Health Care Marketing - Essay Example

In recent years, the healthcare sector has become very competitive and is shifting rapidly. The climb of the patient as a consumer, the beginning of innovative technologies and a new breed of entrepreneurial managers are the main factors behind this industrial transformation. Today’s health market has become consumer- driven. Patients are better informed and they know more about health and medical facility. It is against these conditions that this monograph has been developed as the marketing of hospital services assumes significance in the field of hospital management.

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This monograph is organized in sections. The first section gives an overview of services sector, healthcare services and marketing. The third section presents the socio-economic factors relating to the customers of healthcare services. The fourth section deals with the choices and preferences of the customers of health services and the factors influencing them in the selection of hospitals. The fifth section highlights the importance of marketing of healthcare services and examines the marketing practices of the selected commercial hospitals.

All the significant hospital activities concerning the seven As of the services marketing mix are covered n these sections. The conclusion and suggestions of the study will be useful not only to the academicians, teachers, students, hospital management and its personnel, but also to the government and health policymakers in formulating the future policies and strategies of the healthcare sector. Health marketing is a terrible need in Pakistan. With the small Gross Domestic Product (GAP) of 2. Spending on healthcare, the raising standard shifts of awareness, community health, population parameters, disease manifestation, media, technology etc. , a lot of spotlight has been generated o develop regulated mechanisms for preventive health care. Health Marketing can potential the need filling. Health marketing participate in health care in a multitude of settings including primary care programs, inpatient medical units, and specialized health care programs such as management of pain, rehabilitation, health of women, oncology, smoking cessation, and diverse other programs.

They also work in colleges and university, corporations, and for governmental agency. The descriptions of which are mentioned in the monograph. We wish you a healthy happy reading! Authors HEALTH CARE MARKETING & FACTORS AFFECTING Health care marketing The marketing of health care & services present different challenges as compare to other consumer goods and services, because it doesn’t deal with purchasing behavior whereas it deals with health behavior.

Awareness and education is basic floor of health marketing but it also deals with the change and adaptation of behavior, which is challenging and takes time. By changing population, research advances and health related problems, health care marketing is greatly influenced. Demographics The changing population not Just only affects marketing of health care good and revises but it also influences your working environment. For example, as people live longer, organizations may choose to create products and services personalized to an aging population or to their adult children serving as caregivers.

Since different groups -age, tribal, income level respond to different marketing messages or venues, marketers of health care must be careful to develop marketing strategies tailored for different populations Trends People can reverse healthy behaviors for many different reasons, although the reasons may be complex, which makes marketing a complex challenge. For example, even though research has shown the negative effects of too much sun exposure, diverse age groups react differently.

Marketers are tasked with understanding why; perhaps young people are caught up in a trend of going to salons of tanning and believe that to be safer than the outdoor sun. Trends in Economy can also affect hale and hearty habits, such as eating healthy, purchasing medication or equipment such as glucose testing kits for diabetics. Policies Healthcare marketers need to understand how government health policies and guidelines might impact marketing efforts. Changes in health insurance laws can effect how people seek preventative or emergency health care, for example.

Removing prescription requirements from popular medicines can increase their admittance to people, yet the ETC cost may then become high-priced to some, or there may be concern about the abuse of a product without a doctor’s prescription, hence extra education may be necessary. New federal nutritional guidelines for healthy eating or to prevent disease may be complicated for some populations. Privacy Privacy is a paramount concern in marketing of health care, particularly for marketers working by a health care provider such as a hospital or clinic.

The need is to recognize and rigorously adhere to privacy laws and how you can and cannot use patient health information to market goods and services. For other, such as those working for a manufacturer of healthcare products, research will assist you expertise in your marketing messages to convey sensitivity; for example, marketing drug- testing appliances to parents to use on their adolescents or condoms for prevention of sexually transmitted diseases. Relationship Marketing Relationship marketing is in general the sum of all the activities a business engages in to increase customer pleasure.

It is a straight marketing approach that targets a definite audience, attempt to convey a specific message and achieve a specific result. Avenues for attainment out to customers are a blend of getting on and novel, including the Internet, e-mail communications, database applications as well as print newsletters, surveys and message via postal mail. Consumer skepticism and an increasing desire on the part of patients to be involved in healthcare decisions underscores the need for relationship marketing in healthcare.

Opportunity and keeping outline of communication open between health center, employees and attentions increases trust, build faithfulness and ultimately increases “sales. ” Although not unique to the healthcare, relationship marketing has a special role within this business sector and seeks to correct MIS-conceptions, change opinions and ultimately provide better healthcare for all. Applications in Healthcare Applying relationship marketing principles to the healthcare industry reveals new and better ways to interact and improve the doctor-patient relationship.

