Sunday, June 3, 2012

Is your healthcare marketing evolving?

Living in two worlds is never easy. One side of the healthcare marketing coin is generating demand to put "heads in the beds" for fee-for-service payments. The other is managing demand to keep people out of the hospitals in a value-based payment model. Care delivered in the most cost efficient and effective setting which may not be a hospital or hospital-based outpatient service.

Accountability, transparency, price and value are the new expectations. And your time for adapting is running out. By 2016 an inflection point will be reached where value-based healthcare payment passes fee-for-service healthcare. You will be managing demand instead of generating demand. And that is a very different skill set than what most healthcare organizations have today.

Here are some ideas about what healthcare organizations need to be doing too live in two worlds.

Managing the Patient Experience

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 coming to an end where marketing departments will be driving demand to fill hospital beds. They will drive demand to the appropriate place and location of service.

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.

Where is the brand equity?

You really have to figure out how to build brand equity for the consumer in the world. Brand equity is not built overnight, it takes years. For insurers they are ahead of the game and probably most doctors, even though their brand equity is more by chance than actual effort and planning. But hospitals, they are way behind the brand equity curve unless you are a Mayo Clinic, M D Anderson, Cleveland Clinic, John Hopkins and a few select others.

How can you build brand equity?

There is no simple answer, it is a combination of changing internal processes and systems ( customer experience management) to become more consumer-friendly and efficient. It's about adapting technology that will reduce errors and improve decision-making. It's about changing marketing and communication activities from what you do, to the value of what you do. You will need to engage in meaningful ways the healthcare consumer. You will need to become price and quality transparent. You will need to respond to each individual consumers healthcare needs.

Is your healthcare model evolving?

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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