Using Marketing Strategies to Increase Use of a Teen Health Center


Impact Statement: 
Although located in an area with significant need for teen family planning services, a public health teen clinic in Spartanburg County had low rates of use. The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control followed a Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) approach and used QI tools to understand how best to redirect its marketing efforts. Awareness and use of the clinic increased among teens, which was the first step in increasing the use of contraceptive methods and decreasing teen pregnancy in the county.

The aim statement for this initiative stated that by November 30, 2012, the South Carolina Department of Health & Environmental Control (SC DHEC) will increase the average number of units (1 unit = 15 minutes) appointed per day at the teen center by 13- to 19-year-olds from 44 in February 2012 to 58 (or 80% of our current capacity). In March 2012, before formally initiating the quality improvement (QI) project, SC DHEC made two changes in hopes of increasing utilization: It began using a pre- and post-provider model, and added an outreach coordinator 3 days per week. In May 2012, SC DHEC formally began the QI project, completed a root cause analysis, and then determined the most appropriate marketing strategies to increase awareness and use of the center. SC DHEC used a survey to measure how new patients heard about the center. After some renovations to the center that tripled capacity, SC DHEC held reopening events for both the local community and partners. SC DHEC also focused much of its efforts on improving the referrals from the main health department since it found that most teens had heard about the teen center through the staff at the main health department. These internal efforts included presentations at a variety of staff meetings (across program areas and reaching front line staff and management), ensuring that marketing materials are available in clinic areas, and assessing staff attitudes towards the teen center and frequency of making referrals. Other efforts included working with the City of Spartanburg and the Department of Transportation to erect directional signs on the main roadways near the center, adding signage to the exterior of the building with the clinic's name, and encouraging community partners to promote the center and refer their clients to the center. This QI initiative has highlighted the development of a formalized marketing plan for the teen health centers.

Organization that conducted the QI initiative: 
South Carolina Department of Health & Environmental Control

McKinzie, M. Public Health Quality Improvement Exchange. Using Marketing Strategies to Increase Use of a Teen Health Center. Thu, 11/07/2013 - 15:09. Available at Accessed April 20, 2024.

Submission Status: 
1 user has voted.


Submitted by Lisa Forsch on

First, thank you for sharing this QI project. There is excellent information and results here that we all may learn from. The collected data on in your increased web traffic is significant, congratulations. Has your marketing plan sought to include any additional online marketing tactics? If research has revealed most clients of the clinic learn of the place and services through word of mouth, increasing conversation or link-ability to your webpage could be (additionally) helpful. Social media is one method that comes to mind. I admire your efforts on this area of needed improvement!

0 users have voted.

Submitted by soleniczak on

Thank you for sharing your experience. I appreciate you including barriers to the project. We are currently in the tail end of a Teen Health Center reconstruction grant (federal funding). Our site is located in the school itself and will soon be looking at implementing a marketing campaign to promote utilization and inform the community. I am interested in learning whether your project implmented the text messaging component of your future plans and getting an update on the overall marketing campaign. What venues did you use and how effective were they?

1 user has voted.

Sarah Oleniczak, MPH, MCHES
Deputy Health Officer

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