20 Questions To Ask Your Service Line Leaders

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Developing a solid strategy for your health system's multiple service lines takes research and insight into their unique attributes and needs. In this article, we’ve taken out the guesswork of what to ask your healthcare service line leaders and given you 20 specific questions that build the foundation of a marketing plan ready to drive results.

Health System Service Line Prioritization

Regardless of the size of your hospital, staff, or budget, your team can only focus on so many projects at the same time. That means someone has to prioritize the work and provide a rationale for how and when service lines receive Marketing's attention. Without a data-informed strategy, each internal client or department director will insist their task is most important and your team will spend its valuable time playing whack-a-mole instead of meeting goals. (We like to call this firefighter marketing.) 

Portfolio mapping is a great tool for healthcare marketers trying to get a handle on the performance -and importance - of multiple service lines. As part of a larger prioritization process, this activity gives your team a solid understanding of which service lines are currently performing well, what’s actually driving dollars for your organization, which areas need assistance and initiatives that could perform well without much effort from marketing.

In the exercise, data for each service line falls into one of four quadrants and the resulting map provides a great way to look at your business units more strategically. In short, the “market” quadrant is where your market share is low, and your profit is high—this is the ideal place to spend your resources. The "maintain" quadrant represents high market share and high profits, the “manage” quadrant shows low market share and low profits, and the “minimize” quadrant highlights areas with high market share but little to no profit. Mapping the service lines takes time and effort, but it's critical to understanding where your time and resources will be best spent. 

Once you complete this prioritization process, you're ready for the next step - taking the service lines that landed in your market quadrant and learning more about them. Knowing the ins and outs of each specialty will allow you to create unique strategies that provide the greatest return on investment.

20 Questions for Healthcare Service Line Leaders

The easiest and quickest way to gather data needed for a service line campaign is to go straight to the source. Set up an in-person or virtual meeting with the head of each targeted service line and any other key players or stakeholders. Ask these 20 questions and use the answers to craft a robust marketing plan that increases perception scores or utilization of the service and supports your organization’s key strategies.

Campaign goals and measurements

1. What are your goals for this campaign?
2. What is the process for accessing data, specifically who is responsible and how often can they pull information?
3. How can you track new appointments/patients?

About your healthcare service line

4. What is the best thing about your care team and services?
5. What is the biggest obstacle to adding new patients/customers?
6. What is your current capacity? (i.e., if I call today, on average, what is the soonest                appointment I will get?)
7. Are you adding any new services, physicians, equipment, or locations this year? 
8. Do you host any routine events such as screenings, patient celebrations, etc.?
9. What resources are you currently using? Liaison, CRM, digital presence – web, social, blog, Google listings, ranking sites? What do you wish was on your website and social media accounts?

Your patient population

10. How do patients access your services? Can they self-refer?
11. Who is your ideal patient (demographic, insurance, etc.)?
12. What are the top 3 needs of your specific patients?
13. What are the top 3 complaints your patients have about their experience?
14. How can we increase the value for patients, including ways to make it easier for patients to do business with us?
15. What do you do to build loyalty with patients or connect with the community?

Other healthcare competitors

16. Who is your toughest competitor and what are they doing right?
17. What makes you better than the competition?

What are realistic service line campaign expectations?

18. What do you feel is currently working and what isn’t?
19. If you had a magic wand and could fix one thing, what would it be?
20. What is the most profitable service you’re currently offering?

To make this information easy to use, capture the answers in a spreadsheet or add them to a strategy brief. You can even incorporate the service line information with data from your executive visioning sessions to generate a comprehensive overview of how the service fits into the health system's larger goals!

Bottom line, you must fully understand the healthcare service line before attempting to create a campaign. So, ask 20 questions and get busy turning thoughts into strategy and that strategy into results. 

If you’re struggling with how to process the information you’ve gathered, or how to start the conversation about prioritizing your service lines, don’t hesitate to reach out! The Ten Adams team is always on hand to help you work through and overcome healthcare marketing obstacles. Contact us!

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