Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Can Transparency on Outcomes and Quality, Increase Volume, Revenue and Market Share?

Tough economy and getting worse. Hospital volume, scripts and specialty drug orders, flat or down. Little differentiation among competitors in many healthcare verticals. New proposed cuts in Medicare and Medicaid spending. High unemployment with no end in sight. Political gridlock. Healthcare payment models evolving from production payment focused on care delivered, to pay-for-performance based on quality outcomes. Price competition. And finally, a growing empowered healthcare consumer, taking control and playing an active part in the healthcare decision-making process.

With all this transpiring, most are taking the same past course of marketing action. Advertise services by making claims of world-class service. "Me too" messaging, attempting to driving volume because we focus all of our efforts and resources around you. (Isn't that what you are supposed to do anyway?) Sales forces all focusing on the same a therapy or drug class in specialty pharmacy which, in most cases, is the same as the specialty pharmacy down the street.

But nearly everyone, is missing the most important piece of the puzzle to generate demand, revenue and market share.

Where is the outcomes and quality data?

One area that is greatly lacking in most healthcare marketing, is an intelligent dialogue on your outcomes with your audiences. Payors', pharma and medical device, have recognized this and are leading in the use of quality and outcomes data to drive decision-making. It is time for the rest of the healthcare industry to catch up.

And in my experience, it works. Driving demand, volume, revenue and market share.

I maintain that even in this economy, there are healthcare dollars out there. Healthcare consumers willing to spend those dollars, if only that had a compelling reason to do so. With all other marketing avenues exhausted, healthcare executives weary from being in "survival mode" and facing new revenue pressures, one would think healthcare marketing would be able to answer some of these challenges.

Maybe it's time to give the healthcare consumer be it employer, individual or family, or any other stakeholder you can identify, quality and outcomes data to make decisions?

That's really the only avenue left for healthcare providers, to start talking about quality and outcomes. Engaging in a meaningful dialogue, that goes beyond accreditation logos and quality awards from third parties, to an actual honest-to-goodness quality and outcomes disclosure and discussion.

Few healthcare providers are willing. Most are afraid of this direction. But, it's a strategy and tactic that can break the current cycle of avoidance and loss. Leadership. Courage. The ability to be visionary. Recognizing that your customers, are best served by the healthcare organization that places them first in a meaningful way.

You have some choices here. Stay the course and do what you have been doing. Get lost in an endless paralysis by analysis loop. Mimic your competitors. Talk about quality and outcomes in vague terms. Or, be the first in your market, to establish a clear strategic marketing plan, focused on your healthcare consumers, about your brand in terms of quality and outcomes.

Sooner or later, you are going to have to do this.

If you are not willing to change, then don't expect a different outcome from doing the same old healthcare marketing that you have been.

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For more information, or to discuss your strategic healthcare marketing, customer experience management, marketing/sales integration or start-up needs, you can learn more at my web site the michael J group; email-; or phone by calling me at 815-293-1471.

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