Thursday, July 3, 2014

Has it happened in your market yet?

Has what happened, one may ask? 

The first healthcare marketing shots across traditional providers bow that focus on cost, experience, convenience and access.  I am not writing here about the retail drugstore walk-in clinics that compete more with physicians than hospitals. What I am writing about is an advertisement that I heard on the radio this morning. The start of a healthcare consumer marketing campaign that takes on hospitals and even some physicians head-on leading with price, experience and convenience.

And these are healthcare marketing strategy topics that have been extensively written about for the last three years in Healthcare Marketing Matters. 

This ad went right after hospitals on cost, easy payment alternatives, experience and access.  They didn’t beat around the bush. All the aspects of a retail consumeristic focused campaign were present. This wasn’t some new enterprise driven by some private equity guys or venture capitalists sitting around the room thinking up a new medical service. It was two physicians.

They get it. They have realized that the growing healthcare consumer has choices, and can be influenced in a consumeristic way.  Isn’t that what all the research has shown about individual buying behaviors in the health exchanges?  It was found that for a 10 percent reduction in premium, individuals exhibited consumeristic shopping behaviors when making choices.  Now include the recent information that 41 percent of people use social media as one of their methods of obtaining information on healthcare providers for making choices. When one couples that with all the price and quality outcomes data available, it’s no wonder.

To me, it’s like shooting fish in a barrel.

In a semi-retail healthcare market a sharpened focus on the healthcare consumer is the driver. It’s all about their needs and wants not about what the provider needs or wants. So while hospitals stand still and fight to the death changing their approach and competency in healthcare marketing, the end result is market share and revenue loses.

I know the market is changing and moving to value payment, bundled payments, narrow networks etc.   But that shift will take time and in the meantime it’s still about driving utilization to generate revenue. The hospital hasn’t yet tipped from a revenue center to a cost center. The healthcare market, perceptions and choices are shifting in a titanic way, a way that hospitals cannot stop.

The first shots in the new healthcare market have been fired.  And the response will be?

On another note- the 16U A travel softball continues to move along. The team had some early struggles but has righted itself for the remainder of the season. It was all evident this past weekend when they played up in an 18U A USSSA tournament.  Against some very good teams who were older as well, they went 5-2 and finished third. So now the team has qualified for two USSSA World Series tournaments – one in 16U A and another in 18U A. The final season for my daughter is just going way to fast.

Thanks for reading and here’s hoping you're having a great summer.

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