Monday, July 26, 2021

COVID-19 Wave Four- The Hospitals Role in Vaccinating the Unvaccinated – 9 Strategies

COVID-19 vaccine image by Torstensimon from Pixabay

Having made it through three waves of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, hospitals in many parts of the country are now facing a rapidly growing fourth wave of COVID-19 patients, the unvaccinated.

While there is always discussion about the hospital’s role in a public health crisis, in leading the mitigation efforts, or follow the advice of public health officials at the Federal, State, and local, the size as a percentage of the population of the anti-vaxxers have added new complexity to the pandemic.

There are many reasons, with the most often repeated by anti-vaxxers is distrust of the government, fueled by the disinformation 12, anti-vaxxers, and conspiracy theorists.  

If the hospital sits back as a background player, then the risk of the hospital being overrun with COVID cases is very real and impacts inpatient admissions for non-COVID illnesses, surgery, ambulatory services, again threatening survival.

But the hospital with the primary care physician is the community trusted source of vaccine information. More importantly, the hospital and primary care physicians are not the government which is highly mistrusted.

Motivational image by Bluebudgie from Piaxabay

It is in the hospital’s self-interest to lead the vaccination effort to vaccinate the unvaccinated by: 

·         Leading the community public health vaccination effort. 

·         Being the credible and trusted source of COVID-19 vaccination truth.

·         Mobilize the independent and hospital-employed primary care physicians to vaccinate patients. 

·         Continuous, efficient, and effective patient and community engagement.

It’s not over until it’s over.

As much as we all want the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic to be over so we can return to some semblance of past normalcy, the facts indicate it will not happen anytime soon.  As reported daily, the Delta variant of COVID-19 continues to spread unabated, creating hot spots overwhelming healthcare resources.

Back in March 2020, I wrote about the steps hospitals needed to take in the communities to begin to get ahead of the pandemic.  One of the most pressing issues faced by hospital leaders is sustaining leadership and engagement gains.  Hospitals are working to return as best they can to what life was like pre-pandemic, and rightfully so. But in doing so, the trust, leadership, credibility, and engagement gains have fallen to the wayside and become secondary.

In light of the scientific ignorance and anti-vaccine information about the dangers and prevention of COVID-19, it falls to the hospital to work actively to make a difference and slow as best they can a resurgence.

Steps image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Nine ongoing marketing and public relations steps hospitals and health systems to take: 

1.       Change the focus of your website from preventing COVID-10 infection to getting vaccinated. 

2.       Change your marketing for the time being from bringing patients back to vaccination first. 

3.       Use social media for continuous communication for updates on the hospitals or health systems vaccination activities and the individual’s role in slowing the resurgence. 

4.       Engage your local media with active public relations as the trusted information source ad for being vaccinated. 

5.       Work with local businesses, social service agencies, and provide the tools to take the actions needed to slow the resurgence. 

6.       Be vigilant and monitor the stupid communications, rumors, and misinformation in the community related to the vaccine, create and distribute statements to correct the misinformation. 

7.       Update the educational information sheets on the Delta variant and vaccine availability for use in the community with churches, schools, libraries, community groups, first responders, etc., for material distribution. 

8.       Get your independent and hospital-employed primary care doctors to lead the anti-vaxxer vaccination effort. 

9.       Be the trusted and reliable source of news and information in your community related to the Coronavirus.

This can be seen as the medicalization of a social problem, the fact remains, with such misinformation and distrust of the government, if the hospital with primary care physicians doesn’t participate, then you already know what the outcome will be from experience.

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 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 call directly or message me on WhatsApp or Telegram for safe and secure end-to-end message encryption. Video conferencing is available via Zoom and for  Skype; please 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, July 19, 2021

Lessons from the Pandemic – Using Primary Care Physicians to Reach the Unvaccinated


Woman physician image by Daniel Damn outsideclick from Pixabay

Let’s face it, the current efforts by local, state, and federal governments are falling way short of the target number of vaccinations needed to reach community herd immunity. While availability and access of the COVID-19 vaccines are widely available, convenient, and free,  the efforts by anti-vaxxers, science deniers, conspiracy theorists and disinformation 12 continue to gain followers and support.

While many efforts are underway to reverse the trend, from state lotteries, free giveaways, public relations, etc., it’s just not working. Now comes the finger-pointing and blame game focusing on the social media tech giants as the source of the problem by allowing COVID-19 misinformation to be shared.

What hospitals and health systems are now facing as the COVID Delta variant spreads like wildfire, as society opens up, is the fourth wave of the pandemic, that of the unvaccinated.

It’s time to stop blaming third parties and adjust the strategy, distribution, tactics, and messages to get the unvaccinated vaccinated.

Think of it this way; if your marketing and business strategy didn’t have the desired result, you’d figure it out and probably change or tinker around the edges, the strategy, message, tactics, and channels to achieve the desired result.

