campaign last year to raise awareness of the importance of nutrition therapy for hospitalized patients.

The company cofounded the Alliance to Advance Patient Nutrition with four healthcare organizations and targeted multiple healthcare professionals in the first phase, which ran through January 2014. CooperKatz & Company was hired as AOR for the campaign.

"One in three patients enter the hospital malnourished," explains Michelle Zendah, Abbott’s senior public affairs manager. "We saw an opportunity to drive awareness around the issue and educate healthcare pros on the benefit of nutrition intervention on patient outcomes. The alliance was formed because we knew it would take an interdisciplinary approach to have the right impact on patient care." 

Strategy
The alliance includes Abbott, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses, the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition, and the Society of Hospital Medicine. 

It was branded and positioned as an authority on patient nutrition and an example of collaboration among relevant clinicians. Five clinicians – one from each alliance organization – served as spokespeople.

Malnutrition.com, the alliance’s website, targeted media outreach, and direct engagement with healthcare professionals drove messaging. 

"It took multiple communications channels to reach key clinician groups and decision makers," says Rachael Adler, VP and director of client services at CooperKatz. "The website was the hub of all activity." 

Tactics
The alliance and website launch was announced to leading healthcare industry media on May 13. The site includes fact sheets, research, case studies, videos, a hospital nutrition toolkit, and more.

The following weekend, the alliance was unveiled at the Society for Hospital Medicine’s annual conference in Washington, DC. Two representatives from each organization supported an exhibit booth and engaged with healthcare pros.

Alliance members also conducted presentations and moderated panels at the May conference and at three additional industry events. A joint consensus paper outlining the alliance’s Nutrition Care Model, which includes specific recommendations for each healthcare professional’s category, was published in three peer-reviewed medical journals. It was also pitched to healthcare trade publications.

Newsletters targeted at each clinician group were distributed regularly via email and posted to the alliance organizations’ social media channels.

Each month, the team provided alliance organizations with social media content, drafted to appeal to their specific audience that focused on individual themes, such as clinical collaboration and the nutrition toolkit.

Results
Malnutrition.com had more than 131,000 page views as of late March. About 1,054 clinicians registered on the site. Zendah says traffic, average time spent on the site (about three minutes), and registrations were all higher than similar healthcare pro-focused sites.

The campaign garnered placements in outlets such as FierceHealthcare, Fox News, and HealthLeaders.

Adler notes that 100% of coverage included messaging about the impact of malnutrition, the benefits of nutrition, and the need for interdisciplinary clinical collaboration.

Future
The campaign is expected to continue for three to five years.

PRWeek's View
Forming the alliance was strategically smart. Patient outcomes certainly cannot be impacted without awareness of the malnutrition issue among relevant healthcare pros and their commitment to do something about it. The website is a fantastic resource and all outreach efforts worked in driving traffic. Information was well targeted to each clinician group, and it was wise to take the time to draft social media content specifically for each alliance member’s audience. Overall, this team built a very solid foundation for driving action in hospitals in the coming years.

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