Memorial Hermann Health System: Hurricane Harvey Urgent Care Digital Marketing Campaign


Campaign Summary

When Hurricane Harvey hit the Houston area, acute care and hospital facilities were open. But many people with non-urgent injuries delayed seeking help because streets were impassable and much of the city was without power. Once the storm passed, Memorial Hermann let Texans know that Urgent Care facilities were open and available through online appointment. Email, paid social media, and an up-to-date home page let area residents know which centers were accessible.


Objective and Context:

Once Hurricane Harvey passed and the water began to recede, Memorial Hermann’s digital marketing team was given responsibility for informing patients that Urgent Care clinics were open and operational. The team used online channels to spread the message.

The goal of the campaign was to increase online appointment check-ins for the open Urgent Care facilities throughout the Greater Houston area. There were two challenges:

  1. Clinics remained closed because of power loss or inaccessibility due to high water.
  2. Marketers had to be in constant communication with the operations teams to ensure that the availability of appointments at different centers was accurately reflected online.

Target Audience:

Memorial Hermann targeted people living in the greater Houston area, specifically areas where Urgent Care centers were open and able to accept patients. This meant that the target audience shifted by the hour as the seven clinics across town began to open after the Category 4 hurricane passed and their services became accessible.

The team’s strategy was to direct users via paid search to the Urgent Care landing page. The page let visitors know which Urgent Care facilities were open during the Harvey floods. Marketers also used email addresses within their existing database to notify patients of same-day appointment availability across the clinics.

Creative Strategy:

An ongoing paid search campaign immediately altered and updated the targeting keywords, ad copy, and the landing page during and in the days after the storm in order to steer patients away from clinics in disaster-affected areas and toward ones that were open and accessible.

Messages were promoted through paid social media, and an email was distributed to 200,000 recipients with messaging about same day appointment availability. The goal was to address the less urgent health care needs of a city during a natural disaster and to decrease emergency room traffic.


Overall Campaign Execution:

During a natural disaster that was affecting an entire community, Memorial Hermann made it a priority to keep the public aware of which Urgent Care centers were open during its time of need. Clinics worked to offer same-day appointments with primary care providers.

Mobile Execution:

Digital engagement with patients was essential to turning Memorial Hermann into a more consumer-centric organization. In response to power outages and flooding in some locations, the campaign made real-time adjustments to reflect openings and availabilities for Urgent Care online check-ins.

Multiple digital channels, including search, email, and social media, were used to communicate whether an Urgent Care center or other medical facility was open. For a health care organization, being responsive to patients during a time of need was critical. This idea gave the digital strategy a greater sense of purpose.

Results (including context, evaluation, and market impact)

The campaign resulted in 267 online check-ins to Memorial Hermann’s urgent care centers in a period of three days. The typical average was 40 check-ins per day for all locations. The hurricane-specific SEM campaign ran from August 30 to September 4, 2017. Prior to the digital campaign, the average patient volume per clinic was 100 patients per day. Post-campaign activation, it was 150 patients per day. This included two closure dates during the storm. Other digital vehicles, such as email and social media, also contributed to the overall growth in appointment volume.

Categories: | Industries: | Objectives: Lead Generation/DR/Conversion | Awards: NA Finalist