The way health care is delivered is changing. As a result, hospitals and health systems across America are redefining themselves as they find new and innovative ways to meet the needs of their patients and communities.

While this transformation is a good thing for our patients and the communities we serve, we all know that change is not easy ... and the unknown can often provoke anxiety. That’s why telling the hospital story is so important, now more than ever.

To help your hospital explain how health care — and, consequently, your organization — is changing, the American Hospital Association has developed a toolkit to help engage the community and share your story.

The toolkit includes a sample infographic, sample social media content (blog post ideas, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram posts), and a sample op-ed column you can use in your community to inform patients, the media and policymakers about how your organization is redefining what it means to be a hospital in this new era.

In addition, the toolkit includes tips on how hospitals can communicate with their communities about these changes, and case examples of some of the innovative ways hospitals are reaching out to their communities.

I encourage you to review the toolkit — available at — and share it with your board. Use it to start a conversation about how your organization is engaging with community stakeholders to tell your story and reinforce its key messages at the local level.

The AHA has long made it a priority to share the good work of America’s hospitals and is taking the lead at the national level in helping to educate the public about the changes taking place in health care. The messages outlined in the toolkit are being reinforced at the national level with radio “man on the street” advertisements, advertisements on the internet steering viewers toward the Advancing Health in America website, a robust social media campaign, and community conversation events in different areas of the country.

You can join the campaign by visiting and sharing your story. You can also follow the AHA on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Make sure to share and retweet posts to help amplify the hospital story within your community.

Margaret Dahl ( is chair of the American Hospital Association Committee on Governance and a trustee of WellStar Health Network ACO in Marietta, Ga.