Have you wondered why some ultra-specialized practices have patient waiting times of several weeks for an appointment while others are barely seeing enough new patients to keep their doors open?
At HMCOE’s recent medical marketing seminar we had a group of 50 doctors, practice managers, and hospital center of excellence marketers discussing the increasing competitive marketplace and rampant problem of not getting enough new patients to doctors’ practices.
It was evident that we were suffering from the problem of “generic practice” – Every doctor in the crowd was basically the same. Gastroenterologist A’s medical marketing was the same as doctor B’s. It was the same message to the patients “Our doctors are experts at treating ALL GI conditions” … really? Would you choose the same doctor to consult on colon cancer as one that practices bariatric surgery for obesity?
It’s only natural that people have role models and want to be them. But to try to copy their identity and resell as your own is why health care is where it is now. Doctors pick their top competitors and tell their marketers “I want to have a website just like theirs.” Hospitals pick a COE and tell their marketers “we need our center to be better” but when the executive decisions come down the pipeline, the marketers are forced to accept direction to copy the other hospital’s work.
Our cocktail hour was spent on going around the room asking 50 individuals to decide what their top area of expertise was and to put together a plan for Monday morning to go back to work and communicate that patients are not looking for generic practices, but rather the opportunity to connect with experts.