Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Wayne Higgins, Thomas Nicholson, Glen Lohr

Degree Program

Department of Public Health

Degree Type

Master of Science


A well-known fact relating to health care in the 1990s is the delimma being faced by small rural hospitals across the United States. They are now at a crossroads between survival and closure. This thesis addresses the influence that effective marketing strategies can have on the outcome of rural hospitals if such strategies are targeted to the right populations Although the patients, the community, and the physicians are important target groups, this thesis addresses the impact marketing can have on the employee population and how that population can, in turn, affect community perception.

This is the first study to be done at Caverna Memorial Hospital to indicate employee perception as a result of marketing, and careful research of available literature shows that it may well be one of the first done in a rural hospital in Kentucky on this particular relationship An important premise to this study is the fact that employees need to know that their success as an employee is dependent upon the hospital and, just as important, the hospitals survival can be dependent upon the employees' influence on potential customers.

The study concentrated on outpatient services and took place in a 30-bed hospital located in south central Kentucky. This hospital has economic problems and conditions that make it typical of small rural hospitals across the country.

The instrument utilized for this study is a pretest and posttest questionnaire presented to the entire employee population before and after a period of time when marketing endeavors were undertaken by the hospital. To test the difference of scores between the pretest and posttest, repeated measures Analysis of Variance was used to compare means of both groups. The principle finding was that employees viewed the hospital and its' outpatient services in a more positive light after marketing endeavors had been undertaken.

Since effective marketing endeavors do have the potential of positively influencing employees in a small rural hospital setting, and since hospital employees have the potential of influencing potential customers, hospital administrators may do well to consider budgeting for marketing and directing such marketing tactics to the often forgotten employee population.


Business | Marketing | Medicine and Health Sciences | Public Health | Public Health Education and Promotion