Healthcare marketing is a phenomenon that actively promotes features of healthcare industry.
A successful healthcare marketing process follows the three major concepts framework, view point and definition. Healthcare marketing has dramatically changed over the last decade, mainly due to reforms initiated by the government (Barry and Basler, 2007). One prime modification in the healthcare market is the incorporation of Medicare, which works as a form of reimbursement for healthcare institutions.
A few decades ago, healthcare investigators attempted to establish the relationship between healthcare practitioners and patients. One of the observations they observed was that patients often had only a few choices in terms of healthcare providers, hence they have no resort but to maintain a relationship with a particular doctor amidst substandard patient care delivery.
Another observation the investigators observed was the patients tend to screen or try out different physicians and just pick out which physician works best with their own personal preference. In addition, other individuals would also screen different hospitals and then later decide which hospital serves them best in terms of their hospital needs.
It was soon then confirmed that individuals actively select specific hospitals for particular hospital services. The identification of the public’s selection criteria was then crucial in understanding the importance of healthcare programs. Since then, healthcare industries have incorporated public awareness and information dissemination into their marketing program.
Such activity facilitated straightforward explanation and advertising of the features of each healthcare company. In addition, surveys were conducted to determine what important factors do people check in relation to availing health care services, such as quality care, service satisfaction and innovations in health care delivery.
Personal communication is a key element in healthcare marketing (Bethell, 2007). It involves interaction between two or three people, or as families. Such elements is very important because is provides a venue of contact between the healthcare worker and the client.
If the communication is successful, he is able to incorporate his messages into the current attitudes of the clients, and in turn, the client will cooperate and subscribe to the healthcare programme.
Another type of communication that plays a major role in healthcare marketing is mass media communication. This involves the employment of radio, television, exhibitions and posters. Such type of media has the advantage of relaying information to far bigger numbers of people spanning larger areas of coverage.
An important feature of personal communication in relation to healthcare marketing is the non-verbal manner of delivery of information. This includes the tone of the voice of the speaker, the facial expression, and the gestures or physical actions that are employed by the individual speaking.
Even the simple manner of standing and the head and eye movements of the speaker may project a different message if delivered in an uncontrolled way. Negative projections of these non-verbal actions may relay emotions such as sympathy, anger and dislike.
Healthcare marketing today is more actively involved in social promotion, than in advertisement through the media. Social marketing is designed to enhance the acceptability of the clients by providing at on-hand explanation of the healthcare program, as well as its continuing development and incentives that would benefit the target group.
Hence, it is also important for a healthcare company to routinely communicate with their operating executives to define the budget, goals and responsibilities of each marketing personnel.
It should be noted that healthcare marketing is easily differentiated from marketing of other types of business because this area involves personally augmenting the lives of people who are suffering from personal physical and mental illnesses. Hence, healthcare marketing always considers personal specifications of potential clients.
This may be done by conducting interviews with different communities and populations, and categorically ordering the factors of these potential clients as very important to not so important factors. Other healthcare companies conduct interviews through the mail, yet this may be a little more expensive that personal interviews.
Regular monitoring and assessment of a health plan and its subsequent dissemination of information to its members is very important (Gearon, 2006). Such feature is valuable in terms of a healthcare company’s goal in continuously improving the health care performance and efficiency of its plans.
And it is also known that the most reliable way of improving any health care plan is by gathering the comments and suggestions of the end-users, which are actually the members itself, who directly apply such health care plans to their daily lives. A number of instruments have been developed to facilitate their evaluation of their health care policy.
The Health Plan Employer Data Information Set (HEDIS) allows the a healthcare company to quantitatively describe the health care policy’s feature according to the rules and guidelines set by the National Committee for Quality Assurance.
Another measurement tool is the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS), which is a standard test that determines the member’s evaluation of the policy plan.
A third measurement tool is the eValue8, which is an analytical measurement test that is run by employers and other employer-based organizations to appraise the features of the healthcare plan.
The appraisal of a healthcare policy and features every year and comparatively assesses the results of the last 7 years of performance. Such comprehensive review of the policy often times lead to points of improvement. These are then actively considered an incorporated into the working health policy and its members are likewise advised of the new changes.
Any other comments or suggestions are freely expressed by its members, and the healthcare company at the same time welcomes such constructive criticisms. Using such scenario for the implementation of its health policy, the healthcare company may become a very strong and effective health care provider.