Showing posts with label #hcmtkg. Show all posts
Showing posts with label #hcmtkg. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

When Patients Begin Searching for Hospital Price Information, what is Your Response?

Beginning on January 1, 2021, patients should be able to search a hospital or health system website for the prices on 200 standard procedures. Mandated by CMS in 2020, the purpose was to provide a measure of price transparency for patients and consumers when seeking medical care.

Image by Niek Verlaan from Pixabay 

What happened?

In randomly searching the internet on hospitals and health systems websites for pricing information, I found a confusing maze of information.  In all cases, the ability to find and search the information was difficult at best. I know my way around a website, search terms, and the internet as a healthcare provider and vendor marketing professional.  If I have difficulty finding, searching, and using the information to decide, how is a consumer or patient?

Kudos to any hospital or health system that provided an experience that made the information easily accessible, searchable, and user-friendly.

I am sure that over time with prodding from CMS, the ability for a patient to search for a hospital or health systems website for pricing information on 200 standard procedures will improve and be easier to find, more user-friendly, with a better user experience.

Price transparency and a good user experience is not a question of if but when.

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

How is the healthcare organization preparing for the eventuality?

In answering the question, there are four strategic dimensions for managing the patient's price search for consideration. 

1.       Marketing Plan - How are you positioning the hospital and the newly available price and shoppable services information in the market, i.e., what the detailed marketing plan? 

2.       Engagement Plan - What are your key messages that need to be delivered to patients and the community? What channels- digital, social, and traditional will be used to provide the key messages? 

3.       Experience Plan - What are the training programs and Q&As created to equip the employees who will most likely face questions from patients and the community regarding your prices and shoppable services? 

4.       Crisis Communications Plan -What are the talking points you will use to defend higher prices in services than your competitors? What are your talking points when you decide to raise your lower process to those of a competitor?

These four dimensions of the patient price information puzzle are not an afterthought. They should foster a much-needed critical strategy discussion and tactical marketing execution in the age of price transparency.  As much as we would like, patient pricing information cannot be left to the "we'll deal with this if any questions come up" strategy, because we made it so difficult to find and use.  Pricing and shoppable service information is becoming a strategic imperative that is an essential part of the organizational, business, financial, marketing, patient engagement, and experience plans.

If it's not, then don't talk about how patient or consumer-focused you are; either walk the talk or don't talk.

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 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, you can email me at 

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The opinions expressed are my own.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

What does it take to implement a strategic healthcare social media program?

A lot of discussions occurs nearly every day regarding social media in healthcare.  Providers and some vendors still continue to lag in taking advantage of this channel for amplification of the brand message. The need for healthcare companies to actively use and mine the social media channels in reaching, engaging and influencing favorable decision and choices is no longer a nice to have but a business critical skill competency.

It’s easy to talk about the rationale and the importance of an effective and efficient social media program.  Or, to suggest social media channels as a starting point to drive engagement and business. It’s another thing to discuss the how you do it in a time of scarce marketing resources, lack of knowledge or the willingness to lead change.

What follows for your consideration are steps that need to be taken within providers and vendors to embark on an integrated and measurable social media program.

      1.   It starts with leadership. If marketing does not have Board, CEO and executive leadership support, it’s not going anywhere. Why, because it all about resource allocation and slaying some sacred cows.
2.       Improve the organizational marketing process. Let face it, we all do things that don’t make any sense or has become so ingrained we react without thinking. Take a step back and look at the marketing processes. Find efficiencies and increase effectiveness. Stop doing what doesn’t work and move those resources to social media.
3.       Find the one person in the organization that knows social media and put them full time on the job or hire someone.  It takes an FTE dedicated to run a successfully integrated, efficient, and engaging social media program.
4.       Commit to social media all the time. The challenge is to keep in front of your audience with relevant information, all the time.  Attention spans are short.  If someone sees no changes on a pretty regular basis in your content or information, they will fall away.
5.       Measure everything.  Evaluate.  Adjust based on your findings. Redeploy budget as needed.
6.       Use social media with brand evangelists, followers, customers, physicians, employees, etc., to communicate, build organizational support and loyalty.
7.       Develop a content plan and editorial calendar.
8.       Repurpose all content across social media channels.
9.        Make it interesting and about the challenges the organization is solving.  All about you is boring and glossed over.  All about your customer’s or patient’s and how you are helping will.
10.   In the end if the human resources are not available in the department, consider outsourcing the social media function.
The bottom line is that the multiple stakeholders and audiences are out in social media searching for answers.  So it is probably about time that the provider or vendor is where they are, not where they would like them to be.

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