Thursday, November 25, 2010

Tis the Season to Leverage Healthcare Quality Awards

Healthgrades, Malcolm Baldrige, Thompson Top 100, U S World & News Report and others are making their healthcare quality rankings for various diseases known. And if the hospital or health system is willing to pony up some cash, they too can use those rankings in their marketing and PR efforts.

But beyond the obvious campaigning, what I fail to see is how health systems or hospital awardees are communicating in any meaningful way what those quality awards means to the healthcare consumer. As I have written in the past, what is the value of that information to the healthcare consumer? A nice representation of the actual award and saying are in the top 5 percent nationally in (insert disease here) leaves it kind of lacking. Especially when other hospitals you compete against are making the same claim.

Wasted Opportunity

A shame really. The campaigning I am seeing in its current form treats the healthcare consumer like they are some kind of idiot. It also reinforces what the healthcare industry has been crying about that healthcare is more complicated than a 5 star rating. An inadvertent consequence nonetheless, you are creating the simplistic 5 star rating system yourself by how you are all campaigning the quality award. Be careful what you ask for because you just might get it. It's about the value not to you, but to the healthcare consumer. Instead of talking at the consumer, grab the opportunity to make the award meaningful in the eyes of the healthcare consumer, instead of taking the easy way out and puffing out our chest to say look at me.

Leveraging the Opportunity

The networked patient is one who is hungry for information. And patients are networked today more so than at any other time in the history of healthcare. The future will only make it more so. So why not get ahead of the curve and start making your ads and marketing communications pieces more value driven and providing healthcare solutions to the consumer?

Explain what that award means to the consumer. Define the value. Show how it separates you from all the others. Communicate how it reinforces your brand and brand promise. Use the award to create trust. Define the award experience in the patients terms. Just don't throw it out there and say we are in the top 5 percent or whatever. That is not meaningful to anyone. In an age of outcomes transparency, quality accountability and consumer choice, those ads sorely fail.

Maybe the opportunity is to create that 5 star web site based on those ads? Hmm......

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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. I am a Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives as well as a Professional Certified Marketer, American Marketing Association. You can reach me at or 815-293-1471 for hiring as your senior marketing executive , 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.

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