Targeted Stakeholder Communications Critical in Merging Two Large Organizations

Hillmer delivered the full spectrum of strategic communications counsel required to align personnel in the midst of a major organizational restructuring. Key initiatives included establishing a positive identity and reputation for the Defense Health Information Management System (DHIMS) among chain of command, stakeholder and public audiences. The goal was to build a new team that was cohesive, loyal to the organization and motivated to meet objectives.


To better integrate the technology systems underlying the Department of Defense Electronic Health Record (EHR), the Military Health System combined two organizations to create DHIMS. With more than 300 professionals from two separate organizations, the reorganization presented numerous change management challenges. Management teams and all personnel had to be aligned to organizational goals as quickly and as efficiently as possible. Additionally, the new organization’s leadership needed to communicate key objectives and give all stakeholders—internal and external—the information they needed to make key decisions.


Hillmer developed a disciplined, strategic plan for communications, worked with leadership to prioritize messaging and established easy-to-access avenues for all audiences to get the latest, most accurate information about DHIMS’ programs. Internally, leadership messaging was published every other week via an e-newsletter; a DHIMS Welcome Book and Internal Operations Guide introduced the organization and its policies to employees; and “Lunch and Learn” sessions were held to facilitate training efforts. Externally, exhibitions and speaking engagements were managed at leading conferences across the United States; news releases, editorials, by-lined articles, blogs, media pitches and award nominations were used to raise the visibility of key accomplishments. Later, Hillmer produced an award-winning video, which helped educate military and government leaders and showed how a service member’s EHR is accessible anywhere from the battlefield to the home front.


Hillmer met with military leadership, profiled each audience group and gathered information on more than 25 DHIMS products. The research revealed that 77,000 active users of the EHR system required a website of their own to address specific issues they were having operating the system. Using the audience profiles, Hillmer developed a website and determined the most appropriate content for each target audience group. Hillmer used web analytics to monitor use of the websites and make continual enhancements.


  • Content management
  • Event planning and management
  • Project/Program management
  • Search engine optimization
  • Social media marketing
  • Strategic communications
  • Technical support and maintenance
  • Training/learning management
  • Web analytics
  • Web design and development


DHIMS provides one of the largest and most comprehensive EHR systems in the world, supporting the management of more than 9.5 million Department of Defense, Military Health System beneficiary records.


As a result of Hillmer’s work in DHIMS, the two organizations received up-to-the-minute communications and information which helped to ensure successful integration and continued, fast-paced support for the military’s EHR. In a related initiative for DHIMS, Hillmer produced innovative training materials for the EHR system. The final product, EHR Insights is a multi-issue, 40-page, full-color, comic-book-style publication with its own cast of EHR-specific characters. In each issue, the characters are immersed in various scenarios and work together in storylines that help communicate important EHR topics to the end-users. The effectiveness and creativity of the training material also works to promote the EHR product and the DHIMS organization to various EHR stakeholders and policymakers.