How to Turn Accountable Care Organizations Into “Hot Brands”

October 27, 2016

// By Andrea J. Simon, Ph.D. //

Andrea SimonA colleague called me not long ago to discuss his dilemma. He had the opportunity to join an ACO (Accountable Care Organization) and was perplexed, to say the least.

He is a smart guy, but the options before him were overwhelming:

  • Should he look for a hospital-based ACO?
  • Should he join a new doctor-driven ACO?
  • Should he watch and wait and see what happens?
  • How would he practice “value-based care” when fee-for-service worked fine?
  • What would he tell his patients about his new practice?

My colleague is not alone. As physicians are evaluating whether to participate in ACOs, they are facing a new reality, one that demands they change their practice processes, reduce health care utilization, and improve wellness for the patients they care for. They must now refer to new specialists, coordinate their patients’ care, and use data and information systems in a new, more integrated way.

How can I help my colleague feel better about the decisions facing him? For me, a corporate anthropologist and marketing specialist, the answer is very clear: Leverage the power of branding, brand storytelling, and omni-channel communications to (1) clarify what is coming, (2) reduce the fear of the unknown, and (3) make the new highly desirable.


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