Choosing and Involving Partners in Promoting a Quality Report
In an increasing number of States and communities, reporting projects are being carried out through collaborative efforts across multiple organizations that reflect the diversity of stakeholders in health care.
- If your reporting project is collaborative, be sure to recruit at least some organizations that are in a good position to support your promotional efforts.
- If you are not conducting the reporting project with partners, you may still want to engage other organizations in promoting your report to their constituencies.
Learn about how partners can help with outreach in Using Classic Outreach Strategies to Add the Personal Touch.
For the purposes of enhancing your promotional efforts, possible partners include:
- Disease-specific patient organizations, many of which are State or local affiliates of national groups.
- Organizations, often community-based, that advocate for the needs of all patients; for specific groups defined by age, gender, ethnicity, or other characteristics; or for a specific issue in health care such as covering the uninsured, preventive care, or patient safety.
- Faith-based organizations.
- Colleges and universities.
- Health care purchasers, including private and public employers as well as employer coalitions.
- State and local agencies with responsibility for health and health care issues.
- Health plans.
- Associations of providers.
- Individual providers.
Keep in mind that “providers” can include not only doctors and hospitals but also nurses; pharmacists; physical, occupational, and speech therapists; social workers; psychologists; and other people and organizations in the health care field.
Criteria for Selecting Partners
Consider these criteria to help select partners who will contribute the most to your effort:
- What is the constituency of each organization? The constituency could be members, those they serve, their employees, etc.
- What is the overlap between this constituency and your chosen audience?
- What is the mission of the organization? What is the overlap between their mission and yours? Is there potential for conflict in mission or objectives?
- By whom is each organization trusted? With respect to what issues? Who might mistrust each organization? Is it possible for you to neutralize that mistrust?
- Besides access to the organization’s constituency, what skills and resources does it bring to your promotional effort? Look for groups with people who have expertise in:
- General marketing.
- Social marketing.
- Media relations.
- In-person outreach.
- Communication in general.
- Is the organization willing to share its skills and resources with you? Under what conditions? Will it support a robust promotion effort?
- What can you offer that will make the organization more willing and able to develop a sustained and sustainable partnership with your reporting efforts? Partnerships are two-way streets.
Exercise care in selecting partners at the outset, and look out for emerging organizations that might bring something new and different to the table. As your reporting efforts mature and address more audiences, more health care entities, or more specific health care problems, you may need to revisit your partnership decisions.
Timing of a Partnership
It is best to engage partners early on. Most groups—especially those whose constituencies are people who are less advantaged or have minimal clout—don’t want to be brought into a project after all the important decisions are made. You need to bring them in as early as possible both to build their ownership of the project and to benefit from their unique knowledge and connections. Many partners, especially those that are consumer- or patient-oriented, will know the target audience better than you do.