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Tag Archives: Health

12 must-knows if you’re new to health care marketing

Welcome to health care marketing. You’ve had a marketing career in other categories, but may have recently chosen to honor the call of bringing your expertise to the hospital or health care provider sector. Thank you. Our industry is going through massive change and we need massive talent to see our way through this challenging times.

But I won’t lie. Your transition won’t be easy. Health care is a culture unto itself. If you’ve read Franklin Street’s other blogs and resources, you know we’re straight shooters. So consider this post our own on boarding into the world of health care marketing and branding. I can’t tell you everything you’ll need to know in one post, but this should serve as a good primer.

Here goes.

Get used to consensus-building.

Health care is consensus-driven. Maybe it’s because it’s also a risk-adverse category. (Go figure: people want to tread lightly when dealing with life and death.) So the amount of meetings you’ll have on a daily basis will quadruple. So will the number of emails in your in box. You’ll spend as much time letting stakeholders know what you’re up to as you do the things you want everyone to know about and support you in doing. Do your best to preserve your calendar, but know now you’ll need to multi-task as you run from one meeting to the next.

Get the jargon down.

Health care folks love their acronyms. Start carrying around a cheat sheet of health care jargon like ACA, ACO, PHO, CIN, STARK, and HIPAA. Soon these strings of oblique letters will roll of your tongue. But not without memorization and practice, practice, practice.

Set boundaries with decision-makers.

Going back to the consensus-driven culture in health care, you’ll want to bring stakeholders along with your marketing plans, but not give any individual or group too much power to dictate your direction — because they will take over if you’re not careful. In every business category you’ll find people who are not marketing-trained but think they can do marketing. But this is especially true in health care, where marketing is often considered the last rung of the proverbial food chain. As a consequence, nurses, volunteers, rad techs and board members will all have their ideas on what ads you should run, or how to combat the competition’s newest brand campaign. But, it’s the doctors you’ll want to set the most boundaries. Which leads me to the next point.

Doctors may know their patients, but you know consumers.

You’ll want your physicians to be on board with your marketing, but give them an inch and they’ll end up re-writing every ad and TV spot you share with them. We like to host Discovery Sessions with key physician stakeholders at the start of new campaigns. These are opportunities to build consensus and set boundaries for key decisions. Give your physicians a sounding board to share ideas and concerns, and give them a narrow platform to make decisions — whether it be choosing a campaign direction after you’ve honed in on several approaches you like, or simply reviewing the copy deck only for technical inaccuracies.

FREE DOWNLOAD: How to manage online patient feedback and brand reputation

Knowing the difference between doing mission work and doing the work to keep the mission going.

Ultimately, your job is to increase new patient acquisition so your hospital can continue its mission of serving the health care needs of the communities it serves. You do this by targeting those prospective patients who have choice in the marketplace where they go for health care, and are profitable for your organization’s bottom line. This is true of both for-profit and non-profit organizations. A health care marketer’s job is to focus on the outliers — the small percentage of hospital admissions that keep a hospital in the black, as the majority will show up to your emergency room, doctor’s office or inpatient bed through traditional patient flow patterns: physician referrals, etc. By focusing on the outliers — that small but mighty percentage of patients who have choice, along with physicians who serve as gatekeepers into your health care organization — you can help your organization continue its mission.

Not all key service lines are ready for marketing.

Don’t be surprised when you’re asked (told) to market services that aren’t ready to be marketed. Too often in health care, marketers are looked at as the ones to put lipstick on pigs. Your job is to change that attitude within your organization. This could mean surveying patient satisfaction within service lines and identifying the customer service changes that need to be made. It can also mean working with service line directors to identify “brand experience” opportunities — those often small but memorable moments that help to make patients feel like they made the right choice in selecting your brand. Understandably, if you wait until a service line is “perfect,” you may never have any services to market. But you get to begin changing the attitudes within your organization to see marketing as integral to the operations of key service lines, and that a patient’s experience plays as much of a role in driving market share than any world class “ad campaign” you might be asked to develop.

Demand data.

It’s remarkable to us at Franklin Street how many hospitals don’t know where they make their money. You might be marveling at the same thing in your new health care organization. At a minimum, you should expect to have the research that shows where you’re gaining patients, where you’re losing patients, and what the average patient brings to your organization from a revenue perspective. Though long-term brand equity transcends year to year return on investment numbers, you’d never want to spend a million dollars to attract only a half a million in new net patient revenue. It may take longer than you’d like (or it should), but get the data you need to make intelligent marketing decisions on behalf of your health care organization.

