Hospital video series rounds up the news in 90 seconds

‘News in 90’ keeps Huntsville Hospital Health System employees up to date about what’s happening across the organization.


Ninety seconds isn’t a lot of time, but it’s just enough for Alabama’s Huntsville Hospital Health System to spread the word about what’s going on across its three campuses.

“News in 90” is a monthly video series spotlighting changes and events affecting staff members, patients and the community.

Take a look at the February 2018 edition:

Starting with an aerial view of Huntsville’s main campus, the video quickly moves on to a series of short, snappy stories about the goings-on around the system, including:

  • A look at the hospital’s family advisory councils, whose members make suggestions on improving quality, safety and service
  • A peek at young patients playing on new Go-Kart gaming consoles in the hospitals
  • How a teaching expert is helping nurses prepare for the NCLEX exam
  • Even news about a new Starbucks coffee stand in one of the hospitals—”Who’s up for a latté?”

The video series provides an engaging vehicle to inform employees about new services, upcoming initiatives and special employee interest stories that highlight the patient-centered culture, says Susan Esslinger, marketing director at Huntsville Hospital Health System.

“We know our employees’ time is valuable,” she says, “and ‘News in 90’ allows them to get caught up on the monthly highlights from our Madison County campuses in just a minute and a half.”

Now in its second year, each episode of “News in 90” is emailed to 8,000 employees and physicians and is posted on the Huntsville Hospital YouTube channel, the Huntsville intranet, Facebook and the hospital’s website. Past episodes are archived on the hospital’s intranet for on-demand viewing.

Putting it all together

Three people handle the production. Two write and edit copy, and the third shoots the video like a photojournalist and then adds a recorded audio script. The entire process takes about two weeks: scheduling and shooting, writing the script and having it read by a professional narrator.

The team keeps a running list of story ideas and finds new topics by attending various hospital meetings, as well listening to leaders’ and employees’ suggestions.

“For each episode of ‘News in 90,'” Esslinger says, “our goal is to find six or seven news items from our campuses that haven’t been broadly communicated. Our commitment is to always tell the news first to our internal audience.”

Busy employees and physicians may not always have time to read news about the hospital, but they can find 90 seconds to watch the monthly videos.

Many of the video segments are written up in more detail in the hospital’s monthly digital employee newsletter, The Scope. This combination gives employees and medical staff two additional ways to learn about happenings at the three hospitals.

Spreading the news around

Before launching the series, Esslinger’s team conducted an employee focus group to test the idea and gather feedback on editorial content. They initially embedded “News in 90” in the system’s digital employee newsletter. As its popularity grew, they started sending “News in 90” as a stand-alone email to all employees.

The software used is specifically for communication campaigns, and it provides analytics for open rates, click rates, “likes” and comments. The best click rate has been 40 percent of employees.

The internal response has been positive. Esslinger says top-tier executives are pleased with the quality of the production. It’s now a standing item at board meetings for both the hospital and the hospital foundation, as well as at monthly department head meetings. Plus, “Employees love ‘News in 90’ and enjoy appearing in the videos.”

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