With dynamic changes taking place in the healthcare as it evolves to a semi-retail environment, employment of physicians is seen as central to the success of hospitals and health systems surviving in an era of reform. A side note to physicians, I believe that there will always be independent practitioners, but that is a discussion for another day.
With this new opportunity to reinvent, revitalize and recapture what previously before had been an adventure on the part of hospitals with mixed results, its time to discuss how one goes about marketing the employed physician.
It's easy to look at this and say we'll just do what we did in the past in promoting employed physicians and be done with it. That is a dangerous mistake in the age of healthcare consumerism. The newly insured are expecting to have some level of choice, are social media networked and will be controlling many of the purchase decisions where previously, the healthcare provider drove many of those decisions.
What is needed is a new look at what you are doing and changing to meet the needs of the newly insured healthcare consumer.
With great change comes great opportunity. That is if one is willing to embrace that change and find new ways of moving forward and creating value.
Brand. Value. The Healthcare Consumers Choice.
Communicate very strongly how your brand and brand promise are associated with the employed physician. Doesn't matter if he or she is in a Medical Office Building (MOB) you own, Accountable Care Organization (ACO) or Medical Home (MH) or a multispecialty group practice. Bring your brand to the forefront and brand the doc to you. The physician represents the healthcare providers brand at an individual level. Capitalize on that credibility transfer opportunity and leverage it.
Communicate the value that the employed physician brings to the community and the healthcare consumer. Communicate the value that the doctor brings to the brand. Stop talking at people, talk to them. Talk to them with compelling value driven reasons and stories as to why they should select that doctor, or even why they should even considering switching physicians.
Stop wasting money putting ads in papers that expect people to take action simply because the doctor is on your medical staff. That treats the healthcare consumer like they are idiots. They're not. They are demanding value and acknowledgement that they have a say in what's going on. If you won't meet their needs they will go somewhere else.
The newly insured healthcare consumer is gaining market power as they reach into their pockets to pay those high deductibles and co-pays. As the economic cost rises for the healthcare consumer, so does their attention to outcomes, quality, experience and price.
If you're not communicating brand, value and what's in it for them for selecting the employed physician, then you can put it in the bank that the healthcare consumer is will pass on by and go where they perceive the value to be greatest for them in line with the price they are paying.
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 and Twitter.