02 Oct 4 Tips for Identifying and Communicating Value in the Healthcare Marketplace
What makes healthcare through your organization different?
Why should consumers choose your clinic or practice over Zoom+ or a Walgreens retail clinic? Why should patients call one of your primary care doctors for a routine checkup when they can get a free SoloHealth health assessment at a Walmart, CVS or Safeway?
Many well-established clinics that focus on life-long care from doctors patients know and trust are still in measured disbelief these questions even need answering. In fact, they do.
The proliferation of retail health clinics and services mean consumers have more choice than ever when it comes to their healthcare. Lower costs and transparency, convenience (more locations, reduced wait times)—these things matter to people. They are also increasingly accessible through disruptive models of care. Add in the fact that larger health systems keep getting larger through consolidation, as well as the growing popularity of alternative medicine, and smaller systems and clinics are under pressure to compete for patients at a level previously unknown.
How should these organizations respond to recent changes and those coming in the future? Here are four suggestions:
#1 Don’t operate on false or past assumptions that may no longer be relevant. The healthcare landscape is dynamic and changing. New models of care will help drive consumer tastes and preferences, which will continue to evolve. If your organization has not conducted a public survey to understand the strength of its model and capitalize on future opportunities for growth, there’s no time like the present. Conduct a survey at least biannually to bench mark results and drive strategic business discussions. In addition to being smart, this may save hours of uninformed speculation at planning meetings.
#2 Be open to “informed” change. An organization with any kind of history and success is likely to face new challenges with old thinking. In the case of healthcare providers, this may mean resisting any kind of meaningful change or heading a strategic direction that seems right but is actually uninformed. In short, do you know what patients/consumers in your service area really want? When was the last time you conducted a patient or public survey? Related findings may not mean you embrace wholesale change, but they could produce smart, well-considered enhancements to your offerings that help you keep pace in the dynamic healthcare environment.
#3 Understand your unique value and contribution to the marketplace. Don’t be something you’re not, but don’t fail to be what you are. Increased consumer choice in healthcare may seem threatening. It‘s also an opportunity for organizations to differentiate themselves. At the end of the day, there are various reasons why people choose to go with one provider or type of provider over another. Make sure you know why people choose you. Prior to any strategic decision to expand a service or specialty—or something even bigger—in response to what other players are doing, be sure you understand the strength of what you currently offer. There’s often hidden wisdom in this important detail that may be underappreciated in the rush to stay relevant. Finally….
#4 Communicate. Communicate. Communicate. A growing number of voices in the industry are clamoring for patient business. They are vying for the public’s attention with different models of care and service. Your voice deserves to be heard, as well. More than ever, healthcare is a business, and businesses have to tell their story to the right audiences in an authentic and compelling manner. Leave the bureaucratic, doctor-speak behind and effectively communicate your services, your people and your value to the public.
Bottom line: Consumers will continue to have greater choice when it comes to their healthcare. The good news? They can choose you.