5 Healthcare Marketing Trends That Will Impact Your Hospital or Practice
MARCH 22, 2012:
Brian Bierbaum, Vice President of Strategy and Growth
Social Media Email Marketing Marketing Strategy
Who says healthcare is boring? There are more game changing trends occurring in healthcare that stand to impact the way you market you hospital or practice than in the history of modern healthcare. Let’s take a brief journey through 5 trends that will impact your marketing department this year.
Consolidation and Merger & Acquisition Mania
From 2005 until 2008, the proportion of hospital-owned medical practices surged from 25.6 percent to 49.5 percent, according to the Medical Group Management Association . Last year, nearly half of new doctors became salaried employees of hospital-owned practices, surpassing for the first time the number who joined medical groups owned by physicians.
Hospitals are not the only ones consolidating their talent. Large health systems are gobbling up previously independent hospitals at astonishing rates. What does this mean for you as a marketer? In 2012, you’ll need to communicate how these larger healthcare organizations will provide value to patients. Make your value proposition very clear to the community.
Growth in Consumer Driven Health Plans
Employers large and small are moving towards defined contribution plans such as HSAs and HRAs. As more consumers enroll in these programs, they will be more selective in their healthcare spending. Also of interest, we’re seeing insurers and medical practices work with businesses to create wellness programs for employees.
Physician Referrals. Still a Driving Force.
While consumers are gaining more share of voice, physicians are still a major driving force behind healthcare decisions. Continue honing your focus on physician marketing using email and consider implementing a Physician Relationship Management (PRM) system for a more proactive marketing approach.
Greater Focus, Targeting and Segmentation.
If you don’t have a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system in place, this is the year to get your data in order. You can target without compromising HIPAA compliance – and many healthcare organizations are already embracing that mantra. Many of our financial services clients have found success with targeting and segmenting their emails. We’ve recently begun implementing similar techniques for healthcare clients.
Power to the People!
Social media is empowering consumers with their healthcare decisions. For good or bad. Yes, people are sharing health experiences with friends (and complete strangers) via Facebook, Twitter and other heavily used social channels. Often overlooked are the smaller online sites that focus directly on the provider. Sites such as Angie’s List, Healthgrades, Yelp!, and Vitals.com are either directly focused on healthcare providers or are expanding to accommodate them.
Forward-thinking healthcare marketers will embrace this change and actively manage their listings on these sites to generate positive online communication (just as you likely utilize LinkedIn to manage your reputation). Social media is just one avenue of an increased focus on emerging digital media.
What trends are you seeing? Please share below!