Posted on April 17, 2013
Mike Milligan, President
I was in my front yard the other day when Autumn, our golden
retriever puppy, made a mad dash to check out the pooch across the
street. I'm not an expert on breeds, so let's suffice it to say it
was akin to Fluffy encounters Cujo.
I watched as Cujo galloped toward Fluffy (Autumn) with the zeal
of a hostile takeover. As the mastodon-like mammal approached her,
Fluffy stood her ground and was the first to speak. Granted, her
bark sounded more like a deflated squeaky toy, but she responded to
Cujo with such confidence and fervor that his persona immediately
The "attack dog" lowered his tail and began to follow the
pint-sized pooch around as she showed off her new domain. Just goes
to show - it's not how big you are, it's how you position
Speaking of… How will your rural hospital compete
against big city healthcare organizations? You ultimately
have two choices: 1) Roll over and play dead or 2) Kick your
business development and marketing instincts into high gear -
In the world of healthcare, mergers and acquisitions are on the
rise. Will you remain independent or is consolidation on the
horizon? If so, should you "speak first" or wait until you're
Before you answer those questions, take a good hard look at your
business and marketing strategies. Now is the time to strengthen
your position in the market so you're at the top of your game no
matter what happens in the future.
To do that, your hospital may need to explore retail health;
team-based healthcare; collaborating with regional health centers;
or partnerships with community, public health or government
agencies. The list goes on and on, so be sure to pursue all of your
We all know that big changes are in store for the healthcare
industry. Some rural hospitals will tuck their tails between their
legs and hope for the best. If you're reading this, I doubt that's
the strategy you'll take.
If you're attending this year's NRHA conference in Louisville,
please look me up or stop at the Legato booth, number 203. We can
grab a cup of coffee and chat about your next move.
Posted on April 23, 2013
I was recently preparing our booth for the upcoming National
Rural Health Association Conference in Louisville next month, when
I was reminded of the first trade show I attended early in my
Once I arrived, I packed in every possible presentation, spoke
to every poster presenter (albeit 15 seconds each), and picked up
every piece of literature I could get my hands on. I returned to
the office with a briefcase full of generic handouts and 50 to 60
business cards from…I have no idea.
Since then, I've done a 180, focusing not on quantity but
quality-quality of information, business strategies and mutually
beneficial partnerships. To do that, I follow these self-mandated
tips. Thought you might be interested in them, too:
- Do your homework before you go. Prioritize the sessions you
want to attend. Then, get to each session early. Other
professionals in the room obviously share your interest in the
topic. Instead of using the time to check emails, start
- Introduce yourself to guest speakers and other presenters
before or after a session. Be sure to exchange contact information
with them. Remember: In addition to being experts in their field,
they are well connected in the industry.
- You can't do everything - so do at least one thing. Set a goal
of leaving the conference each day with at least one take-away that
you can implement in the short term.
- Ask at least one question during each session that affects your
hospital. It's a chance to get insights from the presenter - as
well as your peers.
5. Visit booths and talk with presenters
during poster sessions. This is an opportune time to zero in on
topics that are directly related to your hospital and to receive
one-on-one feedback from industry thought leaders.
Posted on April 30, 2013
Mike Milligan, President
When was the last time you bought a flat screen TV, smartphone
or other big ticket item without Googling it first?
Whether your litmus test of choice is Angie's List,
Consumer Reports or consumer blogs, chances are you check
out what others have to say before making a purchase. Consumers do
the same when it comes to healthcare.
In this new era of transparency, "quality" has become a
catch-all phrase for everything from accessibility and
accountability to price, safety and survival rates. Hospitals are
being graded on all of the above - and then some. And it's no
surprise that consumers want to know where their healthcare
organization stands on the quality front.
While you may not be able to improve your GPA overnight, you
can take immediate steps to queue up your quality quotient
in a way that highlights your hospital's strengths. Start by taking
the complexities out of the report card rating system.
In other words, sum up "quality" in a way that consumers can
relate to. Make it meaningful for them by making it personal. Then
promote it as only your hospital can do.
I'd be happy to share how we're helping our clients succeed on
this level. Shoot me an email, or, if you'll be attending the NRHA
Conference, stop by the Legato booth, number 203.