Sunday, January 27, 2013

Will big data set healthcare marketing free?


Or, send you to ligation hell because some data was misused, HIPAA was violated or patients just don't like the idea of marketers have access to data no matter how confidential and the security steps taken to keep it that way?

Me, I believe big data will set healthcare organizations free and in the process their marketers as well.

You see, healthcare marketing should be driven by data. Data used to identify unmeet healthcare consumer medical needs, where those unmet needs are located and in the design of the healthcare consumer friendly offering, priced at a point that they will be willing to pay. This is the way it always should have been, but hasn't. Goes for some healthcare IT and medical device manufacturers too.

Now that Walgreens and other non-traditional providers of healthcare services are expanding and taking a retail approach which is driven by big data, hospitals and health systems as well as others need to start paying attention and looking at their healthcare services from a big data standpoint. That means analysis by taking big data chunks, down to smaller chunks of data looking for trends and insights into healthcare consumer behavior. And if you are going to manage population health and develop effective messaging on an individualized basis, then you better be looking at big data. Going away are the days of generic messaging seeing that we entering an age where individualization of messaging is the key.

The healthcare consumer will use you in pretty novel ways going forward.

And that will become apparent in the data. It's not all about you and controlling the flow. If you want the healthcare consumer to make "healthy choices". If you want the health care consumer to stay in network. If you want the healthcare consumer to pay attention. Then you are going to have to be analyzing the data, developing individualized health care consumer messaging and sharing the same. Big data will lay your organizational soul bare for you and others to see. Hope you're ready for that.

So while you are taking a clinical or administrative view of the data, take a step back and think that that means to the healthcare consumer. They are people too. Not just clinical values, Not just whether or not they are going in or out of network. Not whether 600 or 1 person missed a health screening. Your answers as to why are in the data. Think how marketing can assist in all of the above. And it's not making things sound good, read well or look pretty.

Big data will improve your brand.

Big data will improve your patient experience.

Big data will improve your marketing.

Big data will provide you with differentiation.

Big data will free your outcomes, because whether you like it or not, the healthcare consumer already has access to a lot of it.

Big data is marketing measurable.

Don't use big data in your marketing and you will be scratching your head wondering what happened when that healthcare consumer train runs over you.

Michael Krivich is an internationally followed healthcare marketing blogger with over 5,000 monthly pages views in over 52 countries worldwide on Healthcare Marketing Matters. He is founder of the michael J group, a healthcare marketing consultancy dedicated to creating value through strategic marketing for hospitals and health system regardless of payment mechanism, either fee-for-service or value-based to increase market-share, revenue , brand and demonstrate actual return on marketing investment. Michael is a Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives and a Professional Certified Marketer, American Marketing Association. Like us on facebook at the michael J group. 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Is healthcare provider of choice possible for a hospital or health system?


It's a valid and serious question given Walgreens publically stated goal of being the "healthcare provider of choice for everyday health". Walgreens took a big step in that direction with the approval of three ACOs. Interestingly enough in my 30 years of healthcare marketing, being the provider of choice has long been a staple of hospital and health system goals and objectives, business plans and presentations to the Board and medical staffs.

Has anyone ever really accomplished that?

That is more of a rhetorical question than anything else. But I am willing to bet that the answer is no. And I seriously doubt that it can be achieved from a hospital or health system marketing perspective. At least not to the extent that Walgreens and other non-traditional entrants into the healthcare marketplace that are well funded, understand consumer behavior and marketing, service development, pricing, customer experience and brand recognition can achieve.

If you're serious about being the "healthcare provider of choice" in your market  here are some of the steps you have to take.

1. Stop doing marketing communications and calling it marketing. It's not about making things look pretty, snappy or running events. It is about understanding the needs of your healthcare consumer in a logical and systemic way and designing those programs and services along dimensions of provable outcomes, location, experience and price, realizing that in the new healthcare business environment, that the hospital is not the beginning, or end of all medical care options. It's about leadership and marketing being present on the senior management team and in the boardroom.

