Surviving Health Care 2.0. Five Essential Strategies for Hospital Marketers.

When one looks at providers delivering healthcare and the marketing, one must wonder if there is an understanding of the importance of marketing in healthcare 2.0.   

Which begs the question in the title, can big box hospitals have a chance of surviving in a highly competitive, efficient retail medical marketplace without clear and unambiguous marketing involvement and leadership? And it doesn’t help any that the healthcare consumer is learning that they only need the hospital for three things, emergency care, intensive care and care for acute complex medical conditions.

Healthcare 2.0 is a market animal that is completely different than anything Hospital leadership has ever had to contend.  And this animal has teeth with little regard for whether a hospital or health system survives.

Highly competitive, innovative and retail, the sole focus is on understanding and meeting the needs of the healthcare consumer.  

Note this importance of that sentence.  It’s focused on meeting the needs of the healthcare consumer, not the hospital or health system.
That implies that the hospital or health system evolves from being in the hospital business forever in search of a revenue stream to be in the healthcare business meeting the needs of the healthcare consumer regardless of clinical service, time, and place.

What is healthcare marketing’s role? Here are five areas for consideration. 

1.       Voice of the Customer

VoC is far more important now in healthcare.  There are over 147 healthcare consumer and patient touch-points in the typical hospital.  Each interaction is the opportunity to hear about organizational performance.  Then most importantly is the ability to use that information in an actionable way to identify and meet healthcare consumer needs.

2.       Using market data to manage the patient experience

Patient experience means just that- not one isolated clinical or administrative service experience but understanding what that patient experience is at all touch points.  Next is the challenge of managing that experience to its fullest potential for the benefit of the patient and the organization. Patient experience is an integrative process across the entire organization internally and externally.  The rallying cry in any hospital should be one view of the patient, one patient view of the hospital. It is not another quality program or flavor of the day. 

3.       From demand generation to demand management

The hospital is no longer the center of the healthcare universe.   Marketing needs to understand what the demand for healthcare services will be, when required and manage service demand in making sure that the hospital or health system has the right resources, in the right place, at the right time to meet demand.  The days are rapidly slipping away where marketing will be driving demand to fill hospital beds. They will drive demand to the appropriate place and location of service.

4.       Preparing the hospital for enhanced competition

It’s a sad but true, hospitals and health systems continue to fall behind non-traditional providers and new entrants into the market. Hospitals are losing share and revenue to others.  There are many reasons for this, but the most striking is the inability of traditional providers to connect the dots through technology, data and a deep understanding of the healthcare consumer to meet their needs.   It’s about the capacity to have the market research and internal data to draw actionable insights to meet the healthcare consumer’s needs and competition. 

Is it any wonder that CVS and Walmart are leading the way and taking revenue and share from providers?  Their deep understanding of the consumer and the dynamics of price, choice, and convenience give these companies and others an edge that hospitals are missing. 

5.       From outbound features and interruptive marketing to inbound value solutions marketing

Value marketing is making the case to the healthcare consumer how you are solving their medical problem, offering a solution, giving results and even making them happy.  
Value marketing is a creative exchange between people and organizations in the marketplace.  It is a dynamic transaction that continually changes based on the needs of the individual compared to what the healthcare organization has to offer.
In the end, it’s all about giving the consumer what they want not what the hospital or system wants. That is healthcare 2.0. Welcome to the new marketing reality.
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 countries and is on the 100 Top Healthcare Marketing Blogs, and Websites ranked at No. 3 on the list by Michael is a Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives, Professional Certified Marketer, American Marketing Association.  Post opinions are my own. As an expert in digital marketing & social media with a Klout score of 64, that places me in the top 10 percent of social media experts nationwide. Michael is an established influencer. Opinions expressed are my own.

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