Thursday, May 28, 2020

The New Normal Podcast- Episode 9: Financial Stability of the Healthcare Industry, a Conversation with Michael Krivich







The New Normal is a 10-part series podcast that explores the future of hospitals and health systems because of COVID-19 by Touchpoint Media

With host Chris Boyer, we discussed the financial stability of the healthcare industry and the challenges we face pivoting to a post COVID19 world. Just click on the link below.




Michael is a healthcare business, marketing, communications strategist, and thought leader. As an internationally followed healthcare strategy blogger, his blog, Healthcare Marketing Matters, is read in 52 countries and is listed on the 100 Top Healthcare Marketing Blogs & Websites ranked at No. 3 on the list by Feedspot.com. Michael is a Life Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives. An expert in healthcare marketing strategy, digital marketing, and social media, Michael is in the top 10 percent of social media experts nationwide and is considered an established influencer. For inquiries regarding strategic consulting engagements, email me at michael@themichaeljgroup.com. Connect with me on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Opinions expressed are my own.

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

Monday, May 25, 2020

With the "New Normal" Courtesy of SARS-CoV2, What is Your Continuous Engagement Strategy?


Stumped?  Me too because the term "new normal" is an oxymoron. It is what is typical today. 

First off, there is no "new normal." Even though the government, media, and brands have pegged what is occurring in society today as the "new normal," it is not. What we have today as a result of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic is action being mandated by federal, state, and local governments, such as self-isolation, wearing masks, and social distancing to stem the community spread of a highly dangerous and deadly virus. The media and government named it the "new normal."

As an aside, the "new normal" is textbook social conditioning.

So how does this apply to hospital marketing?

The engagement game for hospitals has changed with the pandemic. SARS-CoV2 has gotten the patient's and community's attention and forced the hospitals and health systems to drop the feel-good messaging of bygone days.

Patients and communities now expect continuous and meaningful engagement going forward.

What is the hospital going to do moving forward?

Here are four essential "normal" engagement strategies you need to employ:

1. Integrate your engagement solutions. That means information is delivered seamlessly so that the community and patient can interact with you anyway, anytime anyplace, be it email, mobile text, website portal, and any of the social media channels. 

2. Create a sense of community.  Get into the inner circle of the audience and become the trusted advisor. It's not just about loyalty. Shape the behaviors to the point where they will recommend unconditionally.

3. Use technology.  We live in a world of technology, and you need to run a multifaceted, highly integrated campaign. With social media, smartphones, web, text messaging, mobile messaging, etc., eighty percent of consumers want the option of interacting with a healthcare provider via their smartphones. The patient is inviting the hospital to engage them and engage them all the time.

4. Time it right and add value.  If your health messaging is not resonating with the healthcare consumer or patient when they receive it, then one has lost them. Continue to implement and execute what you learned during the pandemic.





Today the established "normal" for marketing hospitals and health systems is to continue the unparalleled patient and community engagement and interaction forced by the pandemic.






Oh, and please don't call it the "new normal." No one knows what that means.




Michael is a healthcare business, marketing, communications strategist, and thought leader. As an internationally followed healthcare strategy blogger, his blog, Healthcare Marketing Matters, is read in 52 countries and is listed on the 100 Top Healthcare Marketing Blogs & Websites ranked at No. 3 on the list by Feedspot.com. Michael is a Life Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives. An expert in healthcare marketing strategy, digital marketing, and social media, Michael is in the top 10 percent of social media experts nationwide and is considered an established influencer. For inquiries regarding strategic consulting engagements, email me at michael@themichaeljgroup.com. Connect with me on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Opinions expressed are my own.

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

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

News Flash: SARS-CoV-2 has Changed Everything. Hospital Marketing Needs to Change Too.


As we begin to emerge from the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has overwhelmed hospitals and society worldwide, a new reality exists in the marketplace. That reality change for those who understand means that the hospital marketing messages of the pre-pandemic world won't work in the mid to post-pandemic healthcare marketplace for the hospital. It doesn't take a ton of market research to know that either. Just look at your own experience.

What's changed?

In a nutshell, everything has changed.

The patient care experience becomes more complex from the pandemic, as if it wasn't already complex enough, with that complexity translating into how the hospital reenters the marketplace with its inpatient and outpatient services, satellite ambulatory centers reopening.  


