The increasing migration of Romanian doctors and patients to clinics abroad shook the public image of Romanian hospitals. Moreover, although private medical facilities are more trusted in comparison to their public counterparts[1], few patients choose the private healthcare system when confronting more serious illnesses, largely because a preconception according to which only minor procedures can be done in privately-owned facilities.

In this context, the Euroclinic Hospital, part of the Regina Maria private healthcare network, has decided to initiate a campaign telling Romanians about the complex medical procedures done by Romanian doctors in Romania, and give the public reasons to trust more our physicians and hospitals. Thus the campaign “Romanian patient, I am treated in Romania” was born, through which the Euroclinic Hospital aimed to position itself as a local alternative to foreign clinics, speaking credibly and openly about cutting edge healthcare done from the heart, here in Romania.

Our strategy relied on transparency and authenticity, placing physicians at the forefront of communication and highlighting what they do best: complex procedures that save lives. Thus the first pro bono surgical program of a private hospital in Romania was born, representing the essence of the “Romanian patient, I am treated in Romania” campaign.

For the launch of the campaign we decided to go behind the doors of the hospital and of the operating room, and show the journalists in the most direct way the first operation of the pro bono program, an extremely difficult brain surgery. Guided by the medical team who performed the operation, the journalists were able to go through all the steps of the surgery and the patient’s emotional route. We have put together all details of the operation in a moving video story that allowed the public at large the opportunity to be present in the backstage of a complex surgery procedure.

In the second stage, our campaign has extended into social media, where we presented the story of the patient, details on the surgery, the surgeon and the medical equipment used; the story was very warmly received by users. Furthermore, the campaign was supported by two bloggers highly relevant to the theme of our campaign (Dan Santimbreanu and Simona Tache), both of them having previously gone through complex medical experiences, successfully carried through by the doctors at the Euroclinic Hospital. The two have written about the professionalism and modesty of the surgeon who performed the operation, and especially about his desire to do good and save lives right here in Romania.

Campaign Results

After only two months (June-July 2013), the campaign had generated 14 TV news reports and dedicated segments, totaling over 45 minutes on the most important TV channels. Over 50 press materials (in print and online, in mainstream and specialized media) have amply reported, on a praising tone, on the Regina Maria initiative. There were over 400 positive comments to the initial posting of the film on the Regina Maria Facebook page, and the article penned by Simona Tache generated over 10,000 likes, shares and comments, and over 41,000 views, ending as one of the most read articles in the history of her blog.

Through a transparent approach that put physicians on the front line of communication and allowed the audience to step behind the scene, we managed, in a very short time and with limited financial resources, to make known the mission of Euroclinic Hospital and position it as a viable local alternative to hospitals abroad. The pro bono program continues, offering Romanian patients the chance to benefit from complex medical procedures.

[1] 48.3% of Romanians feel safer in private healthcare facilities in Romania and only 12.4% feel safer in public hospitals, according to the “Good Health is above Wealth” research study conducted by Rogalski Damaschin on the iVox platform, on a representative sample of 8,246 respondents.