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02. Four Steps To Market Value-Based Care

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Value-based healthcare is coming to a health system near you.

 Are you ready?

Shawn Gross, a chief digital strategist at a healthcare agency in Boston, says it’s time for marketers to start re-imagining their marketing efforts.

 “I know a lot of us feel like we’re in the waiting game of seeing what will happen to the Affordable Care Act, but I really don’t think ‘fee for service’ will come back in vogue,” Gross says. “We need to start thinking about how to shift our marketing efforts to value-based care.”


Here’s how:


Step One: Create a tool

Got some extra cash to spend?

Try developing a technology tool that connects back to your EHR. Gross shares this example:

 “Let’s say you’ve been advertising on billboards, hoping that someday — somebody comes to your health system because of one,” Gross says. “Let’s stop doing that for now. Instead, imagine yourself as a service line marketing manager. I recommend working with your IT department to build a clinical companion app that’s all about expanding relationships beyond a hospital’s walls.”

 Gross says clinical companion apps are important because hospitals need to think about how to expand their digital footprint. A patient only sees their primary care physician about once a year, but what if they had some kind of app from their hospital that reminded them to get more sunshine, eat better and exercise more? That way, their PCP is always by their side.

 “You want to create something that’s educational and interactive,” Gross says. “You want to weave it into the fabric of what your hospital does. Create a tool that patients will use — and don’t use the app for marketing or advertising. That really turns people away.”


Step Two: Get a new BFF

Here’s who you want to cozy up to in a value-based system: your chief experience officer.

“A marketer and a chief experience officer is a match made in Heaven,” Gross says. “If these departments can work together — marketers can start getting more involved with becoming ambassadors of the brand experience.”

Make an effort to get to know other people in your C-suite, too. Remember, at the C-suite level, their whole goal is to keep costs down and provide the best care possible. If all their beds are filled, they don’t understand what marketing can do.

“A lot of times, marketing is seen as advertising and that’s a dirty word,” Gross says. “Marketers need to be baked into the hospital product. For example, take a look at Apple’s iPod versus Microsoft’s Zune. Nobody remembers Zune because they slapped marketing in at the end of product development. With Apple, they spend a lot of effort and money on marketing. Make sure you get a seat at the table.”


Step Three: Improve physician and patient relationships

For the last two decades, health systems have been all about their brand — putting it on billboards, brochures or blasting it on social media.

But now, it’s time to get more personal. And here’s why: By 2018, 25 percent of CMS reimbursements will come from patient satisfaction scores.

“Marketers need to know that patient satisfaction surveys will start to carry more weight,” Gross says. “And a lot of satisfaction can come from building deeper relationships and building trust between patients and doctors.”

As more health systems hire chief experience officers from the hospitality industry, you can team up together to figure out how to re-train staff on bedside manner. Doctors and nurses will need to think about how to treat patients like guests — not just patients.


Step Four: Re-think your scorecard

Right now, Press Ganey sends out scorecards to patients. These surveys are delivered three to four weeks, by mail, to patients after their hospital stay. Gross wants hospitals to re-think how they use their clout with Press Ganey.

“What if a marketer worked with Press Ganey to offer these surveys in new forms, like on a smartphones or tablets?” Gross says. “I know there’s a lot of concern about HIPAA, but Tufts Medical Center recently created a patient satisfaction app for their anesthesia department — in conjunction with Press Ganey — and used patient information in aggregate to improve what was happening within the department.”

This is second installation of seven blogs that make-up our white paper, Master the Marketing Techniques of Value Based Care. Can't wait until next week to read the next section?



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Vera Fischer

By Vera Fischer

The visionary of 97 Degrees West for more than thirteen years, Vera has served as the CEO and President since 2004. During Vera’s tenure, the agency has achieved steady growth while surviving both economic recessions in Austin, Texas. Vera began her advertising career at GSD&M where she worked on accounts: Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Houston Rockets, Dollar Rent-A-Car, Pearl Vision, SeaWorld and DoubleTree Hotels. Her next stop was the nationally recognized T3 known as “The Think Tank.” While at T3, Vera spearheaded the Dell Computers launch of the Preferred Accounts Division and lead national projects for the ESL and Enterprise Divisions. Other notable accounts included Quintiles Oncology, Austin Lyric Opera and St. David’s Hospital. In 2001, Vera left the agency world to embark on the client side as Director of Marketing for Forgent Networks, the software spin-off of VTEL video conferencing. Vera managed an annual multi-million dollar marketing budget, developed online lead generation programs, managed the inside sales team and consistently delivered high-quality MQLs to the sales team. In 2004, after a company wide re-org, Vera was laid off while on maternity leave. Within the day, she founded her agency, 97 Degrees West. Vera’s weekly podcast entitled, “System Execution”, launched in mid-2016 with notable guests like Ari Weinzweig, Jeff Smith, Gary Bizzo, Dr. Alan Pitt, and other business and thought leaders. Vera is the first woman to host a podcast devoted to systems and processes of successful companies. She is quickly becoming one of the country’s leading authorities on the topic of execution Vera is a member of the Austin University Area Rotary Club, an advisory board member for the School of Journalism & Mass Communication at Texas State University and a Mentor at Capital Factory in Austin, Texas. Vera is completing her Master’s in Strategic Communications at Texas State University in May 2018.