With on the whole goal of pouring up sales and rising profits, this customer-focus approach to marketing uses marketing materials and relevant educational programs to place a capital, clinic or entity doctor as an supporter and source of support rather than a mistrusted contention source. Activities focus as much on improving interpersonal behaviors as they do on actively reaching out to patients in order to remove any doctor-patient disconnect and make communication a two-way street.

Benchmarks Keeping your patient needs, wants and desires definitely in mind, marketing relationship, focus benchmark, listening, proportioning, providing, adopting and integrating. The focus is always on to discover and understand patient needs whatever those needs may be. Listening directly and by using electronic and print media engages and motivates your patient to communicate, creating it easier to truly understand their needs.

The information you gather can help you prioritize and budget marketing dollars, providing a variety of ways to reach and interact with patients in areas that have the maximum effect and ROI. Customer service adaptation approach that relationship marketing requires makes service an integral part of an overall package of treatment. Lastly, integrate ways to determine results, and constantly doing so, allows you to adapt and change as your patients’ needs and ants change. The Bottom Line Relationship marketing is a cost-effective way of doing business.

It appreciably increases the chances of retaining old and getting new patients and in the last, getting a high-quality ROI. The relationships you foster benefit the health of your patients also. Amplified levels of trust and meaningful you are on their side may be just “what the doctor ordered” to help patients overcome a fear of or resistance to treatments and make better healthcare decisions. ETHICS Ethics set standards of good and bad as opposed to right and wrong in situations where decision has to be taken.

Ethics provides the floor for decision making in delivering health care services irrespective of their concern with right and wrong, They symbolize rules of moral principles which affect daily routine life of a health worker and aid him in situations of ethical dilemma Ethics in Marketing Much has been whispered about the four As of marketing-?product, price, place, and promotion; but minute has been said about the importance of the big E in marketing, ethics. In today’s surroundings, where the information is full of reports of questionable leadership behaviors, ethics seems to have become a choice.

As healthcare executive, we are charged with not only to ensure quality services but also to manage our profession as a open trust. Marketing is commonly viewed by healthcare executives as a means to create or expand demand for services that the association provides. This view is completely appropriate when a new service is developed that meets a real need for consumers or the public. But often, executive are faced with questions regarding the real need of a certain product or program: How many heart centers do most communities require? Has the efficiency of full body scanners been satisfied?

Is the current growth in barbaric surgery necessary, and are candidate for these actions being appropriately screened and prepared? Across the country, cost issues dominate discussions regarding the healthcare industry Guiding principle for advertising in the healthcare industry has been developed by various organizations. Hospitals and healthcare organizations should develop internal strategy for their marketing and other advertising communications and share those with promotion agencies, graphic designers, photographers, advertising writers, and other appropriate parties.

The guiding principle should address and clarify notorious issues such as the following Not using patient and staff, instead focusing on model and actors Patient survey and awards information inclusion avoidance of unsupported claims that create unrealistic expectations, and Addition of messages that create demand for unnecessary services. In addition, these guidelines should include standards for dealing with legal issues, such as those that may come up if a hospital advertises the practice of an independent physician; in this situation, hospital legal counsel must review promotion Views of Ethical Behavior

MYTHS & TRUTHS ABOUT MARKETING Every member of a practice is a marketing specialist every day, whether in field or office a marketer thinks about his customer and benefiting the patients but there are certain barriers to the effective strategies of marketer. Myths been raised in public if believed by majority of the population becomes the fact of the real world vice versa if the public isn’t aware of the facts, the facts become myths for them.

The interchanging behavior of myths and facts keep revolving around the population we are serving, especially in countries like Pakistan where the status of literacy is ionizing and awareness prevails within 25% of the population, marketing of health service is considered to be the selling of health service, where a the only objective of marketer is awareness and education of the community. The following contains some myths about the health care marketing Myth #1 : Healthcare Marketing is wicked The foundations of this myth come from the idea that healthcare marketing and promotion attempts to lean potential patients with biased information.

The dilemma that some people see with this is that, due to the special and fragile nature of latherer, publicity and promotion techniques shouldn’t have an authority. People shouldn’t be influenced or persuaded when it comes to something so important. Why BUSTING IN MARKETING Healthcare Inbound We know there is a lot of movement in traditional marketing that is deceitful. Ample of advertisers and marketers don’t have your best interest at heart-?they’re only interested in product sale. But healthcare marketing is much more about having a discussion.

It’s concerning to provide potential patients with the answers to the questions they didn’t know they needed to inquire. By means of healthcare in-bound cuisines of marketing, the objective is to notify your patients-?through posting blob, videos, premium text, and social media activity-?and allow them to make the best choices with the best information. Myth #2: Healthcare Marketing is a misuse of Valuable Funds Anyone who has ever faced expensive healthcare bills has probably had this thought: “If only the hospital would cut down on avoidable expenses, I wouldn’t have to pay much. A lot of people believe money used for healthcare marketing would be better used up elsewhere, whether it’s on lowering costs, purchasing new equipment, or implicating studies for advancement in medical study. Or, on a more basic level, many hospitals and facilities think they Just can’t afford more advanced marketing techniques. Why BUSTING IN MARKETING Healthcare Inbound The internet has managed to become the great equalizer of marketing finance. Thanks to in-bound marketing strategy, healthcare marketing doesn’t have to be something that breaks your hospital or practice’s finance.

