// By Brad Bostic //
Is your health system marketing its laboratory services to people outside your network? If not, there may be untapped opportunities worth pursuing. Find out how your marketing efforts can play a valuable role in furthering your success in this area.
Laboratory outreach, the practice of making hospital lab services available to customers other than patients, is gaining traction as hospitals increasingly view labs as potential revenue generators. In fact, lab outreach programs today generate an average of $19 million in revenue, and some are much larger.
Hospital marketers skilled at creating effective marketing and sales campaigns can play an important role in filling unused lab capacity, building strong relationships with physicians, educating patients, and contributing to a strong bottom line for the health system.
Outreach or Outsource
Hospital laboratories today face strong headwinds. Insurance payers are cutting reimbursement rates, rising co-pays have induced health care consumers to question the necessity of tests, and hospitals with razor-thin margins are pressuring lab managers to do more with less.
If that’s not enough, laboratory managers increasingly find themselves defending the very existence of their labs. Hospitals facing dwindling payment rates and margins are looking for ways to boost the bottom line, and that often means outsourcing laboratory work. In fact, about 100 health care organizations a year are completely or partially divesting their labs.
Rethinking the Role of Laboratories
The cure for what ails hospital labs is to develop and market an effective outreach program. Traditionally, labs have been viewed as a cost center, not a profit center, and that thinking has to change. Hospital marketers can play a vital role in this effort by lending their expertise in messaging, communication, segmentation, and promotion.
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