A TECTONIC SHIFT IN HEALTHCARE MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS

November 16, 2016

Healthcare marketers take note: If it’s not already, your organization will be as focused on keeping people healthy as it is on treating the sick. That means a major shift from marketing acute procedures within service lines to a message of health, wellness, and prevention. Here are four recent success stories to inspire you.

Transitioning Joint Health from Volume to Value

As part of its transition from volume- to value-based services, Healthgrades client Bon Secours St. Francis Health System promotes more than its joint replacement expertise. In its patient newsletter, it announces upcoming educational seminars on managing pain and on exercise as medicine, as well as physician-led group walks and low-cost yoga for osteoporosis. Its service line marketing focuses on patient-centric outcomes, including reduced pain and the ability to return to preferred activities. While the organization's costs have declined, its quality, patient volumes, and market share have all increased.

Managing Heart Disease 

One 400-physician group in Houston decided to leverage its decade-old status as an ACO to prevent heart attacks and strokes. It will participate in the new CMS initiative Million Hearts, whose goal is to prevent one million heart attacks and strokes by 2017. Using its electronic health record, the physician group identifies hypertensive patients. Case managers check the dates of these patients' last doctor’s visit and lab tests, their current blood pressure, and monitor their compliance with medications and visits. Then they message, call, or email patients who need help staying on track, with a special emphasis on diet and medication education. Their goal: to help 80% of hypertensive patients get their blood pressure under control.

Avoiding Acute Care

A 112-bed community hospital in Maine wanted to predict admissions, readmissions, and ER visits for self-pay and Medicaid patients. So the hospital tapped into Maine’s statewide health information exchange, HealthInfoNet, which contains 1.5 million lives. While case managers had already identified the highest-risk patients, predictive analytics helped detect medium-risk patients who were moving toward high-risk status. The combination of clinical and claims data also helped the hospital identify those at risk for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even death, so it could initiate palliative care earlier. By communicating with identified patients early and often, the hospital avoided unnecessary acute care that would negatively impact patient well-being and hospital finances.

Owning the Entire Patient Experience

A large health system comprising over 200 facilities and 3,500 physicians in the Southwest recently expanded into the insurance business. Why? After embracing the shift away from fee-for-service with a commitment to do the right thing for patients, it reduced costs by 11% and saved a total of $58 million in its first year of participation in the Medicare Shared Savings ACO. Its co-branded commercial ACO with Aetna also offers 30,000 members more reasonably priced care in a state where they are more financially at risk for their healthcare. So the logical next step was to integrate its strong brand, financial risk, and the consumer experience.

It now offers a variety of health plans covering 50,000 members, and has achieved a zero-cost trend within its own workforce. Its message is one of quality, integration, convenience, and cost avoidance. It uses technology to identify at-risk patients and gaps in their care, so it can reach out to them with personalized care options. By doing so, it has excelled in tobacco cessation counseling and blood pressure screenings, and is above average in diabetes control. Communicating early and often with patients has empowered the health system to successfully own the entire patient experience to promote both physical and financial health.

How can you market effectively to today’s consumer? Focus on keeping them healthy and well.

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