Monday, May 3, 2021

Lessons from the Field – 3 Questions for Clarifying Healthcare Provider & Vendor Business Decisions

 

Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

I think a critical set of questions is left out of most healthcare provider and vendor business and marketing decisions. We all do our business, marketing, and strategic plans, trying our best to divine where the healthcare business environment is headed. Providers and vendors attempt to account for technological, care, regulatory, reimbursement, patient choice decisions, and unexpected innovation that disrupts an industry segment. We eye our competitors for weakness or emulate in some way.

Sometimes we take a strategic decision or take a marketing action simply because Modern Healthcare says so, attended a conference, seminar, or webinar, or a competitor took an unexpected direction and decided you needed to do that too. It could very well be because the CEO said so.

Often, we overlook asking the most basic of questions in all of our thinking and analysis, missing answers of strategic importance. While on paper and in our minds, it is all achievable, often, when things go off the rails in one or two parts of the plan, we scratch our heads in wonder with a perplexed look.

Why?

Because during the development of our strategies and plans, we didn't ask the fundamental question. The place for those questions is at the very beginning, not the middle, or the end of the process.

The 3 Whys Thinking Routine.

Image by Ross Mann from Pixabay
From what I have seen, I think it behooves us to begin using the three why's techniques before we embark on a new program or service.

Simply put, the three whys are an approach in clarifying the reasons for proceeding. The point is to quickly and efficiently vet the idea, program, or service before engaging organizational resources- time, staff, and budget developing a full-speed-ahead plan.

Speed kills.

It's one thing to have a clear and concise rationale for committing organizational resources in a rapidly evolving healthcare ecosystem. It is irrational to go full-speed-ahead when the stakes of survival are high without understanding the why.

Simplicity today can pay off big tomorrow.

It's not a coincidence that "why?" is a very simple question. It's an essential realization of the need to go a few layers deeper before doing important things. Whether it's expanding a service, adding new features, or creating a future business, clarity of thought is mission-critical. In case you're thinking, "cool, I can just ask why three times," you've got it wrong.   It does require some effort, consideration, and thought on your part. Honesty in answering doesn't hurt either—the first why question leads to a clarifying second why, then to the third clarifying why.

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

The three whys you should always ask.

·         Why do the program or service? 

·         Why might it matter to the market? 

·         Why your provider or vendor enterprise now?

Try the 3 Whys the next time you're thinking of making a big decision taking the time to explore a little deeper to see if you should continue moving forward or if you need to start from scratch. It may save you a lot of time, money, and headaches in the future.

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 influencer in healthcare marketing strategy, communications, digital marketing, and social media, Michael is in the top 10 percent of social media experts nationwide. For inquiries regarding strategic consulting engagements, you can email me at michael@themichaeljgroup.com. 

Connect with me on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok, Flipboard, and Triller. Use 815-351-0671 to message me on WhatsApp or Telegram for safe and secure end-to-end message encryption. Video conferencing available via Zoom, Goggle Hangouts, and for Skype use live:michael0753_2.

Signup for the e-newsletter Healthcare Marketing Daily and have the latest healthcare marketing and business news for providers and vendors delivered right to your mailbox daily. Add your email address in the signup in the blog sidebar. You will not receive additional general or specific marketing emails.

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

The opinions expressed are my own.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Lessons from the Field - How do You Use the Power of Thank You in Patient Experience?

 

Image by David Mark from Pixabay

Does the headline question have you thinking?

There is a more profound meaningful patient experience, engagement, and marketing activity for hospitals than meets the eye in the headline.

When was the last time one said thank you to the patient for trusting you with their care, treatment, and recovery? Hospitals have doctor, volunteer, and employee events to thank them for all their hard work. But those activities, for the most part, are annual and expected.

When was the last time your hospital thanked a patient, not through a community event or a patient satisfaction survey asking for a high score or a patient-focused event, but thanked them while they were still in the hospital?

And that is the difference.

We all read, hear and talk about the mission of the organization and it is essential. The mission is what drives the hospital. It's the true north compass point for interactions with employees, physicians, vendors, and patients.  But, seemingly, scant attention is paid to patients who, by their actions, have chosen the hospital for diagnosis or treatment and, by inference, support the mission of the social financially with self-pay, copays, and insurance payments.

