Embrace Marketing to Get Your Message to Patients and Providers
Posted On: April 12th, 2017
Vice President of Sales, Change Healthcare
As the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) delays implementation of several bundled payment initiatives, this may be the perfect opportunity to review your organization’s marketing efforts.
Marketing is important not only to raise your home care organization’s profile in the community, but also to put your best foot forward to potential referral partners.
As the priorities of the Trump administration become clearer, other announced programs may face delay or cancellation. Of course, you should pay close attention to those announcements, but don’t lose sight of the status of your organization within your service area, how you compare against competitors and your relationships with care partners.
The bundled payment delays include:
- Moving the effective date of a final rule (March 21 to May 20) for the joint replacement bundle and cardiac rehabilitation initiatives. Episodic payments for advance care coordination faces a similar delay.
- Pushing back the mandatory cardiac bundle and cardiac rehab programs from July 1 to October 1. The announcement postpones expansion of the mandatory joint replacement bundle program, also from July 1 to October 1.
- Seeking comment on further delaying these programs to Jan. 1, 2018.
How to put your best foot forward
When times are tight, many companies cut their marketing efforts. While that might seem like a good short-term strategy, a consistent marketing effort helps keep your organization on the minds of clients, potential clients, volunteers, partners and potential partners. A marketing plan doesn’t need to be exhaustive or expensive, but staying competitive may require budgeting time to deal with marketing just like you do for other administrative tasks.
Your main calling card these days may be your website. You probably have one, but when was the last time it was updated? Is it optimized for increasingly mobile users? Are there links for visitors to contact you, interact with your social media channels and view your recent press releases?
If your website hasn’t been updated for mobile, do it now, and make sure the social media links you use are the ones your potential clients and care partners are using. You’ll want to include Facebook and Twitter for sure; ask colleagues what sites they use for additional ideas. Websites can be designed for new material to flow to the social media sites you choose, saving you time and hassle. Ask your webmaster about that possibility.
Getting your news out there
Even if you don’t have a marketing staff, sharing press releases about significant events within your organization, commenting on relevant healthcare issues (where appropriate) and marking special occasions, such as National Home Care & Hospice Month developed by the National Association for Home Care & Hospice can be helpful for your audience. Here are some good guidelines to follow when writing press releases.
Big daily newspapers may not be interested in your news, but smaller newspapers, “shopper” publications, neighborhood news websites and others likely welcome contributed materials. Keeping your website updated with fresh news makes it more attractive than placeholder sites where visitors can’t determine whether it was updated yesterday—or two years ago.
Here are other ways to create positive buzz about your organization:
- Be sure to share any relevant data you have on your organization’s quality improvement efforts. Have you partnered with a local hospital on a readmission avoidance project? If it’s going well, be sure to publicize that. You should consider a graphic on your website with any relevant statistics that put your organization in the best light.
- Like and follow hospitals and local care associations on social media and be active on their sites, liking and commenting where appropriate.
- Actively participate in local care organizations and community events aimed at your target audiences. Think senior citizens’s centers, local hospital and rehab center events.