( By Vivek Shukla )

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Promoting Intensive Care

Intensive care is coming up in a big way in India. All big towns today have a few ICUs which promise comprehensive critical care. Like most of the fields in healthcare services, Intensive Care comes with heavy investment and requires specialised manpower.

Having ensured both, investment and manpower, the next logical step is to promote the set up. Here are a few guidelines which will prove to be very useful if you are looking to promote your ICU.

  1. Get into the game if there is a demand for it. Don?t set up an ICU if there is no demand. This is a high investment game and returns may not be instant. So look before you leap.

  2. Look at specific areas in critical care that are in demand. If some areas are already being taken care of by other players, do not get into them. Remember, marketing strategy is all about finding a vacuum and filling it up. Don?t try to fill up a space which is already full.

  3. Always have an easy to remember number as an emergency hotline. People in distress could call up that number. Your job is to make that number very popular. In fact you could make the synonymous with any kind of emergency. Something like 911 in the USA. The person answering this number must be properly trained and must have the intellect and personality to deal with distress calls. Needless to say, this must be a 24 hour number and should only be used for answering distress calls.

  4. The set up must have an ambulance for shifting patients. Ideally, I would suggest that the ambulance should be free for shifting in patients within the city. The emergency number must be displayed on all four sides of the ambulance.

  5. A trained person can make calls to all your previous indoor patients [if you already have other departments] and introduce the new emergency number. This person should make sure that the people are writing down the digits and not merely remembering them.

  6. The hospital can also organise camps in the surrounding areas and educate people on first-aid, road safety, etc. This will boost up the image of the hospital and people will have an instant brand recall for the hospital.

  7. Smaller medical establishments in the area also have to be informed about the services, facilities and ambulance. You could even extend an invitation to the doctors in these establishments to come and visit your set up.

  8. The emergency number could also be displayed prominently at various ?visible? locations in the city by means of hoardings and banners.

  9. Another way of getting across to these doctors could be through writing them a letter. You have to do this carefully and not solicit referrals or offer any ?incentives? to these people as that will not be legal and ethical. However, you can always inform them of the new facilities at your hospital and how these facilities are instrumental in saving human lives.

These guidelines can be of great help if executed properly. I am saying this from experience as I have been working to promote an ICU set up for a month or so. Intensive Care is definitely setting in and human lives are more valued than ever before. So if you are planning to contribute towards saving them, my two words of advise are ?go ahead.?

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