A moment of truth.

Image by Colin Behrens from Pixabay
What prompted this blog post was something so simple as to leave a lasting impression. The other day I needed to donate some articles. I could have chosen any number of charities but decided to go to Goodwill. After being handed a receipt for the items, the individual looked at me and said, "Thank you for supporting the mission of Goodwill." It wasn't trite. It wasn't practiced. It was genuine, and he looked me in the eye when he said it.

It was powerful.

That simple act of thank you tied to the mission left an indelible impression.  The thought hit me that I never remember when a thank you was spoken in my hospital patient experience. Let alone tied to the mission of the hospital.  We mention mission at the annual and quarterly events, publications, and plaques in the hallways but not at all interactions.

Think about that for a moment.

At every interaction and touchpoint with the individual's use of a hospital, it is an opportunity to express gratitude and reinforce the mission of what the hospital is all about.

It's a moment of truth carried out one person at a time.

Image by Sozavisimost form Pixabay
The next time you think about saying thank you because the calendar says it's a special recognition month or an organizational habit of annually doing something in a particular period, think about the mission and moments of truth that happens every day.

It may be simple, but it's an excellent way to build engagement with your patients, their families, and visitors, as well as build the brand and brand evangelists.

When was the last time you said thank you to your patients for supporting the organizational mission?  Remember, it's not the extensive program that matters in patient experience and engagement; it can be the simple act of saying thank you that will make the difference.

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 influencer in healthcare marketing strategy, communications, digital marketing, and social media, Michael is in the top 10 percent of social media experts nationwide. For inquiries regarding strategic consulting engagements, you can email me at michael@themichaeljgroup.com. 

Connect with me on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok, Flipboard, and Triller. Use 815-351-0671 to message me on WhatsApp or Telegram for safe and secure end-to-end message encryption. Video conferencing available via Zoom, Goggle Hangouts, and for Skype use live:michael0753_2.

Signup for the e-newsletter Healthcare Marketing Daily and have the latest healthcare marketing and business news for providers and vendors delivered right to your mailbox daily. Add your email address in the signup in the blog sidebar. You will not receive additional general or specific marketing emails.

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

The opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, April 19, 2021

Lessons from the Field – Five Ways Artificial Intelligence Will Change Provider & Vendor Marketing

 

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Everybody talks about Artificial Intelligence (AI), but what does that mean for the healthcare provider and vendor marketing? AI is already with us as a part of our everyday lives; look at Alexi, Siri, Google Home, and Cortana. These devices already know what we want and assist us in navigating a complex world at home, at work, and in our play. They help us search for medical services and vendors who provide medical products and services.

If you think about it, AI will have a profound effect on how hospitals anticipate the needs of and engage with patients and how vendors create a new prospect journey independent of sales.

At some point, direct contact with an individual, be it a physician, clinician, or salesperson, will come into play, as human touch will always be needed. But for sales, prospecting for new customers will become less about cold calling and existing client referrals, to responding to well-developed leads uncovered by the buyer's behavior and need, based on more data than anyone can synthesize in near real-time.

If you consider the advantages of AI in managing the engagement and experience of the patient or prospect journey, then marketing moves from the realm of interruptive marketing for creating awareness and value to driving interest with more compelling content and digital strategies that drive patient experience and engagement.

While on the other side of the healthcare marketing AI dime for vendors, prospects are not merely just someone looking for something, but become engaged, gaining an understanding of the value you offer and how well your product or service meets their needs. After all, isn't that three-quarter of the struggle sales face every day?

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Healthcare provider and vendor marketing will change in the following five ways. 

1.       AI will streamline marketing and make it more efficient. With AI all around us in apps, chatbots, and content marketing, think of how it will transform the patient and prospect customer experience (CX) interaction and journey. 

2.       AI will allow marketing to delve deeper than ever before into the persona and psyche of the target individual. AI is the ultimate individualized personalization of the digital experience, engagement, and content. Consider Google Duplex, an AI tool that can make phone calls on your behalf, book appointments, and even make restaurant reservations in specific situations. 

3.       AI marketing will help marketers create new workflows, optimize marketing spending, ease content creation, augment product feeds with image recognition, drive predictive analytics and create powerful new marketing strategies.  

