How To Market When Your Specialists Are Booked Out

January 10, 2019
David Marlowe, Principal of Strategic Marketing Concepts

David Marlowe, principal, Strategic Marketing Concepts, and Strategic Health Care Marketing Editorial Advisory Board member

In our new article, David Marlowe, principal, Strategic Marketing Concepts, and Strategic Health Care Marketing Editorial Advisory Board member, shares results from five recent nationwide studies he’s conducted of what consumers consider to be “reasonable” wait times for routine, non-urgent visits.

Will this type of information give marketers the hard evidence they need to stand up to provider groups that haven’t solved their access issues — and yet demand marketing support? Marlowe admits it can be a political minefield.

Here’s an excerpt:

In a recent SHSMD discussion board posting, one member raised the question: “Do you continue to market your specialists that are booked out for six weeks?” This posting highlights a challenge that has faced marketers in medical groups, hospitals, and health systems for many years — do we yield to pressure to market employed and affiliated medical groups when access is out of alignment with what consumers consider reasonable? Or as one of my clients expressed it some years back, “Why spend money just to get more people annoyed at us?”

Over the past 20 years, and certainly in the past decade, we have seen an explosive growth in employed physician groups in non-academic health systems. It is quite common these days to see groups with providers numbering in the hundreds, with some more than a thousand. Today the non-academic organizations face the same challenge — balancing marketing support with reasonable access for both new and current patients.

One key piece of information related to the decision about how to support employed and affiliated provider groups is the understanding of what consumers consider “reasonable” wait times for routine, non-urgent visits; truly urgent visits are often fitted into practice schedules regardless of how full that schedule is.

Read more: Should You Market Physician Practices When Access Is Limited? 6 Factors to Consider

Best regards,
Matt Humphrey

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