Healthcare Quarterly

Healthcare Quarterly 2(3) March 1999 : 36-37.doi:10.12927/hcq..16792
Ideas at Work

Community Relations: Two Perspectives

Linda Bartz


Merck and Company is consistently cited as one of the "most admired corporations" or one of the "best employers" or one of the "best managed companies." And so the article that follows merits reading. To put Merck's philosophy into context I'll share our views and the community relations work ongoing at Vancouver Hospital and Health Sciences Centre (VHHSC).

Today all hospitals are especially challenged daily to deliver on their mission. More and more, this goes beyond "excellent patient care" and includes treatment of injury and disease; the immediate and ongoing care and rehabilitation of patients; the education of health professionals, patients and the community; and research. All of these activities involve the large community of communities that hospitals serve. And so we depend heavily on them. An effective working strategy can pay generous and meaningful dividends for a hospital in the same way it serves a private corporation. It can help meet very specific objectives and develop a baseline of trust with stakeholders. With the introduction of report cards and balanced score cards, we will soon be able to measure our success, and so it is useful to learn from companies such as Merck who have very clear objectives and results to measure.

Hospitals - especially large hospitals - look at community relations from two viewpoints. They can proactively build relations with their communities, and they have the luxury of responding to companies such as Merck, 3M and others that want to integrate hospitals with their corporate plans for community relations.



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