5 tips for successful marketing strategies for healthcare organizations

At the Becker's Hospital Review annual CEO Strategy Roundtable in Chicago on Nov. 5, Richard Conn, MD, with Pacira Pharmaceuticals, discussed various practice and patient marketing strategies that can help healthcare organizations evolve and drive value.

There are numerous strategies through which hospitals, private practices and other healthcare facilities can achieve successful marketing, according to Dr. Conn.

"Marketing can be effective if you're effective in your marketing," he said.

Here are five key points of successful marketing strategies, according to Dr. Conn:

1. Access is critical. The patient is the customer in the healthcare world. According to Dr. Conn, "It doesn't matter how good you are or how great things are going. If you don't have access, no one will come see you."

Dr. Conn suggests replicating systems that have successfully improved accessibility, such as the Cleveland Clinic's same-day appointment walk-in clinics. It is important to respect peoples' time, so having availability after work hours and on the weekend is important, he explained.

2. Take advantage of information technology. There is a multitude of ways hospitals, private practices and other organizations can extend their reach over a wider client base, according to Dr. Conn. Organizations can market through targeted zip code marketing, websites, social media posting and virtual physician visits.

3. Show what you've got. If a practice is specialized, it should include its special offerings in its marketing practices. For example, one of the greatest advancements during the course of Dr. Conn's career are the treatments that have been made available for pain management, and the rising star today is Pacira's drug Exparel, he said. Organizations that can offer a treatment or service that is proven effective and is in high demand should be sure to let prospective patients know.

Technology is also a big selling point: navigation technology, robotics such as the Da Vinci Surgical System and others should be included in marketing strategies.

4. Market with actionable metrics. Patient-reported outcomes are becoming more and more important, according to Dr. Conn. Patient-reported outcomes can be used for testing compliance and determining areas of weakness to focus on improvement. Showing people data that reflects positive outcomes is a great way for organizations to prove their value.

5. Create an exceptional patient experience. According to Dr. Conn, creating an exceptional experience for patients is by far the most important marketing tool a healthcare organization has, but it is not always easy to achieve.

Stryker Performance Solutions, a strategic solutions marketing company at which Dr. Conn serves as medical director, implements Destination Center Programs that help organizations create and sustain efforts to offer exceptional patient experiences.

These programs improve an organization's transparency, cultivate a strong brand and culture, emphasize leadership and help organizations create and track benchmarks. Ultimately, these Destination Centers can increase patient volume, improve clinical quality and patient satisfaction and increase profitability, according to Dr. Conn.

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