With dynamic changes occurring in the healthcare industry as a result of the Patient Protections and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), employment of physicians is making a big comeback to the hospital industry. Born of necessity, hospitals and physicians are being driven by reimbursement concerns and opportunities. The drive to create Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) demands a different type of physician relationship. One that is more centralized and controlled to "reap" the revenue benefits of the new healthcare market environment.
With this new opportunity to reinvent, revitalize and recapture what previously before had been an adventure on the part of hospitals with mixed results, its time to discuss how one goes about marketing the employed physician.
First break from the past......
It's easy to look at this and say we'll just do what we did in the past in promoting employed physicians and be done with it. That is a dangerous mistake in the age of healthcare consumerism. Consumers will have choice, are already networked and will be controlling many of the purchase decisions where previously, you drove many of those decisions. So if you're just going to throw some ads out there with a picture of the nice smiling doc with copy in the third person about how wonderful and compassionate he or she is, you can expect much disappointment. Even today there is still too much of that type of physician marketing occurring.
What is needed is a new look at what you are doing and changing to meet the needs of your healthcare consumer, not you.
A new day....
With great change comes great opportunity. That is if one is willing to embrace that change and find new ways of moving forward and creating value.
Your Brand. Your Value. The Healthcare Consumer's Choice.
You need to communicate very strongly your brand and brand promise you are associating with the employed physician. Doesn't matter if he or she is in a Medical Office Building (MOB) you own, Accountable Care Organization (ACO) or Medical Home (MH). Bring your brand to the forefront and brand the doc to you. He or she is no longer an independent practitioner. They represent your brand at an individual level. Capitalize on that opportunity and leverage it.
Communicate the value that this physician brings to your community and the healthcare consumer. Communicate the value that the doctor brings to your brand. Leverage that opportunity. Stop talking at people, talk to them. Talk to consumers with compelling value driven reasons why they should select that doctor, or even why they should even considering switching physicians.
Stop wasting your money putting ads in papers that expect people to take action simply because the doctor is on your medical staff or in one of your buildings. That treats the healthcare consumer like they are idiots. They're not. They are demanding value and acknowledgement that they have a say in what's going on. If you won't meet their needs they will go somewhere else.
Consumers now have more power than they have every had as a result of PPACA. They are and will be paying more of the medical bill as time goes along. If you're not communicating value and what's in it for them for selecting your physicians, then you can put it in the bank that the healthcare consumer is will pass on by and go where they perceive the value to be greatest for them in line with the price they are paying.
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Michael Krivich is an internationally followed healthcare marketing blogger with over 1,000 monthly pages views reviewed in over 20 countries around the world, and is a Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives and a Professional Certified Marketer, American Marketing Association. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 815-293-1471 for hiring as your senior marketing executive or for interim assignments in all aspects of healthcare marketing whether it be strategic or tactical market planning, rebuilding and revitalizing your existing marketing operation, integration of sales and marketing teams, media relations or service line revitalizations. Huthwaite SPIN selling trained and a Miller Heiman Strategic Selling alumni, both highly respected and successful international sales training organizations , I can lead your organization though the challenge of integrating sales and marketing.