Physician Integration: The Key to Successful Healthcare Marketing

We’ve been talking a lot about new trends in healthcare marketing like social media efforts and community outreach, but the most important component in marketing your practice is what we like to call “physician integration.”  USA Today discussed last week the new way hospitals have started to implement this.  They call it the physician-to-physician sales approach.  Tenet Healthcare, one of the largest for-profit hospital chains, has adopted this by hiring sales representatives to serve as face-to-face marketers to improve their hospitals’ referral rates.  There are many supporters and critics of this process, however it is evident that there is value to the process.  Success however, lies in the intrinsic goal of these individuals and the way the marketing is put in place. Our marketing representatives have been doing this for independent practices for years, serving as physician’s liaisons and extensions of the referring practices.

                 healthcare marketing

Most hospitals have hired on former drug reps due to their experience in the medical field, this is sometimes counterproductive because they can have tunnel-vision on one specialty and can come off too “salesy”.  The key to successful physician integration is providing added value to referring physicians and serving as an outlet and also source for success.  In the same ways that large practices are leaning on ACO’s for shared success, physician outreach aims to help connect physicians in a mutually beneficial way.  Often times specialists love this concept because they have a lot to gain from general practitioners, however that family practice physician rarely sees the benefits of that relationship.  Our mission is to find routes for referrals for every niche in healthcare.

(Photo courtesy of Adrenaline)

The strategy for creating these ties requires three things:

  1. Knowledgeable and personable marketing representatives with a sales-centric focus, without wasting the time of the physicians
  2. Physicians seeing a need for the process
  3. Then the adoption and involvement of the physicians

Hospital CEOs have seen the need for this type of marketing in their mission to find ways to increase patient referrals, without increasing unnecessary admissions, while also improving patient ratings.  This is essentially the same need that we see independent practices having, of course on a smaller scale it is much simpler to implement, as we can more easily understand the needs of physicians and patients at a more localized level.  Just as Michelle Osipowicz states in the USA Today article, it is important to listen to and address the concerns of referring physicians to successfully provide that value. 

By aiding these practices in their physician outreach programs, we help them to achieve improved community presence, serving as an influencer in the industry, which has a direct effect on the practice’s patient volume.  This type of practice-to-practice approach, when combined with social media excellence, community involvement and continued quality service results in ensured overall practice success.