Saturday, June 15, 2013

Is Centers of Excellence marketing worthless without price, experience and outcomes data?


Just about everyone has some kind of healthcare Center of Excellence (CoE), and these programs are continually marketed by healthcare organizations. Mostly it’s marketing by screaming at the market place that you have a Center of Excellence. But, as healthcare moves to a patient-centered or consumer-centric market depending in what you believe, can hospitals continue to just claim having a Center of Excellence without price experience and outcomes data to support the claim?

I think that answer is no.

You can still say you have a Center of Excellence in an effort to grow share, revenue and for obtaining new payment agreements. But if that effort is not supported by price, experience and outcomes information for the healthcare consumer, then how do you prove to the newly minted healthcare insurance card carrying consumer in 2014, that your CoE is better than the one down the street?

The point here is that proud pronouncements on Centers of Excellence without transparency will become a thing of the past.

Marketing of a Center of Excellence in a value-based or risk-sharing environment takes on a very real purchaser focused approach. You will need to prove to all purchasers, be it government, insurance, healthcare consumer etc., of the value of your Center of Excellence along at least three dimensions, price, experience and outcome.

So to market successfully you need to:

1) Define your value proposition, and each value prop will be different based on the market segment.

2) Identify potential accrediting bodies for your Center of Excellence, and achieve same.

3) Or, in the absence of accrediting bodies, do the research, and set meaningful outcomes as benchmarks.

4) Decide what your marketing position is going to be. If it’s not superior, then what are you doing this? I mean really, who wants to go to a Center of Excellence that is perceived as market equivalent or inferior to your competitors?

5) Develop an outcome reporting mechanism tailored to your market segments.

6) Be price transparent as individuals are already shopping on price as it relates to out-of-pocket co-pays.

7) Communicate in terms people understand not about we do this, but in the value of the Center of Excellence to them, and how it meets their needs.

8) Develop and execute integrated marketing plans that are connected to the business, and financial plan of the Center of Excellence covering traditional, social, and media.

9) Remain consistent with your brand architecture for the healthcare organization.

10) Use employer, insurance, physician, and patient testimonials.

11) Constantly evaluate your marketing efforts, change when needed, and do what I call fail fast.

12) Prove Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI).

Marketing of Centers of Excellence in a shared-risk or value-based payment environment will be needed. It will go beyond the current messaging that so many are utilizing assuming build it, and they will come. Now build it incorrectly with same old marketing, and they will not come.

Michael J. Krivich, MHA, FACHE, PCM, is an internationally followed healthcare marketing blogger with over 5,000 monthly pages views read in over 52 countries worldwide on Healthcare Marketing Matters. These views are my own. He is founder of the michael J group, a Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives and a Professional Certified Marketer, American Marketing Association. Like us on facebook at the michael J group, and connect with me on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Pheed.

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