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Head-in-the-Sand Denial About Competition Doesn’t Work

By Stewart Gandolf, Chief Executive Officer

Ostrich with it's head in the sand next to a "danger" signCompetition in healthcare has never been more intense. Although we speak and write about this topic frequently, we continue to discover—with alarming frequency—that providers, group practices and even some hospitals continue to “duck-and-cover,” underestimate or ignore the competition.

All too often we hear head-in-the-sand anti-strategy expressed in various ways:

  • “We don’t have competition…”
  • “Doctors are too busy being doctors…”
  • “We don’t believe in marketing…”
  • “Only ‘bad doctors’ advertise…”

It may be that some providers don’t want to think of their professional colleagues as competition. But, like it or not, healthcare delivery has reinvented itself, and competition is a fact of business life. What’s more the quantity and quality of competition is at a new high point.

Legions of smart, experienced and highly competitive professionals and retail businesses are aggressively intent on winning “market share.” You’ll recognize these examples:

Roll-ups, consolidations, mergers and acquisitions. Individual physicians form groups, hospitals acquire groups and health systems swallow multi-specialty groups.

Hospitals are hiring private practice physicians. Many previously independent family doctors, surgeons and specialists are now employees.

Retailers and pharmacy chains are now provider locations. How many of the nation’s big “drug stores” groups (nearly 20,000 stores combined) are visible from your office?

Reimbursements are declining and costs are rising. Consequently, competition for market share, and higher reimbursing cases, have exploded.

Group practices take the high ground. Successful alliances reduce overhead, win favorable insurance contracts, and are sophisticated in their business practices and marketing.

Discretionary consumer dollars are stretched. Americans have cut back, delayed or forgone healthcare expenses, and “healthcare hesitation” has become habit.

Proactively building a defensible position…

The first priority is to protect your business base with a strong market position. The objective is to get your practice or hospital into the top 20 percent in the competitive circle, and eventually into the top four percent. Only profitable growth will ensure your long-term safety.

For more about how to effectively deal with the changing competitive landscape, these articles and podcasts are available via our free healthcare marketing resource library.

IN ADDITION: Click through here for a copy of our solution-driven special report: How to Win Patients Despite Intense Competition.

AND: For a confidential, no-obligation healthcare marketing assessment, connect with us today.

Stewart Gandolf, MBA

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