2. Now your brand really counts and it's about your brand. Your brand promise. Your brand reputation. Your brand value proposition. Your brand architecture. You have to understand every dimension of your brand from how it is viewed in the market place to its financial value. From its pricing power to its representation of the patient experience. Good, bad or in between you need to know. Only then can you make meaningful and relevant changes.

3. Are you ready to make changes in the way you do things? Being the "healthcare provider of choice" is also about making changes at all levels of the organization to meet the needs of your healthcare consumer. Status quo or tinkering around the edges because you may anger someone won't cut it. You are either all in or not at all. It's about your healthcare consumers in whatever form they come in, not about you.

4. Be responsive to changes in the market. You can no longer afford to be reactive, but must become a market leader. Flexibility going forward in how you price, deliver and locate healthcare services is a must.

5. Continuously improve the patient experience. Not just the clinical service line but the entire patient experience at all touch-points. In this environment and far into the future, the healthcare consumer is only a patient in one-third of the encounter with you. You had better be making sure that the experience is firing correctly on all cylinders all of the time at all experience touch-points.

6. Answer this question honestly, can you really become the "healthcare provider of choice"? It takes time and most importantly it takes money. It's not free and it's not a platitude. If you can't fund the marketing effort in terms of staff expertise, market research and budget- human and capital that it will take internally and externally, then is there really anything at all to talk about here?

So the choice going forward may be really simple in the end. Are you going to be the "healthcare provider of choice" in your market and take the actions necessary? Or are you going to find a way to attach yourself to the recognized market "healthcare provider of choice" leader and live off of that relationship?

Your phone is ringing, and it just may be Walgreens.

Michael Krivich is an internationally followed healthcare marketing blogger with over 5,000 monthly pages views in over 52 countries worldwide on Healthcare Marketing Matters. He is founder of the michael J group, a healthcare marketing consultancy dedicated to creating value through strategic marketing for hospitals and health system regardless of payment mechanism, either fee-for-service or value-based to increase market-share, revenue , brand and demonstrate actual return on marketing investment. Michael is a Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives and a Professional Certified Marketer, American Marketing Association. Like us on facebook at the michael J group.=

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Will the Walgreens ACOs bring real competition to healthcare?


Last week with the CMS announcement of an addition 106 ACOs, scant attention was paid to who those ACOs were awarded too. Buried in the 106 new ACOs announcement, you will find the Walgreens Company had three market applications awarded to them in partnership with 3 physician groups. The ACOs are in Texas, Florida and New Jersey. Their employer worksite clinics have been certified as medical homes. It is rumored that Walgreens is making plans for their own private health insurance exchange. A formidable competitor in the retail clinic space, they just became the 800 pound gorilla in the room.

I have written about Walgreens eight separate times and their retail health efforts that would fundamentally change healthcare from a competitive and marketing standpoint since I started writing this blog. (If you're interested you can use the search function of the blog and find the posts. Just search the term Walgreens.) And for the most part the reaction has been "it's just a fad and the consumer won't go for it."

Are you paying attention now?

This make perfect sense and is another important development in the "retailization" of healthcare.

Who's brand do you think will make more of an impact when the time comes for people to enroll in ACOs, your hospital, health system or brand new name for the ACO, or Walgreens and the associated physicians?

Who has more brand impact and recognition when someone drives by, your hospital or a Walgreens?

Who provides better customer and patient experience, you or Walgreens?

Who completely understands the market, consumer healthcare needs and can price appropriately and aggressively the service to make it attractive to the healthcare consumer, you or Walgreens?

Who is going to be able to mount a formidable consumer marketing campaign that is research driven that will deliver the intended enrollments and ROI, you or Walgreens?

Anyhow, you get the idea.

