The Andrus File
- Executive director of the American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE) of the American Hospital Association, Chicago
- Certified Association Executive through the American Society of Association Executives
- Staff lead on ASHE’s collaboration with the Health Research & Educational Trust to obtain a research grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to advance infection prevention and control efforts for hospitals
- Led the expansion of the Energy to Care program to more than 2,000 participating facilities and more than $65 million in cost savings for hospitals
- Previously served as ASHE’s marketing manager, director of business development and deputy executive director of operations
- DePaul University, Chicago, master’s degree in business administration
- University of Dayton (Ohio), bachelor’s degree in business administration
The American Society for Healthcare Engineering has merged Health Facilities Management magazine within its existing communications. ASHE Executive Director Patrick (PJ) Andrus, MBA, CAE, tells how the publication will fit into the organization’s overall communication plans and how those plans are developing.
What is the American Society for Healthcare Engineering’s (ASHE’s) overall communication strategy?
Our ultimate goal with our communications is to serve as a trusted source of information to support our members in their work to design, build and maintain optimal health care facilities. With the overwhelming volume of news and resources available today, ASHE aims to be an unbiased and honest source of fact-based information and expertise.
Beyond being a trusted source of reliable information, it is imperative that the topics we address in our communications are relevant to the changing needs of our members. Our team is continually working to make sure that the subject matter is timely and pertinent. To ensure that the voice of the member drives our communications, we work closely with the ASHE board, committees, task forces, chapters and partner organizations as well as the entire membership through the ASHE survey.
In addition to quality and relevancy, we are also working to simplify how information is disseminated to the field.
We have education available — including formal education programs as well as presentations at events, webinars and other learning opportunities. We publish books, white papers and tools, and report on news affecting the field. We host networking opportunities so that members can learn from each other and share best practices.
Each of these ways of information-sharing may have multiple distribution channels such as print, email or social media.
One example of how we are improving our communications based on member feedback is peer-to-peer networking. With more than 12,500 members, there is an expansive body of knowledge that lies within the ASHE membership. Traditionally, we have used the ASHE LISTSERV as a mechanism for members to communicate with other ASHE members. However, in practice, that technology is limited in its capabilities and can be cumbersome to use.
In December, we officially launched our online community, My ASHE. This new platform allows our members to engage with each other to share their knowledge and resources. It also provides a number of new features, such as the ability to post and catalog resources that are shared by members and to start separate discussion threads on particular topics.
How does publishing Health Facilities Management (HFM) magazine fit into these plans?
In terms of simplifying our communications, this is truly a case of addition by subtraction. I have yet to talk to an ASHE member who would like to receive more emails or publications in their inboxes. Previously, ASHE and HFM together published 16 issues of a print magazine and more than 200 newsletters annually. This transition allows ASHE to significantly streamline communications, while still offering timely, robust content to the field and improving the reader experience.
In addition, HFM provides ASHE with a larger platform for disseminating information. This supports us in a number of areas, such as increasing knowledge-sharing within the ASHE community and publishing articles from the membership that share innovations, best practices and other relevant content.
It also provides the opportunity to increase the awareness and accessibility of ASHE member-only resources. For example, HFM feature articles now will highlight member-only tools, white papers and other resources related to that topic. Members can read about a topic in HFM, then go to the ASHE website to download those resources.
Lastly, HFM has been supported by a tremendous team over the years. Its commitment to the quality of HFM’s editorial content has been the driving force behind the success of the publication. This transition brings those talented HFM staff to ASHE where their knowledge and skills are combined with ASHE resources as we expand our efforts to consistently deliver valued and trusted content.
What role will the Association for the Healthcare Environment (AHE) play in the magazine and newsletters?
HFM’s editorial content spans a wide range of topic areas — from facilities management, to design, construction, infection prevention and so on. Also, HFM traditionally has reported on environmental services news in conjunction with AHE. In looking at this transition, we felt there was significant value in continuing to report on environmental services news, trends and best practices. AHE is the professional membership group that represents this field and it is the subject matter expert for this content. ASHE has proudly partnered with AHE to continue publishing compelling and impactful environmental services content.
How are ASHE’s and HFM’s communications being combined?
Under the previous structure, there were multiple newsletters and print magazines among HFM, ASHE, and AHE. As I mentioned, the sheer volume of communications going out to the field was inundating and a bit confusing for readers. Using feedback from our membership, reader surveys and our team, HFM media will include the following news outlets:
- HFM magazine: There will be 10 issues of the magazine, which will be available in both print and digital editions.
- HFM Insider newsletter: This will be a weekly newsletter that combines a number of existing newsletters, including ASHE’s weekly newsletter. The focus will be health care facility management content as well as ASHE news and career postings.
- HFM PDC News newsletter: This monthly newsletter will report on news related to the planning, design and construction of health care facilities.
- HFM ES News newsletter: This newsletter, published in partnership with AHE, will focus on environmental services topics and will be published twice per month.
What will be the total reach of these combined communication efforts?
HFM magazine will reach more than 40,000 health care professionals and some of our newsletters will reach more than 70,000 professionals.
How do you envision ASHE’s communication efforts developing in the future?
With the HFM media being a part of ASHE, there will certainly be an increase in the amount of news, resources and other content developed by our team and our members.
As we move forward, we are already working on how we can segment and target our communications to meet the needs of our members.
As the ASHE membership, as well as the content produced by ASHE, continues to expand and diversify, it is important to be more strategic in how we disseminate this information to ensure its relevance to our members.