The Benefits of Integrated Physician & Employer Market Strategy

As healthcare changes, so must hospital growth strategies.

At the Becker's Hospital Review 5th Annual Meeting, Kathy Rhoad, MA, marketing director of The Regional Medical Center of Orangeburg (S.C.) and Calhoun Counties and Rochell Pierce, MS, vice president of physician relationship management with Aegis Health Group, discussed the benefits of integrating physician and employer market strategies.

Traditional hospital market strategy hones in driving volume to its facilities, but healthcare is changing and volume is no longer the only piece of the equation. "We need to maximize fee-for-service, while preparing for value-based service," said Ms. Pierce. Physician and employer outreach does serve to boost case volume, but also allows hospitals to engage providers and patients in forward-looking strategy.

The goals of an integrated physicians and employer market strategy include:

•    Identify cross selling opportunities
•    Maximize messaging to promote the hospital's brand
•    Drive volume to hospital facilities
•    Prepare for value-based care

Engagement tactics include:

•    Frequent and consistent follow-up and needs assessment
•    Identification and management of issues
•    Speaker events
•    Networking and educational events for physicians

"Marketing dollars continue to shrink," said Ms. Rhoad. "We have to do more with less money." At The Regional Medical Center, a physician relations specialist reaches out to a targeted list of physicians and maintains valuable relationships with employed physicians. "Employment does not guarantee loyalty," she said. "It takes disciplined, high-value relationships to keep physicians tied in with an organization."

As a part of the integrated strategy the hospital provides referring physicians with education and holds meetings to facilitate face-to-face interaction between referring physicians and specialists.

An employer relations specialist targets more than 100 employer groups. "The goal is to create a relationship and identify The Regional Medical Center as the provider of choice for employees and their families," said Ms. Pierce. The hospital surveys an employer's workforce and provides a "report card" of overall employee health and the risk involved. The employer relations specialist suggests hospital services and wellness program ideas to engage different groups.

Physician alignment and overall patient wellness is at the heart of value-based care. The hospital can work closely with physicians to manage population health and provide quality care, while driving patients to its services. "This strategy is laser-focused on our target service lines, messaging and growth," said Ms. Pierce.

More Articles on Hospital Issues:
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Where Should Healthcare Leaders Focus Their Energies Now?
Key Financial & Strategic Issues: 3 Health System Leaders Weigh In

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