*This is an excerpt from the “Healthcare: When All The Parts Are Moving Parts” white paper. To download the full report, click here.
The changes in the hospital landscape are happening with breathtaking velocity. In fact, this sector may be experiencing the most dramatic change of any part of the healthcare system today. We are witnessing an unprecedented number and pace of mergers, acquisitions and consolidations. Hospitals are buying each other, being bought by hospital systems, consolidated into even larger organizations, and acquiring other businesses, like physician groups and healthcare IT providers. What was once a clear and relatively well-understood system now seems chaotic and unstable. Some hospital systems are even testing newer models by becoming payers themselves – eliminating insurers from the mix.
The critical underlying dynamics driving these changes include a new emphasis on patient satisfaction as measured by Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) scores, and a dramatic shift from procedure-based to outcome-based medicine. Providers are now competing for patients who turn to satisfaction ratings, price, reviews and consumer-based metrics for their decision-making.
The situation detailed above is a recipe for confusion and distrust. As long-known hospital names disappear, new brands appear. Organizations are absorbed into huge enterprises that deliver services differently. Every constituency is affected – patients, physicians, employees and community members.
Branding done well matters. For example, Emory Healthcare recently incorporated most of its affiliates under the Emory brand, including a former Atlanta community hospital it acquired. This way, Emory can promise and deliver broad reach and a diverse set of capabilities, all with the imprimatur of Emory’s research reputation and 100-year legacy.
On the other hand, poor communication sends constituencies into a tailspin. Nearly everyone in New York has heard about the confusion and chaos surrounding the closure of Long Island College Hospital in Brooklyn. The situation has caused enormous anxiety among employees, healthcare providers, patients and members of the community, all amplified in the media. The problems are systemic, lawsuits are everywhere, but there is little question that better, clearer communication and engagement from the outset could have helped mitigate many of the issues still being addressed.
In order to combat confusion and build trust, brand building is incredibly important. Brands must be living, breathing entities that can engage constituents with pitch-perfect messaging delivered through the optimal mix of channels. Internal branding is particularly crucial during a time of industry transformation. And to truly compete in the marketplace, brands need to be differentiated, relevant and authentic in everything they say and do.
“You have more branding avenues available to you than ever before,” says Healthcare Marketing Strategist Deborah Radcliffe. “There are those you can control and those you can’t control, like social media … It’s more important than ever for your brand to talk the talk and walk the walk. Only then will you earn trust.”
Wendy Lurrie – Managing Director, gyro:human
Wendy Lurrie is the managing director of gyro’s healthcare practice gyro:human based in New York. gyro:human is gyro’s newly formed U.S. division dedicated to all aspects of the healthcare industry. Lurrie is a healthcare industry ace who has worked with United Healthcare, Aetna, Eli Lilly and Company, Boehringer Ingelheim, Bristol-Myers Squibb, to name a few.
She held executive positions at major agencies Draft, DraftFCB and Grey, where her responsibilities included the management and growth of the healthcare portfolios. Lurrie has worked on the client side as a VP of marketing at Travelers as well as served a consultant specializing in marketing strategy.