Posted on November 25, 2014
Health exchanges are here - and so are millions of newly insured
patients. That means your CAH has a decision to make. Do you "duck
and cover" or come out fighting to gain some much-needed ground
from your competition? If you choose to leverage this opportunity,
be prepared. These aren't your "typical" patients.
The truth is, many newly insured patients will have plans that
pay lower rates to your hospital. But there's a flip side to this
downside. These patients' plans are required to cover a broader
range of services. Services your CAH can provide to grow revenue
from consumers who have never walked through your hospital's doors
Here are some ways to optimize this opportunity:
- Promote prevention, wellness and diagnostics
as volumes will shift in this direction. This goes beyond the
"norm," like colonoscopies and mammograms, to include diet
counseling and other wellness services. Another thought: Could your
CAH benefit from extending your marketing strategy to include
- Define your hospital's role in
outreach and develop and promote programs that will
educate the newly insured. With limited knowledge of the healthcare
system, these new patients are more likely to use ER services. Work
with your marketing department to develop programs and materials to
educate new patients on the best way to manage their health - and
- Address patient access issues. With more
complex billing, eligibility and collections processes, it's
critical to confirm eligibility and review obligations with the
patient upfront. This may include incorporating new tools to verify
coverage and screen for Medicaid eligibility and exchange
- Train "financial counselors," "care navigators" or
"insurance assisters." Whatever title you choose, you'll
need knowledgeable staff to help individuals fill out paperwork and
determine eligibility for coverage and subsidies.
- Don't lose sight of patients with employer-sponsored
plans. As you address the needs of the newly insured,
don't overlook the fact that employer-sponsored plans are shifting
more responsibility to the patient. You'll need to adjust your
marketing strategy to address the needs and demands of these
consumers as well.
Posted on November 11, 2014
How to Talk to Physicians to Build Relationships
You say, "provider;" I say, "physician."
While it may seem like a matter of semantics, healthcare
marketers need to choose their words wisely - especially when
talking to physicians. One internist summed it up this way: "Today,
doctors are called providers. I didn't go to provider school."
But choosing a complementary common noun is just the beginning.
Today, many hospitals - caught up in service model mayhem -
overlook one critical fact: Doctors are faced with similar
challenges and they're concerned about the future. In fact, six in 10 say that the practice of medicine is
While it may sound disheartening, rural hospitals can turn this
concern into an opportunity to strengthen physician relationships
and increase referrals. But just as the healthcare landscape is
changing, so too, are the mindsets of physicians. That means the
way healthcare marketers talk to them also needs to change. For
- Show empathy (but be careful not to patronize). Assure
physicians that your hospital understands the additional pressures
they face today, and maintain direct dialogue as new payment models
and integrated care methods are developed.
- Profile physicians so you can personalize and specifically
target your message to them.
- Free online tools like SurveyMonkey can help identify
physicians' interests, challenges and concerns.
- Consider investing in research and/or a medical staff
satisfaction survey to help clarify physicians' opinions about a
variety of issues relating to their practice and their relationship
with your hospital.
- Develop key messages around physicians' wants and needs as well
as how your hospital is addressing those issues to benefit them and
their patients. You may find your messaging may relate to some of
these areas that physicians feel strongly about:
- Developing patient relationships.
- Protecting and promoting the health of individuals.
- Interacting with colleagues.
- Match your values to physicians' values. What's important to
your CAH is most likely important to doctors as well.
- Speak in a language physicians understand. Most physicians are
logical thinkers, so getting them to act often comes down to
evidence-based conclusions. Stick with the facts; they'll help draw
physicians to the conclusion you want them to reach.
- Establish each doctor's preferred communication method and use
The 2013 Deloitte Survey of U.S. Physicians found
that nearly two-thirds of physicians believe doctors and hospitals
will become more integrated in the next one to three years. That
can be a golden opportunity for your rural hospital - if you know
how to talk to physicians to build trust and relationships.
Watch for my upcoming blog on how to talk to patients in a new
era of healthcare.