While you can get vaccinated for free at nearly any pharmacy, grocery store chain, mass vaccination center, as a walk-in, the unvaccinated are not going to take advantage of that. You can have all the public health officials and politicians in the world pontificating on vaccinations; the messages fall on deaf ears.

Enter the independent primary care physician and hospital-employed primary care physician.

All levels of government have ignored primary care physicians as a source of trusted Coronavirus information and active location vaccine distribution.

Vaccine vial image by Spencer Davis from Pixabay 

If you want to vaccinate the unvaccinated, then you go where they are, using their trusted source for information and vaccinations. That trusted source is the primary care physician. It’s not the government or politicians, public health officials, or media mavens parroting what others say.

As they say in politics all the time on important issues, which I have adapted, “it’s the primary care physician.” People more than anything else trust their primary care physician.

I recommend that it is time to change the focus of current vaccination efforts and pivot to grassroots marketing techniques in partnership with primary care physicians independent and hospital-employed to reach and get the unvaccinated vaccinated.

For your consideration, seven primary care grassroots marketing tips to reach and vaccinate the unvaccinated. 

Person considering image by Gerd Altmann form Pixabay

1.       Use emotional triggers to spread the word that primary care physicians now have the vaccine and see your trusted doctor for the real story. 

2.       Create a PR buzz on social media. People are on social media and can where they can be found, period.  Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok, Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram, and other social media platforms are where the efforts are needed.  You need to be creative and attention-getting. 

3.       Be ready to capitalize on trending topics. Part of the grassroots campaign is to dispel as quickly as possible harmful or dangerous COVID-19 information using the primary care physician.

4.       Get creative with ambient ads. Ambient advertisements are ads that run in unusual locations or in a unique way. These ads stop people in their tracks, making them one of the most compelling examples of grassroots marketing. 

5.       Use tear-off flyers. I know that is old school, but it works, and this is where the partnership can come in between the primary care doctor, hospital, and local business. Tear-off flyers are cheap and effective, even with the cost of colored ink and perforation to spread the word. Be creative with the design, messaging, and offer. 

6.       Since social media and social sharing are crucial components of grassroots marketing, you will have to rely on word-of-mouth. People trust the recommendations of family, friends, and other people they know.  Incentivize your “influencers” to share on social media and in social settings. Times are desperate, and there is no longer any safe or middle ground in the pandemic. The key here is not to be tone-deaf or insensitive with the message or optics. 

7.       Direct messaging. Take word-of-mouth and social media efforts further and get active with direct messaging (DM) texts and content to enhance communication. If you find the same people engaging with your posts or those of your influencers, send them a message.

Current methods for outreach to vaccinate people are failing. It’ time to step back, make a change, and go where the unvaccinated reside, work, play and seek medical care.

If you don’t change the approach, message, and tactics by adding in the primary care physician, whether independent or hospital-employed, get ready for the reinstitution of gathering restrictions and closings again.   And that is something no one wants.

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 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 call directly or message me on WhatsApp or Telegram for safe and secure end-to-end message encryption. Video conferencing is available via Zoom and for  Skype; please 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.

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Lessons from the Field: Marketing to Physicians- Learning from Pharma, the Untapped Potential of Using EHRs

Image by ganderboy from Pixabay

Marketing to physicians is hard. It is tough to reach physicians trying your mightiest to get that elusive appointment for face-to-face selling. Then came the pandemic, and it became nearly impossible. One segment of the vendor healthcare market hit particularly hard was revenue cycle management (RCM) vendors. These companies battle among the thousands of local mom-and-pop billing and coding shops and the national behemoths. Competition in the healthcare vendor segment is primarily price-driven and can be considered in many ways that billing and coding are commodities.

So how can an RCM break through this loggerhead?

You need to get the physician's attention in the right marketing channel, with the right message, the first time.

Image by Sammie Mendes from Pixabay

Getting the attention of physicians and practice leaders can seem like a nearly impossible task for business development executives. At the same time, cold calling sometimes works and requires a significant amount of luck; it's mostly an activity that is a waste of time and effort but makes senior leadership happy because they continually confuse activity with the outcome.

Marketing does what it can, pulling data from the sales CRM and using the marketing MAP, creating content, emails, social media, webinars, co-sponsorships with associations, trade shows, thought leadership, etc. But even those efforts need a refresh.

I have always believed that some of the greatest and successful marketing comes from learning from other industries, adapting and applying those lessons to your current effort. It's akin to a blue ocean strategy. Sometimes, you must get past the egos and "I know all the answers" senior leadership to go forth in a new direction.

Luckily for you, another healthcare industry heavily vested in direct-to-physician marketing has made significant progress and success in getting in front of the physician and opening doors.

We need to learn from pharmaceutical marketing to get in front of docs to get those elusive face-to-face business development meetings.

