It seems to make good sense. If healthcare facilities are part of a system, consumers will benefit from greater and more streamlined access to healthcare. And yet, healthcare marketers continue to struggle with the classic dilemma of convincing others that “systemness” matters.
Consider this recent post from the SHSMD chat room (edited to protect confidentiality):
We have always employed a service-line specific marketing strategy for our health system … When we do brand campaigns we tie it to our system brand and our community events and sponsorships fall under the system brand as well. Our 3 hospital administrators want hospital-specific strategies for their facilities … they are all no more than 7 miles apart. We've explained time and again that people get to the hospitals from their doctors or the ER, yet they are still pushing.
Here’s the good news:
Healthcare consumers value systemness and now we have the data to prove it.
That’s one thing we learned as part of Core Health’s inaugural research study, “Perspectives in Health and Healthcare.” This research was designed to identify key drivers of healthcare choice so our clients – healthcare marketers – could leverage this information when branding and positioning their health systems.
The study was conducted in partnership with Cheryl Stone & Associates as a nationwide, online panel survey from Oct. 25, to Nov. 5, 2018. A total of 1,501 interviews were completed with a confidence level of 95%. Quotas were used to ensure replication of the U.S. population.
As part of the study, we assessed six drivers of healthcare choice consumers were asked to evaluate as part of our research study. These drivers included innovation, performance and results; caring and compassion; a care experience personalized to meet needs and preferences; a focus on wellness and prevention; and convenience. (see how all driver categories performed here.)
In addition to driver categories, we asked healthcare consumers about the value of an integrated health system. We weren’t surprised to learn that consumers value the concept of a health “system”.
Consumers were asked whether they felt that an integrated health system offers any advantage for patients, after reading a description of an integrated health system. The vast majority, 82%, considered an integrated health system to offer an advantage, either a big advantage (43%) or a moderate advantage (40%).
To that end, 74% of healthcare consumers “strongly agree” or “agree somewhat” that they try to find all of their doctors and services in the same health system.
The most prized aspects of an integrated health system are:
And, while consumers highly value having access to a wide variety of services in their local areas, they are much less likely to view a more expansive geographic offering across several states or throughout the U.S. as a potential benefit of a health system.
Those aged 65 and older were significantly more likely than others to believe that an integrated health system offers a big advantage.
This data has some important implications for health system marketers.
Tell us about your challenges and triumphs. Have you successfully helped migrate from hospital-centric messaging to promoting the benefits of a health system? What advice do you have for other healthcare marketers?