Health system chief marketing officers tasked with communicating a stance on social issues

Patients' expectations of brands and organizations are shifting as they now look to health systems to take a stand on high-profile political and social issues. As a result hospital chief marketing officers are being tasked with developing their organization's response. 

According to Paul Matsen, chief marketing and communications officer of Cleveland Clinic, this area has evolved dramatically for marketing and communications officers over time. 

"Organizations, whether that be for-profit businesses or nonprofit health systems, are looked to for responses on complex issues. And I would say that was something that wasn't necessarily a focus for chief marketing officers or organizations years ago," Mr. Matsen said. 

Expectations for brands and organizations are changing and traditional approaches to getting patients in the door now require health systems to address issues such as reproductive rights, social justice and gun violence, he said. 

This is a task some health systems are assigning to their chief marketing officers. 

"People look to organizations like Cleveland Clinic to provide leadership to respond to those issues. We obviously take those issues very seriously and we have to communicate to our own internal caregivers, so they understand where we stand, but also to our communities as well," Mr. Matsen said.  

This area is evolving and changing the role marketing and communications officers play at their health systems. 

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