Realign job responsibilities.

Health care reform is changing the role of the health care marketer, along with social media and the rise of the digitally connected patient. Chances are, your department’s current org chart is a little out-of-date. Take this time to realign the skill sets of your current reports with the skills needed to compete in the modern era of health care marketing. This will mean more strengths in data analysis, digital marketing, physician marketing, content development, and social media. Depending on your FTE and PTE numbers, you may require your reports to wear several hats. But overall, look for staff members who can think strategically about their role in the organization and see how their unique contributions are aligned with the overarching strategies you put into place in the marketing department.

Set expectations on the number of key service lines to market in a given year.

Most hospitals can’t say no to service lines. This puts the health care marketer in a tough spot of not having enough budget to market service lines effectively. In our experience, the average hospital only has enough funding to properly marketing two to three key service lines in a given year, with the balance of resources going to market other, smaller service lines with low cost tactics.

We use SHSMD’s formula for determining the average hospital marketing budget. You can view this formula on our website.

Get your core marketing platforms in place within the first 90 days.

You know the old phrase, Don’t run before you learn how to walk? You may have this experience at your new health care organization, in which you’re asked to develop complex marketing strategies before the core platforms are put into place to help your marketing campaigns succeed.

What are those platforms? For us at Franklin Street, we like to see the following in place for any hospital, regardless of size or stature in the market:

  • A call center that can connect prospective patients to physicians for referral and for departments for scheduling procedures
  • An email marketing database to nurture prospective patients and over time convert them into patients
  • A website with capabilities to create landing pages that drive new patient acquisition from search and display marketing campaigns (along with the analytics to track activity)
  • An established brand positioning that is simple, unique, and compelling to prospective patients

Your hospital’s website is the marketer’s first line of opportunity. 

As a marketer, there are many things you aren’t able to control in establishing a positive first encounter among your prospective patients. But you should have control over your hospital’s website. And your hospital’s website is the number one tool for attracting and converting patients. In addition to responsive design so that mobile and tablet users have an optimum experience, (over 50 percent of your site’s users will come from one of those devices), you’ll want to reinforce your brand positioning on the site, and provide Calls to Action to encourage prospective patients to “opt-in” to learn more, find a physician, attend an event, etc.

Brand is reinforced in all you do.

You may or may not have funding to develop stand-alone branding campaigns, but your brand should be clearly defined and reinforced in everything you do. Your brand positioning sets the tone for your messages, the voice and attitude of your communications, and in general, personifies your hospital. We love defining brand as a shortcut to a sale, and whether or not you have the option of executing brand campaigns, every campaign you do execute should reinforce your organization’s brand.

This list is by no means exhaustive, but we hope you find it a good starting point on your new health care marketing journey. This blog originally appeared here.

Use these video tactics to market your health insurance offerings

By 2019, 80 percent of all Internet traffic will be devoted to video. Adweek has proclaimed online video the “future of content marketing.” Although many health care marketers are already onboard with this powerful marketing trend, others are still hesitating—and missing out on opportunities to reach prospects and engage members.

We’ve identified seven areas where health insurers can benefit from use of video content in their marketing strategies:

1. Highlight products and benefits

Health care marketers should use video to educate members and prospects about detailed products, unique benefits and essential services. To show how insurers’ plans are a good fit for members and prospects, video can offer website tours, promote mobile apps and highlight member discounts and perks. In addition, video can help explain—and simplify—more complex features like medical savings accounts.

For example, when Uber and UPMC teamed up during open enrollment for a promotion to raise awareness about distracted driving, they offered free rides for members. The health insurer used video to announce the promotion and explain how to take advantage of the perk:

2. Improve consumers’ health literacy

Many common insurance terms are difficult to understand. For those not familiar with industry jargon, these phrases can sound like a foreign language. Since video makes educational material easier to digest, it’s a great way to explain subsidies and EOB statements, demonstrate how an HSA works or walk a member through Medicare 101.

