By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer
Surprising insights gleaned from our discussions with many of the nation’s leading medical group administrators – and what you should do next as a result
We gained a number of surprising insights from talking with hundreds of medical group practice administrators and CEOs at the MGMA* annual conference in Las Vegas this year.
Based upon our conversations, you can get a sense of what some of the large groups in your area are probably thinking about.
Many of the large groups we spoke with told us they…
Are highly interested in ethical marketing. This increase in interest is partly due to increased competition and consolidation in healthcare. The fact that marketing can be done ethically particularly caught their attention.
Want to brand their organizations. MGMA members are way ahead of the pack on this issue. Today, while smaller medical practices oftentimes do not understand the value of branding, a very high percentage of the MGMA members we spoke with told us they felt that branding would be very important to help their group stand out from the competition in a positive way that would enhance their reputation.
Would like to attract more patients from their group’s website. While most healthcare businesses have a website, few reported generating significant volumes of patients from the Internet. Many group practices, however, are actively considering search engine optimization, pay-per-click advertising and other web strategies to increase their web effectiveness.
Are interested in promoting ancillary services. To increase revenues, many large practices are considering, or have already invested in, ancillary services. Many of these practices view marketing as THE critical factor necessary to ensure demand – and therefore the success – of these new services.
Like the idea of attracting specific cases. While most large practices already have plenty of patients, many said they would like to ethically attract a better percentage of cases which fall within their doctors’ specialized training and/or reimburse better.
Were happy to learn that professional referrals can be positively influenced by marketing. Ongoing professional referral systems are the key to building and protecting professional referral relationships.
See the need for a practice marketing plan. In our experience, large groups have become much more sophisticated in recent years, and now realize they need effective, ongoing marketing systems.
Are open to, or actively looking for, outside marketing help. Large group Administrators are some of the busiest people we know, and many of them are working with experts to conceive and execute their aforementioned marketing plan.
So what are your next steps?
Whatever your situation – group or solo practice – it is clear that competition is going to increase in healthcare over the next couple of years, and that larger practices are now way ahead of the curve.
If some of the above issues are relevant to you, or if you just want to “keep up,” we recommend you do appropriate “marketing due diligence” and create and follow a comprehensive practice marketing plan.
* The Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) is a highly respected organization whose membership includes Administrators, CEOs and other leaders of medical practices and ambulatory care organizations of all sizes and types, including integrated systems, hospital and medical school-affiliated practices.