By Bryan Boyhan
Among the steps the folks at Southampton Hospital have taken to reach out to the public is a series of virtual tours prospective patients can view before they visit the hospital. The tours highlight areas the institution has upgraded in recent years.
“These help people find out what the hospital offers,” said director of marketing and public affairs, Marsha Kenny. “We’re finding new ways to put information out there.”
The new video tours went up on the hospital’s website just this past summer; and the newly-designed website itself was just re-launched this past April.
“People appreciate being able to see what we have to offer,” said Kenny.
In the past year or so, the hospital has made great strides in expanding services, said Kenny, and four departments in particular have been highlighted with the video tours.
The Ed and Phyllis Davis Wellness Institute, which was introduced just last year, features a range of exercise programs and facilities that resemble a health club.
In the tour, the camera takes a viewer past the receptionist’s desk and through the halls of the center, and watches as patients exercise on treadmills and weight machines. A voice over explains that a hospital medical team can help “guide you through a difficult time” after suffering, for example, a heart attack or recovering from surgery.
Images show trainers and physical therapists working with patients in a variety of situations. It’s a soothing environment, says the announcer, designed by a Feng Shui consultant, as the camera pans across pastel-colored walls and a bowl of pears.
The opening image of the tour of the Jenny and John Paulson Emergency Department pans across the new entrance then takes you through the emergency center’s front doors to a waiting room with wood floors and a decidedly warm feeling. It is a room that, for many people, is their first impression of Southampton Hospital, and the tour — like all four of the videos — works to help prospective visitors understand that the hospital has gone to great lengths to make them feel comfortable. These are concepts that are not always easy to express in the written word or in conversation.
“As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words,” said Kenny. “We believe it helps to put people’s minds at ease. Those who have never been here are not sure what they’ll expect when they come here.”
The other video’s available include virtual tours of The Ellen Hermanson Breast Center and the Kathleen D. Allen Maternity Center.
The original concept to create the tours emerged in February through a conversation Kenny had with radio personality Connie Conway, whose husband is a videogapher.
“We chose Connie because of her experience as a newscaster,” said Kenny, who helped write the dialogue for the videos. It is Conway’s voice viewers hear on the tours.
Conway was also helpful in crafting the message the hospital wanted to get out, said Kenny, who felt it was important to have a perspective from somebody not directly associated with the hospital.
“She knew what she and her friends would want to know,” said Kenny.
The videos also do not use professional actors.
“In our marketing we use our own staff, they’re all familiar in the community,” she said. “It is part of our branding.”
“And they didn’t complain,” Kenny laughed.