Myths in Rural Healthcare: The Only Game in Town

Posted on September 22, 2015


Myth #2: We don't have any competition. We're the only game in town.

You may be the only hospital for 25, 30 or maybe even 45 miles. But does that really mean you don't have any competition?

Unfortunately, just because you're the only facility in town doesn't mean local residents will automatically choose you when they need care. Larger, more urban health systems - with bigger marketing budgets and more doctors - may SEEM like a better option to some patients. That's why you have to act like your competitors are right down the road.

Here are three ways to secure your market position and challenge out-of-town competitors:

1. Determine your unique selling point and use it to engage with your community. Give a reason why local residents should choose you. But it can't just be that you're closer to home (read why here). Instead, find something that truly differentiates your facility. Is it that your providers are also part of the community, so they are better attuned to the health needs of the area? Or, maybe you can offer same day appointments? Can you be a resource for women's healthcare?

2. Show off your capabilities. Sometimes patients travel for care because they don't realize the service they need is actually available at their local hospital. Areas like cardiac rehab, sleep studies, swing bed and even outpatient therapy are all service lines you need to tell your community about.

Want to see some real results?  Click here to see how one critical access hospital  doubled its total knee replacement procedure volumes. 

3. Be more than just a place to go when "I'm sick." In today's wellness-oriented world, providing resources to help people stay healthy is an important tool in building a strong connection with them. A strong connection with your community will inspire trust, confidence and loyalty between potential patients and your facility. And that will make people more likely to choose you if and when they do need care. Learn more about how to strengthen relationships with key community audiences by requesting our presentation "Connecting Your CAH to Your Community."

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Why you Should Still Promote Primary Care

Posted on September 8, 2015


With a projected national shortage of primary care providers reaching upwards of 31,000 by 2025, there's no need to promote primary care anymore…right?

In my opinion, it's still an incredibly important service line to have in your marketing plan. Why, you may ask? Because despite shortages, which may increase patient demand for providers, rural facilities will still face local competition for market share - especially from larger systems that have multiple primary care clinics and physicians from which patients can choose.

I've also seen firsthand the impact primary care can have on a rural facility's success. For example, one of our clients increased new patient volumes by 108 percent at their primary care clinic after an aggressive marketing campaign. And another client saw a record-breaking revenue month after promoting their primary care services along with other hospital service lines.

In addition to continued competition and looking for ways to increase patient volumes, there are three other significant reasons why rural health facilities should continue to promote primary care:

  1. Avoid penalties under healthcare reform. A key role of primary care is preventing and managing chronic health issues like diabetes or heart disease. These types of conditions can easily turn into multiple trips to the emergency room or hospital readmissions if not managed properly. And that means higher costs for local hospitals.
  2. Increase revenue and volumes at your hospital. Primary care providers serve as a great entry point into your hospital for diagnostic and surgical care. If you help keep the primary care practices busy, they will be more likely to keep their patients in your "system" when they need ancillary or specialty services.
  3. Position your facility as a total health resource. In today's wellness-oriented world, you can't just be a hospital where sick people go or where you can have a knee replaced. To be successful, you need to incorporate prevention, wellness, disease management and traditional treatments into your services - all of which primary care providers offer.

But promoting primary care is not just simply placing an ad in the newspaper with a doctor's photo and credentials. This won't motivate patients to choose you for their primary care needs. You need to show patients how important primary care is to their individual health, and how your providers can help them stay healthy, active and well.

To learn more about the importance of primary care promotion and the three key components in effective primary care promotion, register for our NRHA-sponsored webinar:

Off the Charts Results: Go Platinum with Your Primary Care Marketing
September 17 | Noon (CDT)
Click here to register!

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