Jun. 23, 2017
Rural hospitals aren't going extinct - and neither are their patients. As an administrator of a rural hospital, rest assured that even as larger systems encroach on your territory and things look bleak, there are steps you can take to boost patient volumes and infuse your facility with more patients and opportunities.
What are your facility's mission, vision, and values? Do they involve being the largest hospital system in the United States? With affiliates in every major city? Of course not. Chances are, your mission is to provide high quality medical care to the people of your own community. Embrace your vision and honor your values. Promote these priorities in all your marketing materials. Make sure this is front and center on your website. Educate employees on this goal. When the community is more aware of your gem of a facility (devoted to them, not profits, by the way), patients will be more likely to select you for their healthcare.
An effective primary care program will have new patients flocking not only to your clinic, but to your other service lines as the occasion arises. A strong primary care program will be self-sustaining and then some. Investing in primary care will pay off in patient volumes.
What community need is not being met? It won't take too much digging to find out what valuable services you could offer at your facility. Perhaps your community has climbing cases of Type 2 diabetes; consider offering diabetes management. Perhaps your community is aging; offer geriatric care and home medicine equipment. Or maybe there isn't a wound care program in your area. Providing a service that meets a deep need in your community not only increase patient volumes, it's just the right thing to do!
Happy employees will spread the word. If your employees are proud of what they do, if they feel valued, and if they believe in their hospital, they will share it with the world. Leverage their enthusiasm by creating a brand ambassador program for them to participate in if they choose to.
Where are your potential patients? That's right: online. You may think that a rural hospital doesn't need a strong online presence. You would be wrong. When a potential patient searches for a service, make sure your facility pops up right away. Savvy digital marketing tactics will make sure potential patients are aware of the wonderful care you provide close to home.
Your hospital is not the faceless corporate entity that your big city competitor may be. Maybe you don't have their money, but they don't have your heart. Be involved in your community. Sponsor athletic teams and fun runs, and get into the schools by offering healthy eating programs and other educational events. After all, they aren't just your community: these people are your friends, neighbors, and even family.
When patient volumes start to decline, you must work fast to stop the bleeding. Luckily, there are a variety of things you can do to boost patient volumes and help your facility thrive no matter what competition or challenges you are facing.
Register for our upcoming webinar, July 12 at 2:00 CDT "7 Proven Strategies to Increase Profitability of Your Rural Hospital" presented by Mike Milligan, President of Legato Healthcare Marketing. Mike will provide a no-nonsense webinar with practical tips for rural healthcare executives to put into immediate action.
Website by: Craig Erskine
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