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Wellness Mindset: Service Line Marketing to Keep Patients Out of the Hospital

By Stewart Gandolf, Chief Executive Officer
eula mckinney

Eula McKinney

[Podcast Series] Our interview guest today is Eula McKinney, Director of Ancillary Clinical Services Outreach Development at UCSF Medical Center in San Francisco. In this installment in our series about healthcare industry and marketing topics is hosted by Healthcare Success Co-Founder Lonnie Hirsch.

“Vertical integration” is the healthcare industry term that includes assuring excellence in patient service across the full continuum of clinical care. And—with payments increasingly tied to prevention—that spectrum begins with wellness marketing strategies that help keep patients out of the hospital.

In our conversation with Eula McKinney today, she talks with Lonnie Hirsch about how traditional hospital and service line marketing is shifting. “The hospital marketing strategy now needs to take into account preventative, acute care and post acute organizations, because as an industry, we are now responsible for the full continuum of clinical care,” she said.

Involved patients want to have access to outcomes through applications on a PDA or online so they can contribute to the management of their care. What’s more, “We now have to step into things such as health screenings, which allows patients to conveniently and proactively screen for wellness. And hospitals that market these services to employers and other groups provide an advantage to prioritize wellness.

“Further, when managed well, it can lead to loyalty…and shift those patients away from a transactional encounter to a relationship-based patient. The role of the service line leaders is to begin the marketing in alignment with what’s best for the patient through preventative care. This also aligns with the shift in our industry that builds trust for later clinical needs.

“Shifting from acute clinical care to a wellness approach also shifts high costs in an acute setting, to a lower cost setting,” she said. “We need to emphasize preventative measures such as exercise, nutrition, weight management, stress management, smoking cessation and heart health lifestyles.”

Kaiser's THRIVE campaign is an integrated California model

We need to be doing things that promote wellness such as reminder emails to patients about preventative care, iPhone applications that manage high risk factors, educating and rewarding our consumers/patients for preventative measures,” Eula said.

“We need to change our business model, shifting away from catastrophic care to considering how do we keep patients well and out of the hospitals. And our financial models need to adjust accordingly. A different 'spend' will be occurring upfront for things that help keep the patient in their best state…as opposed to 'subsequent,' when the patient is in the hospital needing acute care."

Today’s conversation with Eula McKinney also includes discussions about:

  • Capturing and using meaningful data from the clinician and end user perspective to drive change in operations and communications;
  • How hospitals can be more cost-effective and protect market share with increased competition from payor provider networks; and,
  • The importance of physician involvement in vertical integration strategy.

Listen to our podcast!

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Eula McKinney is Director of Ancillary Clinical Services Outreach Development at UCSF Medical Center in San Francisco

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