Looking for an effective, outside-the-box way to sell your facility's brand? Post videos online of your surgical team in action. A behind-the-scenes look at surgery is an effective way to broaden patient education and showcase the quality of care you provide to a host of potential patients. Let's take a closer look at the many ways you can capitalize on the marketing potential of posting surgical videos online.
- Make an impression. It makes sense and is worth the investment to hire a professional videographer the first time you produce a video for online streaming. But after an initial success, and once your surgeons and nurses get a feel for the process, you might consider producing videos in house using some basic editing software; there are excellent, affordable options out there, including GoPro (gopro.com). In fact, we've begun shooting videos on an iPhone 6 that has remarkable capabilities. We recently shot patients meeting with local civic leaders, edited the video and posted it online. The final product looked fantastic.
- Recruit a surgeon. Work with a surgeon who has an interest in using new technology and finding innovative ways to communicate with patients. He might be a young doc with a heavy social media presence, but don't discount the potential interest of a veteran surgeon who's all about educating the masses.
- Plan ahead. Good footage is critical. You'll need 2 people to do the videoing one to operate the camera and one to keep a creative eye on the procedure and what the camera person needs to focus on whether they're outside freelancers or in-house marketing professionals.
Map out a plan before the shoot. What's your ultimate objective? Who's your audience? What do you want them to learn? What's the take-home message? Outline or storyboard the procedure, so whoever serves as creative director keeps the intended flow in mind and the camera person focusing on what matters most during the surgery. The planned narrative will be done from a marketing perspective, but see if the surgeon and surgical administrator have vital or helpful information they want included.
Inform the surgeon and surgical team well in advance of the procedure (about a month is sufficient). Get permission from the surgeon, staff and the patient. Everyone who will be in the OR must sign a waiver, granting you permission to use their images in the video. Meet with the patient before the day of surgery to inform him of your plans to shoot the procedure. Assure them that the camera will focus only on the surgical team and the surgical site, and that you won't make them personally identifiable.
- Preview the room. Before hitting the record button, look over the OR through the eyes of an accreditation surveyor. Has everyone removed their jewelry? Do they have their hair covered? Posting videos showing breaches of proper protocol will trip you up with accrediting bodies, Medicare and even patients, who are becoming more aware of what shouldn't be done in the OR.
Potential patients are seeking information about what's going on inside your ORs in order to learn about what they might experience when undergoing surgery. They want more involvement in their care and are proactive in searching out whom they want to perform their operations.
Posting surgical videos online is a great way to connect with today's savvy patients. It also provides them with a certain level of comfort. Seeing what happens on the day of surgery helps their mental preparedness. You take for granted that most minimally invasive procedures are bloodless, efficient cases, but most patients are amazed when they find that out. Watching what goes on in the OR eliminates their fears of the unknown.
We shoot procedures, edit the raw video and stream the final product as the operating surgeon conducts an online chat to answer questions from viewers. The videos satisfy the rising level of curiosity among patients, and we're impressed with the quality of questions they ask.
Our online videos have been very well received throughout the community, and far more popular than we imagined. Surgeons say posting videos online has been a tremendous help to their patients as they prepare for surgery. It helps surgeons out, too, because many of the patients' questions are answered after they watch the streamed procedures.
We promoted the recent online posting of a robotic prostatectomy through the operating surgeon's office, linked to the video from our health system's homepage and posted the video on our active YouTube channel (tinyurl.com/maglzye). The 10-minute video has been watched more than 6,400 times, much more than the intended reach of our marketing efforts. That means patients and other healthcare providers found it organically, which is one of the main benefits of posting procedures online. You never know who's going to watch, and how far the brand perception of your team as high-quality, transparent providers whom patients can trust with their surgical care will reach.