Sunday, June 24, 2012

How will healthcare marketing change post SCOTUS reform ruling?

Given the upcoming ruling by the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) expected on June 28, regarding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), how will that change healthcare marketing?

In the end regardless of the ruling, healthcare providers still need to reduce cost, improve quality, coordinate medical care inside and outside of the provider, integrate with physicians, manage chronic illness, reduce readmissions, etc. Government driven or privately driven, these issues and market momentum to change will remain regardless of the laws status.

Just my opinion, but healthcare marketing has been slow to adapt to this dynamic environment. Fee-for-service will continue in some form. ACOs, medical homes, bundled payments, value-based payment and various P4P programs will continue. It's really a question of who is driving the change bus, private industry or the Federal government.

There is really no choice in the matter anymore. Healthcare organizations will have to change their understanding and practice of marketing along these lines:

Marketing Leadership

Marketing is strategy first, tactics second. The voice of marketing should reflect the voice of your customers and not be a second thought. Your future programs and services will be determined by the needs of the market, not your gut feeling. You cannot become a customer-driven or market-driven organization if the skills and experiences of marketing is not at the leadership table.

Managing the Patient Experience

If anyone is prepared to understand and mange the patient experience across the organization it's marketing. Hospitals in particular are making the mistake of putting operations in charge of patient experience. This is an oxymoron really.

Patient experience means just that- understanding what that patient experiences is at all touch points. And then changing or managing that experience to its fullest potential for the benefit of the patient and the organization. Patient experience is an integrating process across the entire organization internally and externally. One organization to the patient, one patient to the organization. It is not simply another quality program or flavor of the day.

Understanding and Executing Demand Management

The hospital is no longer the center of the healthcare universe. Marketing needs to understand what the demand for healthcare services will be, when they will be needed and manage that demand making sure that the hospital or health system has the right resources, in the right place, at the right time to meet demand. The days are rapidly slipping away where marketing will be driving demand to fill hospital beds. They will drive demand to the appropriate place and location of service.

Becoming a Revenue Marketer and Having Revenue Accountability

Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI) is necessary for anything marketing accomplishes, traditionally, socially or online. Marketers in healthcare organizations need to become revenue producers, not resource consumers that show little value beyond, it looks nice. In fact, marketing should have P&L as well as an SG&A accountability for many of the products and services being offered by a healthcare organization.

Marketing the Manager of Change

Who better in an organization than for marketing to manage the healthcare organizations transformation from an inward-focused it's all about me, to an outward-focused market and consumer driven organization? Open to much debate, this is probably the most controversial look at the expanding role of marketing. Individual who have looked internally at their organizations all of their careers, do not necessarily have the skills, training or abilities to change an organization 180 degrees. And that is the type of change we are talking about here.

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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