There is a lot more and I for one do not doubt the ability of the brain trust over on Wilmot Ave in Deerfield, Illinois to pull this off and be successful along any number of quality, outcome or financial measures. After all, I worked for them for a couple of years as the senior marketing manager responsible for all specialty pharmacy marketing and understand how they think, work and accomplish things. So this isn't a surprise for me and makes perfect sense. Fits right in with the Take Care retail clinic, Workplace Health the employer worksite clinics, specialty pharmacy, home infusion, respiratory care and durable medical equipment businesses they have been building since 2007.

If you weren't serious about upgrading your marketing talent, resources and operations for getting ready for some real competition in healthcare, you better. Walgreens entry into ACOs changes the healthcare competition and marketing game.

Now, where are those hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers, free-standing diagnostic centers and nursing homes for sub-acute care that will build out their retail healthcare system?

Michael Krivich is an internationally followed healthcare marketing blogger with over 5,000 monthly pages views in over 52 countries worldwide on Healthcare Marketing Matters. He is founder of the michael J group, a healthcare marketing consultancy dedicated to creating value through strategic marketing for hospitals and health system regardless of payment mechanism, either fee-for-service or value-based to increase market-share, revenue , brand and demonstrate actual return on marketing investment. Michael is a Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives and a Professional Certified Marketer, American Marketing Association. Like us on facebook at the michael J group.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

How can you create a high performance healthcare marketing operation in 2013?


With healthcare changing so rapidly, 2013 promises to be even more challenging as the implementation of ACA moves forward. The healthcare industry whether they like it or not is becoming more consumer oriented. Those individuals enrolled in Consumer Directed Health Plans are shopping for healthcare services based on price and are price sensitive for example. Many more changes are coming that will put the healthcare consumer in charge and they will be demanding answers.

Here are 10 more steps that healthcare marketing departments need to take right now to be relevant and lead their organizations to a more healthcare consumer focused environment.

10. Educate your organization about the value of your department and work. Lead and prove your departments ROI. Marketing just doesn't make things "look pretty".

9. Scan the B2C companies for their marketing successes. Learn about them, adapt them to healthcare, and implement successfully. Healthcare will take giant steps in 2013 to become consumer driven, so you had better learn how to market effectively to the healthcare consumer. And that means meeting their needs not yours.

8. Invest in market research. It's the only way you can obtain an unbiased view of your healthcare consumers and their needs. I think I know, the physicians know or senior management knows without the quantitative data won't work anymore.

7. Integrate traditional, online and social marketing strategies. All are complementary to one another and drive multiple successes. Figure out how the healthcare consumer wants information and give it them their way

6. Focus the company on the Voice of the Customer and the entire Patient Experience and work tirelessly to improve both. From your VoC efforts will come innovation.

5. Use data to drive change. There is so much healthcare data available, now is the time to learn how to manipulate the data sets and use outcomes to your advantage. No more guessing.

4. Define the brand, brand promise and show what the value of that brand is to your internal and external stakeholders.

3. Stop using the words "unique", "state-of-the-art", and anything that is considered "buzz word" terminology in marketing communications. Unique can be duplicated easily. State-of-the-art refers to yesterday's systems as things change so fast. Buzz words quickly fall out of favor.

2. Bridge the divide between sales and marketing. Without effective working relationships neither will be successful.

1. Be agile in your plans, execute crisply, measures and evaluate often and change immediately. Fail fast.

Get ready for the healthcare world to be turned in its head in 2014.

Michael Krivich is an internationally followed healthcare marketing blogger with over 5,000 monthly pages views in over 52 countries worldwide on Healthcare Marketing Matters. He is founder of the michael J group, a healthcare marketing consultancy dedicated to creating value through strategic marketing for hospitals and health system regardless of payment mechanism, either fee-for-service or value-based to increase market-share, revenue , brand and demonstrate actual return on marketing investment. Michael is a Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives and a Professional Certified Marketer, American Marketing Association. Like us on facebook at the michael J group.