Sunday, January 8, 2017

How You Can Market Providers in Healthcare 2.0

When one looks across providers delivering healthcare and the marketing, one has to wonder if there is an understanding of the importance of marketing in healthcare 2.0. Which begs the question, will big box hospitals have a chance of surviving in a highly competitive, efficient retail medical marketplace without clear and unambiguous marketing?

After all, it's already apparent, even though hospital and health system leadership have their heads in the sand, that the consumer only needs you for three things:  emergency care; intensive care and care for acute complex, medical conditions.

 And here’s a new one, physicians don't need the hospital or health system either.

Healthcare 2.0 is a market animal that is completely different than anything Hospital leadership has ever had to contend.  And this animal has teeth with little regard for whether a hospital or health system survives. Highly competitive, innovative and retail in nature, the sole focus is on understanding and meeting the needs of the healthcare consumer.  Note this importance of that sentence.  It’s focused on addressing the needs of the healthcare consumer, not the hospital or health system.

That implies that the hospital or health system evolves from being in the hospital business forever in search of a revenue stream to a healthcare business model that meets the needs of the healthcare consumer regardless of clinical service, time, and place.

What is healthcare marketing’s role? These five will determine growth and success. Failure to change means you are looking at joining the growing pile of the ash heap of history.

1.       Voice of the Customer

VoC is far more important now in healthcare.  There are over 147 healthcare consumer and patient touch-points in the typical hospital.  Each interaction is the opportunity to hear about organizational performance.  Then most importantly is the ability to use that information in an actionable way to identify and meet healthcare consumer needs. 

2.       Using market data to manage the patient experience and engagement

Patient experience and engagement mean just that- not one isolated clinical or administrative service experience but understanding what that patient experience is at all touch points.  Next is the challenge of managing that experience to its fullest potential for the benefit of the patient and the organization. Patient experience is an integrative process across the entire organization internally and externally.  The rallying cry in any hospital should be one view of the patient, one patient view of the organization. 

3.       From demand generation to demand management

The hospital is no longer the center of the healthcare universe.   Marketing needs to understand what the demand for health care services will be, when required and manage service demand in 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 rapidly slipping away where marketing will be driving demand to fill hospital beds. They will drive demand to the appropriate place and location of service. 

4.       Preparing the hospital for enhanced competition

It’s sad but true; providers continue to fall behind non-traditional providers and new entrants into the market. Hospitals are losing share and revenue to others.  There are many reasons for this, but the most striking is the inability of traditional providers to connect the dots through technology, data and an in-depth understanding of the healthcare consumer to meet their needs.   It’s about the capacity to have the market research and internal data to draw actionable insights to meet the healthcare consumer’s needs and competition. 

Is it any wonder why non-traditional competitors are leading the way and taking revenue and share from providers?  Their deep understanding of the consumer and the dynamics of price, choice, convenience, experience and engagement give these companies and others an edge that providers are missing. 

5.       From outbound features and  interruptive marketing, to inbound value solutions marketing

Value marketing is making the case to the healthcare consumer how you are solving their medical problem, offering a solution, giving results and even making them happy.  Value marketing is about a creative exchange between people and organizations in the marketplace.   It is a dynamic transaction that continually changes based on the needs of the individual compared to what the healthcare provider has to offer.

In the end, it’s all about giving the consumer what they want not what the provider wants. That is healthcare 2.0. Welcome to the new marketing reality.

Michael is a healthcare marketing business, marketing, and communications strategist and thought leader.  As an internationally followed healthcare marketing strategy blogger, his blog, Healthcare Marketing Matters receives over 20,000 page views a month and read in 52 countries.  He is a Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives, Professional Certified Marketer, American Marketing Association and HubSpot Academy- Email Marketing, Inbound Marketing & Inbound Sales Certified. Post opinions are my own.

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

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