Gone are the days when you could wag a supposedly credible and creative ad-campaign before your consumers and increase the volume of patients signing up for surgery. Splashy ads will get our customers’ attention but we need to engage with our patients and lead them to our product. A hospital’s product is essentially the doctors’ services and the facilities.
Blog Title : How to Reduce The ALOS at Your Hospital
In order to increase the number of people signing up for surgery we need to understand who are we offering our services to and how can we make them find our hospital the best option for their surgical needs.
Here are a few measures on the marketing front that can increase sign-ups for surgery at your hospital.
1. Improve The Number of Your Qualified Leads
Create a profile of who constitutes your ideal patient, in terms of his persona, who they are, where are they located, what are their needs and when would they need your services. It would then be clear as to what line of messaging should you take in your communication with them.
2. Use direct outreach to communicate with the leads
Use social media marketing, emails, seminars and search engine optimization and paid research to communicate with your prospective patients who are likely to sign up for surgery.
3. Improve brand recognition
Make efforts to be visible at events or programs where your qualified leads are likely to spot them. You could sponsor a community event or a health program or an event on healthcare. This would boost your brand recognition.
4. Improve messaging on website
How are your facilities and services different? Who are the specialists conducting the surgery? What is their experience? How many years has it been since your hospital has been performing these surgeries in specified fields? Find quality differentiators for your surgical services and communicate your value proposition. The quickest way could be to mention on your website how it would be the best idea for a patient to undergo surgery at your hospital under the care of your able surgeons.
5. Use cross-selling and upselling opportunities
The non-surgical sections of your hospital/clinic should be able to make use of cross-selling and upselling opportunities to promote surgical services. This can be achieved by providing brochures in patient waiting areas or having signage on the interiors which talk of surgery options available in the hospital.
So much for what can be done from the marketing, branding, and promotion perspective.
Apart from these there are some activities that can be undertaken by the hospital at its own level to make the volumes of surgical patients go up.
Lets’s take a look.
a. Invite primary care physicians from outside your hospital to the surgery centre.
You can organize a tour of primary care physicians and their staff which could be guided by your surgical specialists.
How is this going to help?
The main idea is to inspire confidence and faith in your centre. When these physicians go back, they will carry the images of the surgery center and all its facilities in their minds. When they are discussing a referral for surgery, they will be able to talk about your surgery facilities with greater conviction to the patients. They become a credible source of information for your surgical facilities.
b. Increase physician recruitment
This has by far been the most direct route to increase volumes for surgery. Recruitment of new physicians can include looking for additional surgeons who are specialists in the kind of surgery that your hospital already offers as also those surgeons who are specialists at a surgery not yet being offered by your hospital.
Apart from their qualification and experience, make sure that behaviorally they are aligned to your hospital’s goals and ethics.
c. Your doctors are your best scouts
In order that you recruit partners and providers, your own physicians who have a network with other doctors are your best source. Offer incentives to your doctors, who can then motivate other surgeons to take up cases at your hospital. Once again these could be cases that cannot be handled by your surgeons alone because of huge numbers of patients and fewer doctors, or those cases for which you do not have specialists yourself.
d. Efficient scheduling of surgeries
A healthy case volume of surgery is directly linked to smooth, efficient scheduling of surgeries. How can you achieve that? Now many hospitals have a system of block scheduling. What does block scheduling mean? It means that surgeons undertake five to six surgeries in a row without moving from the surgical facility to a hospital or physician’s office. This results in a rapid turnover time and hardly any time is wasted between cases. Efficient scheduling would mean that within a given time span, the surgeon is able to pack in more surgeries than he would otherwise have been able to do.
e. Have an understanding of other hospitals offering similar surgeries
You need to know where you stand in a comparative analysis with other hospitals. Benchmarking is essential to determine your differentiating factors. How do your costs compare to your competitors in the area for a similar surgery being handled by a surgeon of similar competency? How does the reimbursement of surgeons vary? What are the post-operative care that others offer?
Your surgical facilities will command a higher value and respect than those where the doctors may not be as experienced as yours or not be offering the package of services that you do.
f. Have an impeccable selection process of staff
Your revenue through surgery can take a nosedive if there is even a whiff of a scandal surrounding a quality issue, rude staff or disruptive doctors. Patient volume and physician referrals will drop drastically and you may lose affiliated physicians and their patients. So make sure that a foolproof credentialing process is in place to bring in top-quality physicians.
g. Identify areas where there is potential for growth
You need to have a grip on the demands of the community to know where you can expand volume of surgeries and in which area you need to recruit or expand facilities.
For example, at some hospitals, bariatrics or other specialties is the most common way to add revenue but you need to have done a thorough research of the surrounding population as also checked on the surgeries offered in the same line by competing hospitals.
offered in the same line by competing hospitals.
Similarly if the demographics show an aging population, surgeries in accordance with their needs can be added to the existing ones after having done the requisite research and planning. If the return on investment is expected to be immediate and sustainable, it would do well to think of expanding the kind of surgeries that your hospital offers.
h. Invest in new technology
A hospital's operation theatre is typically considered a huge source of income contributing a sizeable chunk to the hospital revenue. Experts say that upgrading the operation theatre can only lead to more patients opting for surgery at a hospital investing in latest technology. While new technology, may seem like an expenditure, it should be seen as an investment, which can eventually lead to higher market share and patient volume.
A correct mix of marketing strategy and efforts by the hospital to revamp some of its own systems can go a long way in making your hospital stand out as ‘the’ place to come to for a surgery, thus taking your surgery volumes up, as also your revenues.