Spine Centers of Excellence: Marketing

IV. Marketing

Developing a Marketing Plan
A comprehensive marketing plan will include budgets, forecasts, returns on investment projections, plan of execution and related vendors. An administrator for the program should be selected who will have the responsibility to implement all of the components of the marketing plan as approved, including the recruitment of a Director of Marketing, if indicated, per established salary and commission guidelines.

Market Position
Quality differentiation among providers is difficult for health care consumers. As a result, marketing has come to play a significant role in the choices that they make. The creation of a Spine Center allows services to be more effectively marketed both within primary and secondary service areas. Depending on the market domination of existing programs, the influx of industry, and increased population to the region, considerable resources may need to be invested in marketing and promotion of the Center. This is especially important in areas experiencing rapid growth where new residents to the area do not have preconceived opinions of providers and are not yet tied into the local medical community. A concise, consistent public image coupled with an awareness campaign that focuses on the skill set of the Center’s specialists, documented clinical outcomes, as well as cost savings will improve and influence public, medical, third-party payor and employer utilization of the proposed Spine Center.

Proper market positioning is also important so the program can create “high-profile” awareness and reduce clinical dilution of patient referrals from competitive forces in the area. The desired community perception is one that positions the Spine Center as a state-of-the-art, comprehensive delivery system in an equipped, patient-friendly facility. Offce and medical staff should be trained to courteously convey this image when dealing with physicians, patients and the community. By creating the proper internal processes, treatment at the Spine Center will be viewed by the patient as a seamless process. In addition, in order to increase referrals and work-related injury cases from employers, adjusters and case managers, the program must be marketed through documented outcomes that demonstrate the cost-effective, clinical and patient satisfaction benefits of the program.

General Marketing Methods
Once a complete marketing plan with budgets, timetables and specic chronology of events to promote and market the Spine Center is developed, and the market position has been analyzed, the following techniques can be used to build public, medical, and payer recognition and increase case volumes:

Establish a communication program using print, radio, media, the Internet, seminars, newsletters, and a web site, to target four different markets for direct referrals to the Spine Center:

1. Third-party payors, managed care organizations, work-related injury carriers, employers, case managers, claims examiners and third-party administrators

2. Urgent care centers, rehabilitation facilities, primary care physicians, independent physician associations, medical clinics, providers, chiropractors and occupational medicine physicians

3. Patients and the general public

4. Attorneys

  • Invest in staff, equipment, outcomes data collection and technology to position the Spine Center as the market leader in spine and pain care for the entire region

  • Establish a website with a chat room for patients, referring physicians, case managers, medical directors, risk managers, human resource personnel, and claims examiners to discuss issues relative to outcomes, new modalities, technology, and cost containment of operative and non-operative spine care including interventional pain management

  • Set up seminars for personal injury and workrelated injury attorneys (defense as well as applicant) offering continuing education credits for their participation and attendance

Updated on: 12/09/09
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Spine Center Marketing: How to Reach Third-Party Payors

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