Now, the great temptation is just to use the messaging, creative, and content while picking up and executing on your pre-pandemic marketing plan. Consider the impact of COVID-19 on actions, communication, and engagement on the part of the hospital to patients and the community. 

Individuals have been bombarded daily with news, information, and advice, real and fake, on what to do or what to expect coming to the hospital or physician's office.  This overflow of continuous information has been constant in patients' lives for weeks.

One would think that hospital senor leadership and marketing leadership would be sensitive to these new market dynamics and would adjust accordingly. I say that disappointingly as I see hospitals advertising using the pre-pandemic messaging and calls to action. Yes, it is expedient given the revenue shortfalls from shutting done all non-COVID-19 clinical services, but at the same time, it is tone-deaf and bad optics in the community for the hospital or health system.

After shutting down and implementing enhanced patient screening protocols that changed the experience, the hospital is essentially reopening. The message the hospital and health system is sending to the market is incongruous with the current knowledge of the patient and what will happen going forward. You're setting up expectations and an outcome that will be badly missed.

It is not business as usual.

And that is that what the old marketing messages and call-to-action represent. Once the individual acts on the message and experiences firsthand that it is not back, "old normal" problems ensue. 

The challenge now is to develop new content messaging, call-to-actions with new production values that tie together your current state in the pandemic and how you are reopening shuttered clinical services for patients, physicians, and employees with their safety in mind. It is framing the new experience, not the old.

I understand that marketing and PR staff were laid off or furloughed, and budgets cut. CFOs had to do what they did because marketing and PR cuts flow directly to the bottom line. Resources are stretched and non-existent in some cases. 

Hospital marketing teams and leaders will need to be creative in quickly developing the new messaging and find ways to get it out. But the bottom line is, you just can't pull stuff out of the can and expect it to work anymore.

That ship has sailed and hospital care and how the patient and market view and experience hospital care- inpatient, outpatient, and ambulatory care will never go back to the way it was.

Michael is a healthcare business, marketing, communications strategist, and thought leader. As an internationally followed healthcare strategy blogger, his blog, Healthcare Marketing Matters, is read in 52 countries and is listed on the 100 Top Healthcare Marketing Blogs & Websites ranked at No. 3 on the list by Feedspot.com. Michael is a Life Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives. An expert in healthcare marketing strategy, digital marketing, and social media, Michael is in the top 10 percent of social media experts nationwide and is considered an established influencer. For inquiries regarding strategic consulting engagements, email me at michael@themichaeljgroup.com. Connect with me on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Opinions expressed are my own.

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

Monday, May 11, 2020

Hospitals Need to Rebuild Trust, Not Send Pre-Pandemic Marketing Messages


With the lockdowns easing across the country, hospitals are beginning to schedule surgeries, outpatient procedures admitting med-surgical patients, and resume outpatient services. Its been a difficult time, and physicians have suffered from declining practice visits and revenue as well.

The public is skittish and has gotten the message, for the most part, about preventing community spread. While the reopening of the economy is beginning, poll after poll indicates that the public desires a slower reopening of the economy. And, for better or worse, the hospital is a big part of the local economy.

Now consider this for a moment.

Image by fernando zhiminaicela fromPixabay
For weeks now, the hospital has been messaging COVID-19 information, hospital status, canceling inpatient, and outpatient services except for emergencies and telling people to stay home, stay safe.

Many a hospital have imaged and messaged around their staff as essential employees and first responders.

People have virtually stopped seeing primary care physicians for routine medical needs out of fear of contracting COVID-19. When they did call the physician to schedule the appointment, the patient experienced a whole new set of processes and activities taking place to get the patient safety into the practice, seen and out the door.


And the implications are for hospital marketing?

It is not the pre-pandemic fluffy feel-good messages and all our locations to serve you in the area. Call now to get an appointment. And that is a big messaging mistake that I am beginning to see in print and broadcast media for hospitals. Messaging that the pandemic has magically disappeared, never happened, and all is well.

Pre-pandemic marketing and messages are incongruous with what the patient and healthcare consumer feel. It is not opportunistic marketing. It is damaging the hospital brand and squandering, by using old marketing messages and positioning, the goodwill, and trust built up during the more active phases of the pandemic.

What should be the marketing message?

