Insights on Healthcare Marketing

The True Power of Social Media in Medical Marketing

“Pro-sumers” turn to the Web for almost every purchasing decision in their lives, and they no longer see healthcare as being any different.  Increasingly, the burden of healthcare costs is shifting from employers to individuals.  And because they are paying more out of their own pockets, they are also spending more time scrutinizing their healthcare decisions. Yes, they want a qualified doctor. But you know what?  More and more, physicians, especially younger ones, are board-certified and fellowship trained.  That’s become an equalizer.  So now, the consumer is thinking if you and the five other doctors in my community have the same training, what is it about you?  Is it your volume?  Your service?  The way you care for your patients?  How you call a patient back?

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Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer Paddles Dragon Boat for first time

Saturday in Orlando at the Orlando Rowing Club, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer joined the Warriors on Water Pink Dragon Boat team for a an hour's practice.  Lots of benefits of fitness and wellness for all.  Engaging the city of Orlando with a dragon boat which is a gift of Women Playing for TIME is another way to raise awareness about defeating cancer as it affects women, their families and friends.  See marketing comes in many packages - even on Lake Fairview on a Saturday morning.

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Throw away the cookie cutters. The 4th A: Accomodation

Today’s “pro-sumer” patients expect that you will accommodate them.  They want convenience and genuine concern for their well-being – someone who understands their unique, individual challenges and makes it easy to get the personalized care they need. They don’t want cookie-cutter care.  They want customization. They want to feel engaged and personally recognized during the time they are connected with your practice. So with all the demands on your practice, how can you take the time to provide more customized care? I would argue it is not so much a matter of time, but an attitude of consideration and thoughtfulness.

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Social Media in Healthcare is NOT a Fad

Marc Middleton and I had a wonderful audience this week at the FL MGMA State Meeting in Orlando.  We enjoyed a brave and progressive group who wanted to learn and discuss social media and healthcare.  

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The Buck Stops Here — Accountability

So you have taken steps to increase access and availability?  What’s next?  The 3rd A -- Accountability. Patients want someone who will take responsibility and provide accurate answers and explanations. Typically, they are already anxious and under stress when they turn to you. Often, they are experiencing a health problem. They have questions and concerns, and are looking to you and your staff for answers and solutions. They don’t want to get passed from one person to another. They expect leadership, assistance and guidance in navigating what can be a complex maze.  One example of how many healthcare providers are addressing the need for accountability is the rise in care coordinators or care teams.

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Taking Action Part II — Improving Availability

In my last two posts, I talked about the 4 A’s of effective medical marketing today – access, availability, accountability and accommodation. Today, let’s delve more into #2 – availability and how you can incorporate it into your practice or organization. Availability Do you offer convenient appointment times?  How long do your patients typically wait both to secure an appointment and in the office?  Are your physicians and staff approachable and easy to talk to?  Do they handle phone calls in an unhurried and compassionate manner?

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The Fifth A: Action

In my last post I talked about the 4 A’s – access, availability, accountability and accommodation – and how they have become the cornerstones of a successful medical practice.  Now it’s time for the fifth A – action – how to incorporate these elements into your medical practice or organization.  First up, access. Access Patients want to be able to easily reach the highest level of care available when they need it, where they need it. And they want the freedom to choose and be involved in decisions about their care. Access is the primary reason behind the explosion in “walk-in” clinics. These businesses have capitalized on the simple fact that many patients could not get access to their regular physicians in a time they felt was reasonable.

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From the 4 P’s to the 4 A’s

Like it or not, healthcare today is a business.  And what many physicians once resisted – marketing and communicating to meet the needs of their patients/customers – is now an essential part of your everyday business.  Any basic business marketing book or course will talk about the “four P’s” – product, price, place and promotion. And these elements are still the building blocks of any successful enterprise. However, what today’s patients or “pro-sumers” believe they want, deserve and expect has really become the driving force in healthcare purchasing decisions. Service has become an increasingly important part of the “product” physicians provide, and healthcare has become will become an even more competitive marketplace.

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Looking Forward to FL MGMA State Conference

Marc Middleton and I are preparing for the FL MGMA state wide conference on April 20th. We are sharing our views on social media and healthcare. It is what our patients do when not in our offices. I believe as health care providers we need to practice high quality medicine, engage our patients so they participate in their healthcare, and we need to communicate with them as they communicate on a daily basis.

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The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same

From time to time, I often reflect on my 25+ years of advising physicians about how to market their practices.  And lately, I believe the old adage, “the more things change, the more they stay the same,” is ringing true. Sure, healthcare has changed a lot since the 1980’s, and those of you who work in the front lines of practicing medicine or managing a healthcare practice or organization live these changes everyday, from increased government regulations to lower reimbursements to explosions in technology.  Never mind healthcare reform and the impact it may have.

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