While there are positively ways to spend a lot of money on your inbound marketing movement, there are too a lot of ways to slash corners. Most social media sites are free to utilize and, to blob is a very low-cost way to provide your patients with lots of information. In addition, your ROI holds a good chance to bust this myth all on its own. 51% of marketing agencies reported positive Rossi from their inbound marketing efforts in 2013. Myth #3: Healthcare Marketing is Time Consuming Hospitals and practices have numerous important daily tasks that get moved to the top of the to-do list out of basic need.

With the whole thing else going on, making time for inbound marketing efforts that require constant supervision Just doesn’t me rational. Even if you have an elected marketing team, keeping up with a lot of different outlets of communication seems tedious and unnecessary Why BUSTING IN MARKETING Healthcare Inbound While running an effective inbound marketing campaign for your hospital or healthcare organization is no minute task, there are many tackle and services that can help keep you organized and accountable to your content strategy.

There will likely be more time consuming work on the border end, but one time you get your system in place, there are organization strategies that can assist lighten your work erasure. Not to state that the time you do put in will be worth it-?the difference can make for the profitability of your hospital or practice can help save you time in other areas. Regardless of what the critics say, it’s forever best to do your individual research and determine what the best marketing course of action is for your hospital or healthcare association.

A large amount of the criticism that has been leveled against healthcare marketing is toward an outdated model that involves television commercials and billboards. As an alternative, in-bound marketing allows hospitals ND healthcare organizations to save money and communicate with patients to give them the information they crave. Truth #1 using search engine 77 percent of patients use search engines to research hospitals. Online hunt has become crucial to the consumer research process.

Do you know what pops up when someone searches for your hospital name? Search engines hold no bias; good reviews and bad reviews will be served from multiple sources, including blob postings, message boards, sites like Yelp, and public Twitter conversations. Actively managing your online presence can positively influence the conversation. Truth#2 health information 59 percent of adults have looked online for health information in the past year. This is a golden chance to get in at the ground floor with possible prospects.

By building multiple healthcare conversations with your audience, you have a much better chance of being relevant to their online searches-?thus making your brand top of mind when they make a final decision about a provider. Truth#3 rely on hospital site 83 percent of patients rely on hospital sites to make a decision. Have you looked at your site recently? Does it look like a throwback to 1999 or is it sleek, modern and ass to use? For a lot of people, your hospital’s website is the first time they’ll interact with your brand-?and as the old adage goes, you only have one chance to make a first impression.

Make it count by ensuring that your site is up to date with modern web standards, technologies and design philosophies. Truth#4 hospital social media 57 percent said that a hospital’s social media connections would strongly affect their choice of providers. More than 50 percent of the nation has a social media account of some kind, with Backbone leading the charge. If you aren’t out there engaging with our audience, you’re already losing market and maidenhair to your competitors.

Talking to your audience online can help cement a solid, long-lasting relationship-? and they’ll share these experiences with their friends on their networks, exponentially increasing your brand’s online reach. Truth#5 health experience 24 percent of patients post about their health experiences. We live in an increasingly connected world. Many of your patients are posting about your hospital before they step in, and immediately giving feedback after they step out. By involving yourself in this conversation, you can make sure that your brand has solid online footing, mitigating bad experiences and reinforcing good ones.

Do’s & donor’s of marketing Marketing is everything this time. You can have the best technology, but if customers don’t know you exist, or they don’t know how your technology solves a real trouble for them, your set up will fail. What medical marketing can’t do? Overcome unsatisfactory or unpleasant experiences in your practice. Overcome poor performance by you and your staff. Create a sudden and incredible response. Create a demand for services where no demand exists. Produce effective results if the message is misleading. What medical marketing can do?

Increase awareness in your market area and reach newcomers. Patients to STAY. Generate renewal and referral patients. Increase patient volume for certain services and programs. Support volume at slow times of the year. Improve the attitude and morale of you and your staff. Challenges in Health Care Marketing Encourage current The characteristics of healthcare organizations stand in contrast to the characteristics of firms in other industries, with healthcare providers in particular behaving in a manner often inconsistent with that of organizations in other fields.

Health professionals, especially clinicians, fall into a special category, and the fact that clinicians-?not administrators or businesspeople-?make most of the decisions with regard to patient care creates a dynamic unique to healthcare. The nature of healthcare goods and services sets them apart from the goods and services offered in other industries Health Care industry The development of a marketing culture in any industry is predicated on the existence of certain assumptions about that industry and the marketing enterprise.

