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As we settle into a new year, Americans are preparing for the inauguration of new president and, in turn, a new series of legislation. When political change arises, the nation is altered in its entirety – from shifts in policy to infrastructure. One of the key areas affected by political change is healthcare, and this can provide an opportunity for hospitals, clinics and other medical centers to become industry leaders.

In January 2017, the House of Representatives took significant steps to repeal The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare. Promoting medical insurance coverage, updated technology in medical centers, among other factors, the Affordable Care Act caused significant controversy among political parties. With President-Elect Donald J. Trump pushing for the dismantling of the Affordable Care Act, among other major healthcare policies, the world of healthcare stands to see some major change this year.

There are a few primary ways that healthcare brands can take on a leadership position during periods of uncertainty. Efficient and frequent communication both internally among employees and externally toward other companies and news outlets will ensure brand identity and messaging is streamlined. To maintain quick and effective communication, certain changes to protocol may need to be implemented. For example, upping the frequency of internal meetings or creating a standing meeting with decision makers is an important operational addition designed to improve cohesiveness. During periods of legislative reshuffling, anything can happen. Being prepared with established protocol will make responding to these changes in a thoughtful and productive way all the easier.

Staying the course is also a sign of steadfast commitment to your brand. Rat her than shying away from marketing, continue to drive service line campaigns. Supporting service lines with innovative advertising is a show of confidence and will instill the same sentiment in patients, partners and employees. As a healthcare brand, prospective patients will look to you as a source of information regarding changes in policy. Offer solution-based options for points of concern. If a customer is worried about changes to his or her insurance, approach the question from a place of understanding and become a resource.

Every brand should put reputation management at the forefront of its marketing strategy, especially those brands directly affected by legislative change. Closely monitoring online platforms like social media and directly responding to questions, comments and concerns will drive productive conversations with current and prospective partners and patients. If your medical center has a page on Yelp or another review-based website, be sure to consistently check for and respond to reviews. With a prompt and constructive answer, seemingly negative comments can offer an opportunity to proliferate helpful information.

While this may seem like an uncertain time for those in the medical profession, politics often present new branding possibilities. In the world of healthcare, maintaining a strong brand through reputation and operational management is crucial to success. Maintaining a confident position during times of unpredictability will make a positive impact, not only on your brand, but on the industry as a whole.

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