I’m at the Wisconsin Healthcare Public Relations and Marketing Society annual meeting in Green Lake, Wisc. I’m listening to Gerard Braud deliver a session in the Media Relations track called “Profit form Communications.”

He started out with a list of things communications professionals can and should bring to the table, if they want the proverbial “seat at the table.”

    Media Training – When doctors say everything they know in an interview, you never know what message will come through in the story. That’s why it’s important to do media training so the key messages get through to the audience.

    Crisis Communications Plan – Gerard showed some really bad examples of crisis communications plans with no calling trees and no detail. He also said that when hospitals do disaster drills they should rent a mob of reporters to show up at the ER and also have people posing as family members of accident victims calling to jam the switchboard, because in a real disaster those things would happen. PR professionals should have the crisis plan with an exact “what to do, step by step” in a three-ring binder.

    Presentation Training – You never know who might be in a presentation and blogging about it (including me!) Doctors who go to medical meetings should be aware of this, and communications professionals should take the lead in getting them prepared.

    Ambassador Training – Techniques and tools to change the direction of an awkward conversation.

He showed a great piece he had edited of Mayor Ray Nagin and his “chocolate” remarks on Martin Luther King Day, as an example of his principle: “If you could attach a dollar to every word that comes out of your mouth, would you make money, or would you lose money?” Ray Nagin lost money for New Orleans.

Gerard gave a strong presentation. I’ve been a co-presenter with him at previous conferences, but never had attended one of his sessions because of conflicts. I’m glad I got to hear him. You can contact him at gerard@braudcommunications.com, or through his blog.

More on WHPRMS, our experience getting to Heidel House Resort and our lack of phone access in a later post.

Testing a Medical Edge podcast on YouTube

One concern I have about YouTube is whether the quality of the movies remains good when they are converted into Flash files. To test it I used a Mayo Clinic Medical Edge video podcast file, so I can see what the quality of YouTube is like, knowing that the starting file was of high quality. Let’s take a look:


What do you think?

No Mega Children’s Hospital in Twin Cities

The Star Tribune (registration required) reports today that the merger of Twin Cities children’s hospitals announced with much fanfare in May has been scuttled.

Some in the health care industry thought that finally, after 10 years of off-and-on merger talks, the metro area would have one world-class pediatric hospital instead of two competing institutions each with its own medical specialists and high-tech equipment.

But after four months of intensive negotiations, the latest effort to merge Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota with the University of Minnesota Children’s Hospital came to an unsuccessful end Friday.

“We just couldn’t make it work,” said Dr. Frank Cerra, senior vice president for health sciences at the University of Minnesota. “We worked to take all of the pieces and pull them together in a way that makes financial sense, but found it was just not possible.”

The merger talks seem to be off permanently this time, as one executive was quoted as saying, “I don’t anticipate that this is going to reemerge.”