Dignity Health Campaign Aims to Bring Kindness Back to Healthcare

Following the July 6 crash landing of Asiana Flight 214 in San Francisco, a nurse at Saint Francis Memorial Hospital offered to bring one of the survivors who she treated to her own home instead of a hotel until she could return to Korea. This offer allowed the teenage girl to be with someone she trusted in an otherwise strange and perhaps scary environment.

Mark KleinThis simple act of kindness is the kind of story that San Francisco-based Dignity Health seeks to highlight in its campaign, Hello humankindness, which it launched in mid-July. The campaign is not just an advertising platform, but an attempt to start a movement in healthcare and beyond to bring the focus back to the patient, according to Mark Klein, senior vice president of corporate communications, public affairs and marketing at Dignity Health. Hello humankindness has its own website and will use other various media channels, such as print, television and social media, to spread its message of the importance of kindness in making a difference in people's lives.

"We would like to elevate and celebrate moments — perhaps sometimes unexpected moments — where we see human connection at its best. We would like the advertising itself to enable and cause people to act with more humanity and kindness," Mr. Klein says.

Emphasizing the "care" in "healthcare"
The Hello humankindness initiative was born out of a 2012 survey of employees, physicians and patients that had three primary goals, according to Mr. Klein:

1. Identify opportunities to enhance patient experience.
2. Gain insight into a successful brand position for the organization.
3. Identify people's priorities relative to healthcare delivery system changes.

"It revealed a desire by patients to be treated as people rather than patients," Mr. Klein says. Spotlighting personal connections and people's humanity can fulfill this desire and enhance patients' experience.

Initially, examples of acts of kindness will come from Dignity Health employees, but the goal is to solicit examples from people across the country and in different industries. For example, Dignity Health may put "get well" cards in a bus shelter that people can fill out and send to patients in hospitals. Another potential project is spelling out "Hello humankindness" on the wall of an airport with prepaid postcards that people can take and send to a friend.

Living the mission
The "Hello humankindness" campaign is also a way for Dignity Health to live out its mission, part of which is "Delivering compassionate, high-quality, affordable health services." The campaign also strengthens the meaning of its name, Dignity Health, which it changed from Catholic Healthcare West in January 2012. "It's intended to infuse that new name with meaning," Mr. Klein says. "This is a way of bringing to life our mission and values in a way that is contemporary and relevant to consumers."

Shifting the focus of healthcare reform
The campaign also aims to shift the nation's debate on healthcare reform from a financial to a patient emphasis. "That debate all too often focuses on the business [of healthcare], not on healing," Mr. Klein says. "We invite our peers and national leaders to look at the redesign of the healthcare delivery system from the point of view of the patient and to return humanity to the healthcare industry."

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