[Series installment.] Today, one of the paramount themes for successfully marketing healthcare organizations is delivering value for the patient. Patients—now informed consumer-shoppers—are receptive to a persuasive message that connects health care quality to price.
Recently, Dr. Thomas Lee, Chief Medical Officer of Press Ganey, and I discussed how healthcare delivery has become a consumer-savvy, patient-centric environment. And how doctors, health systems and hospitals are increasingly challenged to improve performance, reduce patient suffering and improve the patient experience. [You can hear our conversation in our Leadership Podcast, The Best Strategies in Healthcare Begin with Empathy.]
A critical component in achieving performance goals is for organizations to compete on the basis of delivering greater value for the patient. The actual costs of healthcare are often confusing, even for informed consumers who may only be aware of their insurance premiums, out of pocket amounts, co-pay costs, or cash or elective care costs. But they do always appreciate how the patient experience relates to their sense of value that is delivered in healthcare.
The economic and competitive landscape…
The nation’s economy, some observers say, has not recovered to pre-2008 standards. We would like to believe that there has been some improvement, but unemployment, under-employment, insurance industry dynamics, and changes related to the Affordable Care Act have financially impacted the healthcare consumer.
With or without the dynamics of the ACA, there are more under-insured or uninsured families; and many plans have higher premiums, deductibles and co-pays. Consequently, many patients are spending less, deferring care or entirely skipping doctor visits.
As a result, competition in healthcare is increasing, and many consumer/patients carefully evaluate their healthcare choices. They have a choice of providers, and they are looking for the highest and best value for their care.
However, it seems that most consumers don’t believe the adage that ‘you get what you pay for’ in health care.” In the minds of many Americans, according to a study published in the journal Health Affairs, the quality of care is closely connected with the cost of care.[bctt tweet=”Delivering and communicating value to the patient provides a competitive advantage.” username=”hcsuccess”]
Kaiser Health News quotes the study’s lead author, Kathryn Phillips from the University of California, San Francisco: “The data provides useful information for health care organizations that are trying to understand how people make choices. In order for these tools to work, we have to understand how people use this information. You can’t just put price information out there and expect people to use it.”
The challenge for hospitals and providers is to deliver greater value to the patient. And, for marketing professionals, a persuasive marketing message—one that convincingly links cost to exceptional value and quality of care—that produces a strong competitive advantage.