How Hospital Marketing is Thinking Beyond the Ivory Tower

September 14, 2016
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old school ivory tower hospitalIn the 500-plus years since the Middle Ages, hospital marketing has only recently changed its perspective and community relationship.

old school ivory tower hospitalIn the 500-plus years since the Middle Ages, hospital marketing has only recently changed its perspective and community relationship.

Back in the day—when nobility wanted to build a castle—they took the high ground above the village. Ancient cathedrals and churches would also pick the elevated or center-city real estate. It was a statement of visibility and authority.

In a similar sense, hospitals in the US first emerged as a large, centrally located, community institution. Often, the town had one dominant medical facility. Its customers were the doctors, and anyone in need of a physician, surgeon or healthcare provider (the patients) would need to hike up to the medical “ivory tower.”

The rise of healthcare consumerism…

But sometime in the past few decades, the old-school barriers began giving way to a progressive hospital marketing perspective. The traditional, patient-goes-to-the-institution model is changing for the better. The patient has become the informed consumer, and the institution and its services are decentralizing. The trend is to bring service closer to the consumer.

Let’s face it; people don’t like going to, or being at, “the hospital.” For many services, there are more comfortable and appealing venues for health care delivery. Taking hospital-quality care to the patient in a non-hospital environment is a competitive plus. Other reasons for this marketing-smart shift include:

  • Customer convenience is the cornerstone of product and service delivery
  • Increased competition offers the consumer many other (tempting) options
  • The patient experience can be custom designed in a special purpose environment
  • Sophisticated consumers expect service options and flexibility

By bringing select care options to the consumer in stand-alone facilities, hospital care is more appealing to the consumer and more efficiently delivered by the facility. Service facility examples include:

  • Family birth and newborn center
  • Freestanding emergency room
  • Men’s health and wellness facility
  • Oncology or cardiology care
  • Orthopaedic or sports medicine
  • Women’s health and fitness

Hospital-quality care delivered in a non-hospital environment…

Special purpose facilities that are located in the community (ie consumer convenient) deliver hospital quality care via a non-hospital environment. Select service lines have a significant appeal to many patient/consumers. 

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