Healthcare Marketing In A Competitive Market

The return on investment for marketing, especially healthcare, can not only be difficult to measure, but also difficult to track. It may be a year or more before the payoff occurs. In a competitive market it is essential that your name be constantly in front of the public and physicians.

But does it have to be high dollar? Yes and no. For a formal program , the effective "dollar" amount is typically in the $150,000 and up range. One program that I worked with spent $1 million a year just on one program to a rural market of 750,000. Another program spent $3 million in one year with a new competitor entering the picture. Another program capitalized on the name by hiring several people to create "touch" or contacting marketing.

I believe that many persons in your market can name you as a health care provider, but adding the personal touch and creating the relationships with physicians, payers, and the public will be the new decisive model.

Next level of marketing to be combined with personal touch? e-healthcare. Check out this web site for some ideas:

Healthcare Driving The Economy?

At what point do we change the delivery of health care. In 2007 costs were over $4.2 trillion or 17% of the GNP - $7900 per person. That is also a lot of jobs.

The problem that is being debated today is at what level do you stop? Do you adopt a system like Oregon did and pay down only to a certain cost/diagnosis? Do you limit like some countries by the "controllable" behaviors (no care for the obese or smokers)? Age a factor - unless it is your family? Is i the cost of technology and pharmaceuticals. I propose that it is some of everything.

The proposal that is currently being worked on proposes healthcare for all - but what exactly does that mean? Just like the economy, it will not sustained forever at the types of levels that many expect. What is not being addressed is the fact that after age 65 the cost of health care per person doubles.

Costs Per Person (2005) $4,082
Costs Per Person Under Age 65: $3,239
Costs Per Person Aged 45 to 64: $5,233
Costs Per Person For Aged 65+: $9,074

You tell me the answer - I do not believe it can be solved quickly. I also know that without an answer the cost will continue to rise unchecked.


Healthcare Reform : It'll Bring A Smile By Stephen Ambrose, CIO for SubroShare Program

I could not resist this one! I wish I had thought of it. From LinkedIn!

Apparently the American Medical Association has weighed in on the new healthcare reform package.... The Allergists voted to scratch it, but the Dermatologists advised not to make any rash moves. The Gastroenterologists had sort of a gut feeling about it, but the Neurologists thought the Administration had a lot of nerve. The Obstetricians felt they were all laboring under a misconception. Ophthalmologists considered the idea shortsighted Pathologists yelled, "Over my dead body!" while the Pediatricians said, 'Oh, Grow up!' The Psychiatrists thought the whole idea was madness, while the Radiologists could see right through it. Surgeons decided to wash their hands of the whole thing. The Internists thought it was a bitter pill to swallow, and the Plastic Surgeons said, "This puts a whole new face on the matter." The Podiatrists thought it was a step forward, but the Urologists were pissed off at the whole idea. The Anesthesiologists thought the whole idea was a gas, and the Cardiologists didn't have the heart to say no.

Wellness And Prevention - The Next Cost Savings For Business?

Prevention is a boon to business, to the individual and families. 19% of total deaths are attributed to tobacco use. Another 14% are attributed to diet and activity. 50% of total deaths are attributed to changeable behaviors!

In 20008 and dollar terms, gross health care expenditure will rise by an average of $526 per employee, to an average total cost of $9,144. Notably, the survey results suggest that the average cost increase would have been closer to 8%, or about $200 per employee more, if not for
employer efforts to aggressively manage benefit program performance.

Key elements to a comprehensive and an effective Health And Wellness Program, that does not have to be particularly costly are:
  • Health testing
  • Physical fitness activities
  • Lifestyle and behavioral change strategies
  • Prevention and safety strategies
  • Awareness, Health education and support strategies
  • Stress reliever strategies
  • Disease management strategies

What does the employer get out of this? Cost savings are demonstrated by:

  1. Improved productivity (less absenteeism, improved moral, and reduced turnover)
  2. Lower health care costs (depending on how you calculate - Return of $3 to $25 for every $1 per employee annually)
  3. Enhanced coporate and community image

Health And Human Services in the 2010 Healthy People

Women's Healthcare Because Women Are Different

Major strides have been made in a focus on women's health. The major change occurred, in my opinion when women were included in the Framingham Study for heart disease. This created what women always knew, we are different and have different needs. In the United States, the female mortality rates continue to decline in the number one killer of women - heart disease, but not as quickly as males. Many of the new genetic testings that are available should impact the other causes of death and create an acute awareness to maintain vigilance in screening tests and red flags to physician providers. Early care and early access are the key to reducing mortality rates and good health for the individual.

