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Turning up your population health skill set

June 16, 2016 | Strategy

As a healthcare marketer, you’re an expert on promoting your service lines and getting people into your hospital.

You know how to target the right message to the right audience and build volume.

But coming soon to a health system near you, incentives will shift from volume (getting paid for services) to value (improving population health). Population health looks at the overall health outcomes of a group.

Currently, Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) are being organized to help community members stay healthy, address chronic conditions and improve outcomes. Providers will be rewarded according to their success in reaching those goals.

What can you do to wrap your head around this shift from marketing healthcare services to marketing health? Here are some ideas.

1. Get comfortable with data.

Dig into anything you can find on your community’s health statistics. What does your community health needs assessment tell you about the health habits of area residents? What are the most frequent reasons people are admitted (and re-admitted) to the hospital? Look for opportunities where marketing can make a difference.

2. Think process, not procedures.

Many treatments and procedures can be avoided through better health habits or earlier preventive care. Consider the series of decisions that led that patient to need a heart stent or a bariatric surgery. Where are the best opportunities to reach people earlier to make different choices and avoid illness? That’s your new sweet spot for communication initiatives.

3. Engage with the environment.

Health begins at home — and at school, at work, in the grocery store and throughout your town. Provide health and wellness resources through a content-rich microsite and an email campaign. Partner up with other organizations to create an environment that encourages health — whether it’s advocating for safe sidewalks, sponsoring a farmer’s market or screening for diabetes.

4. Study behavioral economics.

Finding the right message to influence consumer choice is hard. Finding the right message to actually change behavior is really hard. Behavioral economics combines psychology with economic analysis to figure out why we do what we do. It can provide great insights to advance population health.

Your hospital’s solution to the population health dynamic must be a strongly built strategy. Subscribe to our email updates for more on this and other healthcare marketing topics.

Written by Nancy Daugherty

With two-and-a-half decades of experience in strategic market planning, market research, media planning and buying, Nancy leads our marketing team in uncovering consumer insights that help us guide clients to find the right message and the right medium to reach the right audience. Nancy uncovers the research data that drives creative strategy.

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