On March 31, a new data release for consumers took place with CMS posting individual hospital performance on eight Hospital Acquired Conditions (HAC). Reaction has been highly critical to say the least by physician and hospital groups. There are legitimate question as to the methodology used in some of the data and that does need to be revised. So the question came to me after reading the various groups denial of the data, pointing out its flaws and generally trying to deep six any potential informational credibility for the public- it's out there, so what is the brand opportunity if any?
How Does Your Marketing/PR Department Counter Negative Data Releases From 3rd Parties?
Hospitals and others are quick to bend over backwards and break their arms running ads and creating press releases when the data is in their favor or an award has been bestowed. This is not a criticism it is fact. Sometimes the information presented is misleading as well. When negative quality data is published, its everyone under the table time. If we howl with indignation at the outcome or just ignore it, then maybe it will go away. Well it's not. It is out there, so how are you going to respond?
Why not take a proactive approach with the same fervor that your Marketing and PR departments do when you have an award?
There is always opportunity to be leveraged in a potentially negative situation and that takes leadership, wisdom to see the opportunity and conviction to not follow the heard.
Can you be courageous?
Have your Marketing and PR departments follow these steps and you will find that you can strengthen build your brand, counter negative effects and be a force for change in the industry.
1. Acknowledge that this is another step in the transformation of healthcare from a provider-dominated to a consumer-driven transparent healthcare market.
2. Look at the CMS data for your organization and understand what is good and what is bad.
3. Create the documents and tools for internal and external audiences to learn how to use and understand the data. Be an educator. Frame the public's discussion.
4. Indicate the challenges with the data, how it was incorrectly calculated and how it can be simply fixed. Recalculate the data based on your hospitals performance against the true number of patients that received the service.
5. If you are a poor performer, then you have the opportunity to acknowledge that you can do better and inform your audiences what you are doing to improve.
6. Use the same techniques, and resources that you would use to tell the world what a great place you are because of a quality award.
7. Be proactive in a positive manner and not reactive with negativity. Be a solution the problem, not the problem. Hit the lecture circuit in your community.
Develop good Marketing and PR habits now. As change and time accelerates and the public becomes more involved in the choice of healthcare providers and treatment options, you need to control the discussion before others.
Define the discussion before they do. If you protest too much, or dive for under the tables, then the perception is there must be some truth to what's published. Maybe, maybe not, but it's there
The consumer is the new paparazzi, social media wiz and healthcare information seeker. Frame the discussion or be framed by it.
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Michael Krivich is an entrepreneurial healthcare marketing executive and internationally followed healthcare marketing blogger read daily in over 36 countries around the world. A Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives as well as a Professional Certified Marketer, American Marketing Association, he can be reached at email@example.com or 815-293-1471. Areas of expertise include: brand management; strategic marketing; sales and marketing integration; medical device and specialty pharmacy marketing; physician marketing; product launch; start-up launch and revenue growth; tactical market planning; customer experience management; rebuilding and revitalizing marketing operations; media relations; and service line revitalizations. Mike is Huthwaite SPIN selling trained and a Miller Heiman Strategic Selling alumni.