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Hospital Report

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The premier resource for hospital professionals from Relias Media, the trusted source for healthcare information and continuing education.

Obama shows us how: Harness the power of the web to reach young people

January 12th, 2015

If you want to reach young people about events and news, you have to use the web. Want evidence? When President Obama wanted to reach young people about signing up for healthcare insurance, he didn’t go on “The Tonight Show” or sit down with David Letterman. He went to the web. He was a guest on Zach Galifianakis’ show “Between Two Ferns” on the comic website Funny or Die. Here’s an excerpt of the 6-minute tongue-in-cheek interview:

Source: White House Source: White House

Galifianakis: "What's it like to be the last black president?"

President Obama: "Seriously? What's it like for this to be the last time you ever talk to a president?"

President Obama went on discuss his healthcare plan and why young people should sign up. The show targets the 18-34 age range. In the first few hours after the broadcast, about 19,000 people went directly to healthcare.gov from the web site. The video reached a million viewers within three and a half hours. At press time, it had been viewed by 19 million.

Considering that young people are one of the keys to successful implementation of Obama’s plan, it seems that this strategic move helped. Three days after the show aired, enough Americans had signed up for his healthcare plan to make it a success, according to President Obama.

At a White House press briefing on the same day as the “Between Two Ferns” appearance, White House press secretary Jay Carney told the media reps attending, "Gone are the days when your broadcasts -- or yours or yours -- can reach everybody that we need to reach." The same holds true for hospitals. New approaches are needed, or you will only reach a dwindling audience of older patients. For more information about how to use the web and social media to your advantage, see our previous blog posts: “Getting patients’ input isn’t for the meeting room anymore – Hospitals move to social media” and “The importance of a hospital web site – just ask Walmart.”