In this video series, for example, Highmark teaches consumers about the basics—or ABCs—of Medicare:

3. Address health care challenges

There is no shortage of health care challenges facing consumers today. From costs and access to care to health crises and epidemics, members are turning to insurers for answers and support. Because some content may be sensitive in nature, video offers an approachable way to respond, while communicating key brand positioning and messaging on topics that really matter to members and communities.

Here, Aetna President Karen S. Lynch uses video to discuss the country’s opioid epidemic. In doing so, she is able to highlight Aetna’s behavioral health business and talk about substance abuse care as a top priority for Aetna:

FREE DOWNLOAD: How to manage online patient feedback and brand reputation

4. Promote wellness

Health and wellness programs play an integral role in members’ physical, mental and emotional well-being, but getting them engaged and keeping them motivated in such programs can be difficult. Video makes it easy to share healthy eating and fitness tips, cooking instructions and training schedules. It’s a compelling tool for communicating key messages, advocating for adoption of healthy habits, teaching best practices and inviting members to participate in wellness programs.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota’s wellness program is marketed as a more holistic approach to pursuing all dimensions of health and well-being. This video shows the inspiration behind the insurer’s BlueElements wellness program:


5. Provide assistance

There can be a learning curve as members become familiar with new health plans. When assisting them, it’s important to offer explanations that are easy to access and to understand. Video is an effective way to answer the questions your members might have about how to enroll for services or how to use an insurer’s app. As a “show and tell” technique, video saves time and resources for insurers and can be an easier way for members to get up to speed.

In this short video, Cigna offer “tips and tricks” on how to get the most out of its myCigna mobile app. Simple animation and voiceover break down the basics (like how to download the app and use the fingerprint login) and describe the app’s key benefits of helping members compare costs, track claims and find doctors right from their fingertip:

6. Offer health education

Consumers who are informed about their health have better health outcomes, so it makes sense for a health insurer to provide members with valuable health-related advice. Studies show that health education videos keep members more engaged and active in their care. Videos featuring providers and other health experts are valuable resources for members looking for condition-specific tips, explanations about procedures and reasons to complete health screenings.

“My left arm went numb, and soon after that my right arm went numb,” begins Chris Torizzo, a Kaiser Permanente member and employee, in this video designed to help women recognize heart attack symptoms. It combines Chris’ story with expert commentary from a cardiologist:

7. Amplify your brand

In addition to its consumer benefits, video content also has value from a brand perspective. It can be used to promote events, showcase brand ambassadors, highlight a facility or location and spotlight employees and goals.

It can also be used as a recruitment tool, as with Oscar’s “Ready to join the revolution?” video. In it, Oscar promotes the perks of working for the health insurer and directs candidates to its recruitment website:

David Schultz is president and founder of Media Logic . The original version of this post can be found here .

Independent commission reviewing Beth Israel-Lahey Health merger

The Massachusetts Health Policy Commission has begun a review of the planned merger between Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Lahey Health and several other hospital systems that would create the second-largest healthcare network in the state.
Modern Healthcare Breaking News

Community health center funding lapse could force job cuts

Continued inaction by Congress to re-authorize crucial funding for the country’s community health centers could result in the loss of more than 60,000 healthcare jobs, according to a new report.
Modern Healthcare Breaking News

Report: How consumers search for health care

How do patients find you?

Knowing the answer is the key to marketing your organization’s services and communicating its strengths.

Kyruus, founded by a team of physicians and technologists, uses data to help health systems match patients with providers more precisely and to reduce barriers to access.

The organization—its name comes from the word “chiral,” which describes an object or form (e.g., a hand) that cannot be superimposed on its own mirror image—recently surveyed 100 consumers on how they search for, select and schedule appointments with health care providers.

Among the survey’s findings: Even when consumers get a referral for a specialist, 90 percent always or sometimes conduct their own research on providers before scheduling an appointment.

Among other results:

  • · Consumers consider insurance accepted the most important factor when selecting a provider. Three out of four rate it as extremely important.
  • Relevant clinical expertise is the second key factor (53 percent).
  • Four out of five consumers cite appointment availability as a vital factor when selecting a provider; more than 60 percent have searched for an alternative provider to schedule an earlier appointment.
  • More than 40 percent of consumers say they trust online reviews “completely” or “very much.”
  • Sixty-two percent of consumers prefer to book appointments by phone, citing speed of booking and personalized service as the top two reasons.
  • Convenience is key for millennials. Two out of five prefer to book online, indicating that pressure on health systems to enable and enhance online scheduling will rise.