You need to learn, adapt, adjust your marketing budget, create new marketing plans, and focus on executing in the new age of direct to physician marketing.

The new age is not your traditional channels of email, social media, LinkedIn, trade shows, webinars, content, and other traditional marketing activities; you will still need many of those marketing activities but on a lesser scale.

The marketing channel you're missing is utilizing the physician's Electronic Medical Record to get your relevant messages and generate the high-value Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) for business development. What you are doing is shifting a significant portion of your RCM marketing budget (if you're lucky enough to have one) to digital.

Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

You will reach the physicians at the point of care with your messages within their telemedicine applications and EHRs.

Many of these EHRs and telemedicine systems that physicians use allow text messaging and banner ads direct to physicians at the point of care.

A word of caution.

If you think you can add this into your marketing mix as part of a broader campaign, you will be doomed to fail. Using point-of-care technology is not about general messaging as you would on LinkedIn or a banner ad, or even a print advertisement where physicians gather. Using point-of-care technology is about precision campaign messaging. Business rules are created and applied to each campaign that enables ads to appear within the context of care.

The messaging is not about what you do for them, but how you can free the physician from the administrative burden of billing, coding, collection, deductibles, etc.  Your messages must have relevance and contextual perspective. You are releasing the physician or group practice to spend more time doing what they were trained to do, and that is practice medicine, not be an administrator.

Point of care RCM messaging is not easy by any means. The effort will require new partnerships and marketing tools to create and execute. It's not as simple as just using Salesforce or HubSpot to manage. It will take expertise and capability that may not exist within the RCM. It will take a budget too.

What you must decide I between the choice of whether you want the same-old-same-oh approach to reaching physicians or acknowledge that the pandemic has changed everything and new ways to break through are needed.

And that means taking risks, breaking from the past, and leveraging new digital marketing channels and opportunities to grow the RCM using EHRs and telemedicine applications to reach the physician at the point of care.

Your choice. The market waits for no one.

Thank you for reading, and please consider sharing.

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 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 call directly or message me on WhatsApp or Telegram for safe and secure end-to-end message encryption. Video conferencing is available via Zoom and for  Skype; please 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, July 5, 2021

Lessons from the Field: Mid-Year Eval of the Hospital Marketing Plan - 9 Questions

 

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

It seems like the year just started. Now you're at the mid-point of executing the hospital marketing plan, so it's time to look at how it has gone. I know you do the monthly reporting, but this isn't about individual months' performance but a more analytic and subjective holistic evaluation of how well the plan performed to expectations, what unexpected changes you had to make, where the next six months are headed.

It's a tall order but a necessary evil. We all like to think about our prowess as marketing planners and the ability to execute. However, we can all be lulled into the "it's the plan, so we have to do it mentality" or are on autopilot with social media tweets and other posts driven by prescheduling with marketing automation.

Besides, we are coming out of the pandemic with vaccination challenges and the Delta variant of COVID-19. The last 19 months saw a transformation of how care was delivered, from patient and consumer acceptance of telemedicine to choosing alternative sites for care other than hospital-based services. We have also learned that patients are not so quick to come back to accessing care the way it was.

During the summer months, what is now required is a revaluation, making changes for the next few months, and thinking about 2022.

Image by Dean Moriarty from Pixabay

Nine questions for the midyear marketing plan evaluation. 

1.       Start the conversation with these questions. What has changed- effort, patient, channels, or tactics? What worked and what didn't" Are we staying on budget? Have we met patient acquisition or revenue target goals? 

2.       Do a content refresh and revise your inventory. Update your content inventory with fresh material or timely revisions. What kind of analytics/traction is each content piece getting? Are those CTA's as compelling as they could be? 

3.       Update your website. Add new visual content, influencer reviews, and patient testimonials. 

4.       Deep dive on the data.  The C-suite loves metrics! Focus on four areas: website page views, content downloads, social shares, new physician appointments, conversion rates, and patient service reviews posted in Goggle and other sites. 

5.       Spot the missed opportunities. Were there events, sponsorships, or print/digital communication opportunities that fell off your radar? 

6.       Check out the competition. What content are competitors distributing? What's on their website? What's the social media buzz from communities and patients?  

7.       Check-in with your influencer strategy. Decision-makers depend on influencers. Are you reaching them through appropriate channels with spot-on content? Do you need to expand your influencer base? 

8.       Check-in with senior management, finance, and strategic planning You need to know any changes in the next six months in operational, financial, and strategic plan changes and adjust accordingly. 

9.       Grade your marketing plan. What grade would you give yourself at this point? Do your 3rd and 4th quarter activities make sense in light of your check-up or is a change in order?

Doing a mid-year hospital marketing plan evaluation and check-up is the surest way to ensure that you meet the targets and goals and stay in front of senior management as they begin thinking about 2022.

Thank you for reading and please consider sharing on social media.

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 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.