Monday, June 6, 2016

Improving the Physician Hospital Experience, Untapped Revenue & Growth?

It’s a harsh world in healthcare and for healthcare marketing in general.  Living in two worlds, hospitals, and health systems still get paid for putting heads in the beds with the production of care. While at the same time, hospitals are faced with needing to be cost efficient and medically effective in finding more appropriate settings of care than the inpatient site if it’s value or risk-based payment models.  

Dazed and confused.

After all the years on both sides of the healthcare marketing ledger, and having worked closely with physicians, I fail to understand is why time and effort are not spent by hospitals improving the physician practice experience? I am not talking here about the token efforts, but a full scale all out facility-wide effort in eliminating or reducing the internal hospital barriers that physicians encounter when they have patients in your facility.

Is it really award marketing and meaningless branding efforts?

When we all pat ourselves on the back for the great marketing campaigns and look at us branding. If one looks and the data, you will find that changes in hospital market share and revenue are more determined by physician admitting practices. The one or two-point swings in share between hospital competitors is the result of doctors moving their patients to hospitals where for the time being it’s easier to practice medicine.

If you want to grow, and growth is good, physician experience improvement is at the top of the too do list. It’s also one way to stop the out-of-network referrals and retain the patient and either save the cost or generate the income.

Even today nothing happens unless you have a physician's order.  It makes no difference what the payment model or insurance plan is that the patient possesses. No doctors order means no revenue and no growth. 

What will bring the greatest Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI) or sales effort, running ads that tell consumers are how great you are because you just got an award, or effectively and efficiently managing the physician experience?

Time to focus seriously on the physician experience.

It's about their experience in admitting, treating and referring patients to your emergency room,  hospital, pharmacy, surgical center or home care agency that docs deal with on a daily basis.  How easy is it for them to practice medicine in your facility?  How many complaints do they get from their patients about the hospital? How do you lessen the hassle factor for physicians to allow them to be effective and efficient practitioners of the medical arts?   

Be ready to make changes in how you do things.  When your medical staff liaison, account rep, or insert title here person comes back stating the physicians are encountering difficulties in practicing medicine in the hospital, be ready to make meaningful changes. 

To restate a common theme of mine, it is not at all about the hospital or health system any longer. It is all about value for physician, patient and healthcare consumer. And the experience is a significant part of that value.

Manage the physicians experience successfully, revenue and growth will follow.

On another note, I am going to be part of an article on pharma and the use of data and analytics in direct to consumer marketing to drive brand.  Publication is by The Drum, Europe's largest and most widely read source of news and information for marketers and brands based in the UK. It's going to run in a supplement created for the Cannes Lions Health Conference in Cannes, France, June 18-19, 2016.  The article will appear in special print edition supplement of The Drum being distributed at the conference.

Michael is an internationally followed healthcare blogger, business, marketing, and communications strategist and thought leader. I am also HubSpot Academy, Email & Inbound Marketing certified.

For more topics and thought leading discussions like this, join Healthcare Marketing Leaders For Change, a LinkedIn Professional Group.

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