4.       AI applications will be used with a highly targeted digital advertisement strategy at the precise moment when a patient's or prospect's behavior indicates that they are most likely to need healthcare services or to be interested in purchasing your product or service.  

5.       AI will force a shake-out of the provider and vendor healthcare market to eliminate those providers and vendors who cannot recognize, adapt, change and implement AI in their marketing and sales efforts.

Image by George Tudor from Pixabay

For some time now, marketers have looked to the day when AI marketing tools, big data, and machine learning become part of our everyday lives. That day is here, and it's taking over marketing in forward-thinking companies.

The new question for healthcare marketing becomes, as AI technology grows and evolves, are you ready to reshape your provider or vendor marketing strategy?

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 influencer in healthcare marketing strategy, communications, digital marketing, and social media, Michael is in the top 10 percent of social media experts nationwide. For inquiries regarding strategic consulting engagements, you can email me at michael@themichaeljgroup.com. 

Connect with me on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok, Flipboard, and Triller. Use 815-351-0671 to message me on WhatsApp or Telegram for safe and secure end-to-end message encryption. Video conferencing available via Zoom, Goggle Hangouts, and for Skype use live:michael0753_2.

Signup for the e-newsletter Healthcare Marketing Daily and have the latest healthcare marketing and business news for providers and vendors delivered right to your mailbox daily. Add your email address in the signup in the blog sidebar. You will not receive additional general or specific marketing emails.

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

The opinions expressed are my own.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Lessons from the Field – We’re Patient-Focused, But……

 
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

For several years now, hospitals and other providers have marketed to patients that they are patient-focused using any number of brand tag lines. Cleaver and memorable in most cases, the brand taglines, in a few short marketing communications messages, hit various marketing channels. You can replace healthcare providers with vendors and patient-focused with customer-focused for the same result.

I am not writing today about how you become patient or customer-focused. Previous blog posts have addressed the characteristics and mechanics of what it takes to be patient or customer-focused. If you are interested, you can read “Patient & Customer Centricity is Culture-Driven, Not Program Driven” http://bit.ly/2PVtRLW, and Your Definitive Guide for Making a Hospital Patient-focused in a Pandemic World https://bit.ly/2Go5Ri5.”

Today is more concerning what does it mean to say you are patient or customer-focused. And in saying “we’re patient or customer-focused,” what does that mean in the context of strategic planning and business decisions you make.

Having worked for both providers and vendors locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally, the lesson about placing a line-in-the-sand internally and externally regarding patient and customer-centricity are many. Those lessons are summarized this way.

Image by Gred Altmann from Pixabay

We’re Patient Focused.

But

The 200 standard procedure searchable pricing information mandated by CMS is hidden and hard to find on the website.

We’re Patient Focused.

But

Communication with patients, employees, physicians, or customers are inconsistent and unclear.

We’re Patient Focused.

But

You don’t provide continuous meaningful information and training internally on service excellence.

We’re Patient Focused.

But

Have no interest in creating the culture or organizational structures, policies, and procedures to be patient-focused.

We’re Patient Focused.

But

We have to tell you to rate us high on any patient or customer satisfaction survey.

We’re Patient Focused.

But

We don’t consistently communicate clearly with family and friends.

We’re Patient Focused.

But

When it’s time to pay the bill, you’ll be left on your own to figure out our programs.

We’re Patient Focused.

But

We won’t create the options to access more convenient and accessible care based on your schedule.

We’re Patient Focused.

But

Make our resource allocation and staffing decisions for our convenience and needs, not yours.

We’re Patient Focused. It means you don’t get to pick when you’re patient-focused.

Image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay
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 influencer in healthcare marketing strategy, communications, digital marketing, and social media, Michael is in the top 10 percent of social media experts nationwide. For inquiries regarding strategic consulting engagements, you can email me at michael@themichaeljgroup.com. 

Connect with me on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok, Flipboard, and Triller.

Signup for the e-newsletter Healthcare Marketing Daily and have the latest healthcare marketing and business news for providers and vendors delivered right to your mailbox daily. Add your email address in the signup in the blog sidebar. You will not receive additional general or specific marketing emails.

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

The opinions expressed are my own.