View more details and download the report here.

How health care organizations prove ROI through digital marketing

In the past, health care organizations relied on doctor referrals and inefficient mass advertising to reach potential patients.

Today, it’s possible to tie the procedures booked and the income earned to specific campaigns. You can glean digital data from apps and the internet—and even from billboards and print ads.

A new tip sheet from Ragan Communications and Blackbaud, “Digital Marketing Musts for Health Care Communicators ,” offers ways to track your return on investment. The free download offers tips and tactics for making the most of your marketing campaigns.

Modernize your marketing, and you’ll no longer have to speculate which campaign or communications effort brought in a patient. Learn from experts at Mayo Clinic, Riverside Healthcare and others how to capture data and tie your marketing efforts to the bottom line. There are ways to serve the needs of your patients—and your marketing requirements—and do it all ethically.

“Health care is one of those unique industries where there’s a lot of data,” says Adam Brase, chair of marketing at Mayo Clinic, “but we have to be careful how we collect data, and how we use that data to better serve our customers and our patients.”

Multifarious methods

The tip sheet covers a range of ways you can find out where you are getting the most for your marketing dollars.

Hospitals have something valuable to offer—medical expertise. If you provide useful information, your grateful audience will provide data in exchange. Find out how to do this.

“You have to give them something of value, so they will give you their email address,” Ujjainwalla says.

By next year, two-thirds of interactions with health care facilities will occur by mobile devices. That makes apps an increasingly important means of reaching and engaging with potential patients.

Mayo Clinic’s main application provides strong engagement with offerings that range from an appointments function to useful content. Learn what kind of content keeps people coming back time and time again.

Many organizations struggle with proving the ROI for print and billboard advertising. There’s a simple way to gather that data, enabling you to trace incoming patients right down to the street corner where they first saw your ad.

Brand journalism can play a part. Riverside Healthcare in Kankakee, Illinois, launched a stroke campaign that included blog posts, videos with specialists, Facebook posts and other elements, says Judy Pretto, manager of marketing and communications.

“This is about planting the seed for when the need is there,” Pretto says.

From cultivating advocates to customer relationship management systems, from Google AdWords to harnessing the data of website searches, find out how other health care organizations are making the leap to smart marketing.

Don’t be left behind. Download your free guide now.

Infographic: How engineers are helping doctors and health care communicators

Mobile traffic and medical device growth are booming, and the surge is important for communicators.

Electrical engineers who have helped develop CT scans, defibrillators and monitoring devices for chronic health conditions are also focused on small, wireless technology for clinicians.

Communicators can get ready for groundbreaking equipment and monitoring changes, which make for great content and fodder. For example, electrical engineers are working on:

  • A virtual stethoscope (not a cumbersome electrocardiogram machine) may soon offer waveform graphics and audio of a patient’s heart activity on a PDA.

  • RFID sensor technology badges that track time spent on patient care versus locating lost equipment.

  • Electronic underwear that sends gentle electrical charges every 10 minutes to improve blood flow and stimulate cells. Experts predict the “smart e-pants” could save $ 12 billion a year in health care costs in the U.S. alone. How? The garb could reduce or eliminate 60,000 deaths from bed sore infections.

You don’t have to be Bill Nye, the Science Guy, to be impressed with the technology featured in this infographic. Take a look:

(View a larger image)

HC and engineering

(Image via)

First published in 2015.

How health care communicators can tackle the data-loss epidemic

One in three health care patients in the U.S. had confidential data compromised in 2015.

Careless internal mistakes—such as phishing scams and poor password security—can explode into a system-wide cyberattack that brings unwanted headlines and damages reputations.

PR pros updating their crisis plans for 2017 can use this infographic as a guide to potential minefields. Take a look; the stats are eye-opening. For example:

· Seventy percent of major health care breaches result from stolen or missing portable hardware and devices with unencrypted data. The average for other industries is 19 percent.

· The cost of cleaning up a single compromised health care record is $ 407.

· Some 112 million patient records were lost in 2015.

Collaboration with IT, HR and other stakeholders will be crucial. 


Trump Doesn’t Seem to Know Anything About Health Care: A Closer Look

Source: – Thursday, June 29, 2017

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