Physician Referral Relationships - Hospitalists

In the May/June edition of CV Business, I discuss "Increased Hospitalist Use Threatens Referral Patterns. In my consulting efforts, I was seeing a phenomenon of increased dependency of the specialists on the emergency department for new patients and the lack of interaction between the specialist and the primary care physicians. Both groups have expressed concerns that overall patient volumes and new patients had declined. Peer relationships are critical to physician practices. Want to read more? See CV Business Article Source:

Want additional considerations?
Professional Referral Marketing: Four Cornerstones and Eight Fatal Errors, By Stewart Gandolf, MBA & Lonnie Hirsch

Electronic Health Records - Will It Really Happen?

Until there is a mandate on the electronic health records (EHR), it will not happen. Only 1.5% of nonfederal hospitals have a comprehensive program; less than 10% have basic programs. I picture a system that is similar to the Veteran Administration program and Medicare billing (both well coordinated) with various vendors. It does boggle the mind when you realize what is involved, and just thinking about all the various components that have to be coordinated to make it work. How do you make it work when there are five different hospital systems in one town - not even thinking about the big picture? Essential? Yes! Happening tomorrow? Not unless mandated and coordinated.

Data source: “Still low tech - EHR adoption rates remain low: study by Joseph Conn, in Modern Healthcare, March 30, 2009, page 9.

When Was The Last Time The Plan Was Reviewed?

Volumes have fallen flat, there are not enought resources, things are just stale. Well, take the business plan off the shelf, blow off the dust, and really take a hard look at where you are and where you are going. Many business plans today are geared to the fiscal year and are more initiatives and action items than a real strategic plan. How do you know if you have a comprenhensive strategic plan and if it is up to date?

  • Do you have a formal vision or goal?

  • Are the key stakeholders engaged for implmenetation?

  • Does the plan address the whole spectrum of business?

Obama And The Impact Of Technology

Hospitals and businesses are always looking for a way to reduce costs. It is so frustrating to not be able to find the person or paper work that we need. It is always about communication and why the push for better systems. Want to quantify the loss of the lack of technology? A recent study from the Center For Health Information and Decision Systems at the University Of Maryland found that US hospitals lose over $12 billion annually as a result of poor communications. A major proportion of this loss is due to increase in hospital length of stay, followed by wasted physician and wasted nurse time. The loss for a 500 bed hospital is estimated at approximately $4 million annually. This study suggests that improving the quality of communications requires both technological solutions and a detailed clinical process understanding. Check out the whole study at:

Invest In Marketing Today

With the stock market up and down and tough times, it sounds counter intuitive to spend money on marketing. But just like looking for the right bargain in stocks, marketing is also a bargain with the costs of print and other media down. Competitors may also have pulled back at this time. You should take advantage of the situation to position yourself for when things turn around. Those will be the winners in the long run.

Go And Get It Is The Name Of The Game!

It is an understatement in today’s health care market to say: “Build it and they will come”. This is no longer true! The truth is that you “have to go out there and get it”. To “get it” you must have a strategic plan that involves extensive differentiation in the market and expansion of access points. There must also be an implementaiton of the plan and investment in the future. There must be a clear understanding of the profitable lines, focus on those services, and the resources required to make them successful.

Developing A Quality STEMI Program

Yes, there are still new programs being developed in today’s market. The key driving forces for new program development are community demand and potential cardiovascular revenue. The one suggestion for any program, in addition to critical planning that needs to be done, the key factor that must be addressed is QUALITY! Case selection is critical in the first year. Be sure that cases are carefully selected to ensure good outcomes and no mortalities. Many programs worry that there is not enough volume and begin to take cases that should be done after the staff has gained more experience. This is not to say that anyone is incompetent, just cautious.