Image by Robin Higgins from Pixabay

The new marketing message builds on moving forward from the pandemic, the new reality of healthcare, not about business as usual. It’s about continuing to engage the patient and community and educating them on what the new healthcare experience will be and what to expect. COVID-19 is not a one-time event. Government officials and epidemiologists are already sounding the alarm on COVID-19 returning in the fall.  Reports of rising COVID-19 cases in states that have reopened to some extent are beginning.

Now is the time to expand in the foundation of trust and transparency the hospital established during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The task now is to convince people that you can bring them safely back to the hospital and physicians for treatment. In the process, allying the fears and keeping engagement at a high level that references the goodwill and trust built up over the last few weeks. Using pre-pandemic marketing and messaging is tone-deaf and bad optics. All is not well in healthcare.  Doubt and fear are still present.

The patient and community know what up and expect the hospital to respond accordingly.  Now the marketing message is to bring them back in light of the new reality of healthcare, not the old.

The hospitals, physicians, and healthcare experience will never again be the way it was. Stop trying to make it so because the optics are killing your brand.

Michael is a healthcare business, marketing, communications strategist, and thought leader. As an internationally followed healthcare strategy blogger, his blog, Healthcare Marketing Matters is read in 52 countries and is listed on the 100 Top Healthcare Marketing Blogs & Websites ranked at No. 3 on the list by Feedspot.com. Michael is a Life Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives. An expert in healthcare marketing strategy, digital marketing, and social media, Michael is in the top 10 percent of social media experts nationwide and is considered an established influencer. For inquiries regarding strategic consulting engagements, email me at michael@themichaeljgroup.com. Connect with me on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Opinions expressed are my own.

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

Monday, May 4, 2020

How Will You Manage the Hospital Patient Experience Post COVID-19?


As of May 3, 2020, the United States reported 1,185,167 Coronavirus cases, 68,495 deaths, and 178,219 recovered (source worldometer). These are sobering statistics regardless of where you are in the political spectrum. Even more sobering when you see the worldwide toll COVID-19 has taken.


The point is that COVID-19 has changed the healthcare experience for everyone.

While there is an understanding that COVID-19 is not a normal situation, the impacts are profound and lasting. As hospitals develop their marketing plans for a post-pandemic world, special attention needs to be paid to the patient experience.

With all-hands-on-deck for the influx of Coronavirus patient with a highly contagious disease, cancellations of surgery, outpatient services, etc., was the norm.  People have also delayed going to the doctor for treatment for a variety of reasons. Anecdotally, I am hearing that physician's office visits for primary care are down 50-60 percent.

All this points to a surge in "normal" healthcare procedures and services that have been put off. And how those services are experienced and delivered will be much different from the introduction into the experience of COVID-19 precautions in place to stop community spread.

What is in place now is a different healthcare normal, with patients and families unprepared for the changing healthcare treatment journey and experience.

Hospitals have had to engage more closely and meaningfully with patients, families, and the community. In many ways, a new engagement standard has been established that needs to carry over into the marketing efforts in a post-COVID-19 world.

What I have seen in some initial marketing efforts in print and broadcast is like the pandemic never took place—recycled past brand messages and marketing missing the mark. It is almost Pollyannaish in nature to portray images and brand messages of what the experience was when that is no longer possible today.

Weeks have been spent communicating meaningfully and engaging on so many different levels, why would a hospital or health system squander those efforts?

There are over 147 touchpoints in the patient experience. All have been significantly impacted and changed. 

Failure to account for the new hospital experience in the hospital's marketing going forward will squander the goodwill of doctors and nurses that deliver care in the hospital seen as heroes.

Don't go back to the marketing of a few weeks ago. Include the changing experience in your marketing to manage the expectations of patients as successfully as you handled the experience and expectations of patients, families, and communities during the pandemic.

Michael is a healthcare business, marketing, communications strategist, and thought leader. As an internationally followed healthcare strategy blogger, his blog, Healthcare Marketing Matters, is read in 52 countries and is listed on the 100 Top Healthcare Marketing Blogs & Websites ranked at No. 3 on the list by Feedspot.com. Michael is a Life Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives. An expert in healthcare marketing strategy, digital marketing, and social media, Michael is in the top 10 percent of social media experts nationwide and is considered an established influencer. For inquiries regarding strategic consulting engagements, email me at michael@themichaeljgroup.com. Connect with me on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Opinions expressed are my own.

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