Sky Lakes Medical Center

Today's healthcare professionals have many communications tools at their fingertips. You can release information on websites, you can promote programs in printed newsletters and you can discuss successes via Twitter tweets or Facebook posts.

Sometimes, these communication channels become communication silos. Each method shares something different. Each looks a little different. Each sounds a little different.

That wasn't good enough for Tom Hottman, Public Information Officer at Sky Lakes Medical Center. In fact, when he first started his relationship with the team at Coffey, he put integration of print and digital at the center of his agenda. And he's seen remarkable results.

Starting with a print foundation

For Hottman, communicating in print is incredibly valuable.

"For the longest time, we had a fairly small wired audience. Segments of our population were not connected to the internet, or they were not internet fluent," Hottman says. “We relied on print to reach these readers, because they couldn't interact with us online."

"That's changing now, as we're seeing more people get connected. But roughly two-thirds of the community we serve are Medicare patients. They might not have a smartphone, or they might not use a smartphone to look up information. Delivering something in print is vital to them," Hottman says. "And, of course, there are some of us who enjoy paper between thumb and forefinger."

The Sky Lakes print publication, Live Smart, is delivered to the community on a quarterly basis. It's filled with news about the organization, as well as articles designed to help readers live longer, healthier lives. And conversations that begin in print are continued online.

Building on interactions online

Links within the print publication take readers to collections of related articles, pulled from Coffey's digital health library. The links are shortened, so they're easy for readers to type into their web browsers.

The idea behind these collections is to help deepen the knowledge readers might have about a key health topic.

"As an organization, we're focused on prevention. The more opportunities I have to help readers access good, solid information, the more it will pay off in the long run," Hottman says. "My readers will be healthier."

People who come to the website via other methods can be introduced to the print publication. It's prominently placed on the home page of the website. Readers can flip through the pages of the issue online, or they can download the issue and read it later.

Keeping the connection strong

The website and the publication have a similar look and feel. And the messaging remains consistent between these two channels. Hottman uses the same tone and look on his social channels too.

"Visual continuity and message integrity are vital. I want to make sure that readers don't experience a shift, in either tone or messaging, when they're moving from one medium to another," Hottman says. "Delivering the same visual and messaging experience helps to strengthen my brand in the community."

Since the Sky Lakes website and publication are both produced by Coffey Communications, keeping that consistency is easy. Hottman doesn't have to worry about keeping two disparate teams connected. Since all the work flows through Coffey, the consistency comes naturally.

Measuring success

Hottman says he doesn't rely solely on traditional metrics to determine the impact of his publication on his community. Anecdotal evidence, including comments he hears from his community while he's waiting in line at the grocery store, help him to take his community's temperature.

But he does have impressive Google Analytics data he can point to, should key stakeholders want hard figures.

For example, in the spring issue of Live Smart, readers were directed to a custom URL that contained a collection of recipes. In the 2 months since the issue hit the mail stream, this collection of recipes has been viewed 51 times.

Similarly, the number of people who come to the skylakes.org website through direct channels (e.g., someone types in a specific address, rather than performing a search) is high. The data below represents traffic between Jan. 31 and July 31 of this year.

This seems to suggest that the links in the publication are enticing readers to hop online to find out more, just as Hottman planned.

A great experience

The Sky Lakes team has a relatively new relationship with the Coffey team. At the time of this writing, we've completed two issues of the publication, and the website launched just a few months back. That means the launch is fresh in Hottman's mind, and he has nothing but kind words to say.

"I don’t feel like I am 'just a client' to Coffey. I feel like I am working with a group who has the same goals," Hottman says. "I have total comfort in the Coffey team."

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