Sunday, May 20, 2012

Should outcomes transparency drive outpatient healthcare marketing?

Is nearly everyone missing the most important piece of the marketing puzzle to generate demand, revenue and market share in outpatient healthcare? Especially with the market competition heating up between hospital owned physicians/ clinics and the private sole practitioners/multi-specialty or single specialty group practices and retail clinics.

One area that is greatly lacking in most outpatient 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.

Where is the outcomes and quality data?

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 physicians, payers, government, 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.

A 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. 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, quality and outcomes.

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.

Sooner or later, you are going to have to do this. Oh, and don't forget about price.

Michael Krivich is an internationally followed healthcare marketing blogger with over 4,000 monthly pages views in over 52 countries worldwide. He is founder of the michael J group, a healthcare marketing consultancy dedicated to creating value through strategic marketing for hospitals and health system regardless of payment mechanism, either fee-for-service or value-based to increase market-share, revenue , brand and demonstrate actual return on marketing investment. Michael is a Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives and a Professional Certified Marketer, American Marketing Association.

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