New School Marketing Shifts that Boost Service Line Profitability
by Stewart Gandolf
Clinical service department profitability is a constant challenge for hospitals. That’s nothing new. What’s changed, however, is just about everything else.
The newly empowered patient now regards medical services with the critical eye of a retail shopper. The dynamics of health care reform, facility mergers and acquisitions and increasingly intense competition have business savvy CEOs and marketing pros laser-focused on Return-on-Investment (ROI).
Change is so rapid and pervasive that relatively recent marketing goals, strategies and tactics are being challenged as “old school.” One course—usually the longer path—is to create a completely new service line and seek payback over the long term.
But for most hospitals, the more natural starting point is to apply fresh thinking to the process of attracting patients to departments that already harbor the widest appeal, best margins and maximum profitability.
Traditionally, service departments representing the best business opportunities include cardiovascular, general surgery and orthopedics. And, depending on market dynamics, geriatrics, neurosurgery, urology, PCP/FP, oncology and others have demonstrated business strength.
Shifting to a new course for greater success
Hospital executives understand that being the generic medical commodity in a community—being all things to everyone—is no strategy at all. Specific services differentiate hospitals in the mind of the public and lay claim to a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
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