It is presumed that the market involves organized groups of sellers, informed buyers, n orderly mechanism for carrying out transactions between sellers and buyers, and a straightforward process for transferring payment for products between buyers and sellers. The operation off market further assumes that consumers have adequate, if not perfect, knowledge concerning the available goods and services, that a rational system of pricing exists, and that the laws of supply and demand operate.

The existence of a true market in an economic sense -in healthcare has been much debated. Furthermore, the existence of a market is predicated on assumptions about he motives and activities of buyers and sellers in the market. For example, the assumption that buyers are driven primarily, if not exclusively, by economic motives does not fit well with what we know about die behavior of healthcare organizations. Another assumption from economic theory-? that buyers seek to maximize their benefits from the exchange-?is also an uncomfortable fit.

Thus, a number of factors operate to prevent the buyers of health services from operating in the same manner as the buyers of lawn services or accounting services. The existence of a market also resumes that sellers compete for the consumer’s resources and that this competition determines the price of the goods and services offered. In healthcare, however, it is not unusual for healthcare providers to maintain a monopoly over a particular service within a particular market It is even more common for oligopolies of healthcare organizations to dominate a particular market.

Thus, the buyer of health services is frequently limited in their choice of medical personnel or facilities. As an industry, healthcare also differs from other sectors of society in terms of the averse goals of its key organizations. The goals are straightforward whether the product is detergent, cereal, or office supplies. The intent is to sell as many units as possible while extracting the maximum profit from the transaction. This does not mean that retailers do not serve other purposes.

They provide employment and benefits for their employees and profits for their shareholders, and they usually contribute to the community in the form of donations, sponsorship of events, and so on, but these activities are secondary to their single-minded goal of selling consumer products. In other industries, potential buyers who do not have the ability to pay or who for some other reason are considered to be undesirable customers can be refused service. Lack of Seller Discretion The diffuse goals of most healthcare organizations distinguish them from other firms.

Most healthcare organizations, on the other hand, are obligated (by law in most cases) to accept clients even though the clients are unable to pay for the services and are deemed “undesirable” Emergency departments essentially cannot turn away any patient needing emergency care until the patient has at least been stabilized. While providers may have some discretion in acceptance of patients with stable, routine conditions, while physician offices may require some payment on the front end for those patients without insurance, there are ethical considerations associated with turning a clearly symptomatic patient away.

This situation means that healthcare organizations often provide services that are not profitable. Financing the purchase of Goods & Services Unlike other industries, healthcare lacks a straightforward means of financing the purchase of goods and services, particularly for patient care services. Consumers in other industries typically pay directly for the goods and services they consume, either out of pocket or through some method of credit. In healthcare, many times some portion of the cost may be paid out of pocket by the consumer, the majority of the fees are likely to be paid by a third party.

This may be a private insurance plan or a government-sponsored plan such as Medicare or Medicaid. The seller may have to deal with thousands of different insurance plans, and the services may be paid for using a combination of different payment mechanisms. This type of situation cannot e found in any other industry and results in a much more complicated financial picture for healthcare than for other industries Health care purchases Ultimately, many healthcare purchases are not in response to a health need (and certainly not an urgent need), but in response to a want.

One has only to look at the hot areas in the provision of health services Today business is booming for cosmetic surgery, laser eye surgery, skin care, and medically supervised weight-loss programs. None of the conditions these procedures address are life threatening or even medically necessary. The fact that virtually none of these services are covered by standard insurance plans reflects the elective nature of these procedures. Marketers recognize a want when they see one; it is not necessary to wait until a need is discovered.

Healthcare consumers are perhaps most distinguished from consumers of other goods and services by their insulation from the price of the products they consume. Because of the unusual financing arrangement characterizing healthcare and the lack of access to pricing information, healthcare consumers seldom know the price of the services they are consuming, until after they have consumed them. While the positive effect of this situation is that clinicians are likely to provide or recommend the services they believe to be medically necessary independent of price.

AT least two problematic consequences arise from this situation. First Consumers are not likely to limit resource utilization to prevent running up the cost of care. If they do not know the amount of the fees being charged, —-and do not have to pay them anyway, —–no incentive to use services wisely exists. Similarly, providers have no incentive to provide services efficiently if this is the case. Indeed, under rotational fee for-service arrangements the incentives available to physicians contributed to greater use of resources.

Second Healthcare providers are able to use price as a means of competition or as a basis for marketing. With the exception of those organizations that provide elective services or serve a retail market, there is no way to compete based on price. Few consumers are knowledgeable concerning the operation of the healthcare system or have direct experience with many aspects of its delivery mechanisms. There is typically no basis for evaluation of the quality of services provided by health facilities or practitioners,