Hospital marketing

Take a commodity-driven approach to hospital marketing

Although providing high quality medical services is the # 1 goal of hospitals, it is not always the # 1 criterion that women take into account when purchasing health care. All hospitals strive to provide the best care, whether overall or by line of service, so advertising as a point of difference is a quick way to sidestep the set of considerations. Focusing on technology and expertise can also be ineffective, as many hospitals and healthcare systems already do.

Twenty years of advertising healthcare for major hospitals and healthcare systems, from creating campaigns to launching and measuring, has taught me to dig deeper into what women really look for when they buy healthcare. health (which may be different from what they to say they’re looking for).

Think about the last time you had to go to an unfamiliar hospital, either for yourself or to visit someone. How much of a problem was parking? If it was horrible, it probably affected your view of the whole hospital. If it was easy, it was probably a big relief. When you walked inside, was it easy to find where you needed to go or did you feel like a mouse trapped in a maze? If you ate in the hospital cafeteria, how was the food?

Now compare them to the extent to which you took into account whether the hospital had one brand of medical equipment over another, or where the doctors went to medical school vs. where the doctors went to. ‘a competing hospital went to medical school. What factors come to your mind the most?

Equipment may seem like “soft” services that are not worth focusing on marketing materials, but these considerations weigh heavily on consumers’ minds when shopping for hospitals. A quick employee survey I conducted at Northlich, my healthcare marketing agency, revealed a range of experiences. Some women have taken routine hospital testing at stand-alone centers because the hospital experience was distressing, while others said their experience with hospital testing was quick and easy. Several mentioned that the ancillary services of a hospital influenced their choice of where to go, including where to give birth. One woman even said she would have switched from her OB-GYN to another doctor associated with the hospital who would provide her with the amenities she was looking for. Others mentioned that they appreciated the valet parking, easy-to-understand patient payment portals, and the availability of nurse navigators and financial navigators.

The evidence is not just anecdotal: paper published in the National Bureau of Economic Research found that patients’ ratings of hospital amenities are “positive and substantial.” In “The emerging importance of patient equipment in hospital care, “Posted in The New England Journal of Medicine, the researchers found that, for patients, “non-clinical experience is twice as important as clinical reputation for making hospital choices.”

The tools, services and amenities of a hospital can make or break it as a choice in the set of considerations when women shop for health care. Yet few hospitals advertise it, meaning consumers have no way of knowing what is available to them.

So use the marketing to show what your hospital has to offer. Patient surveys can include questions about what equipment patients think is most important. This will tell you how to target your communications. You can also survey other hospitals in your area to see who offers what, and view published research on the services and amenities that consumers believe are most important.

A boston university study, for example, found that inpatients are willing to pay up to 38% more out of pocket for a hospital room that includes hotel-like amenities. Good interior design was at the top of the list of consumer preferences. One thing to watch out for: As amenities become more and more important in the overall consumer considerations, it’s important to strike a balance between showing them off and communicating that you also provide high quality care.

An example that might help you spark your creative ideas: My agency has worked for hospitals in Indiana and Ohio to advertise infusion suites, where cancer patients can choose to receive treatment. alone or in a group. We built on an idea that we discovered that people often make friends during these procedures and like to go through them together to support each other. One hospital even built a garden and ran electrical outlets through it so infusion pumps could be used outdoors.

When the marketing materials focus on these kinds of benefits, they show how the hospital is not only meeting patients’ medical needs, but also meeting their deeper need for human connection.

Everything a hospital does to make the process of care for patients easier, from streamlining parking to providing delivery rooms, online bill payment and patient navigators, is worth mentioning in reviews. hospital marketing materials. Because patients really care about these factors and choose hospitals based on them.