Last week I attended one of my favorite healthcare conferences, the Healthcare Marketing Strategy Summit (this year also included the Physician Summit). The sessions were great, the conversations I had with attendees as well as other vendors were enlightening, and I always leave the Summit with multiple points to consider.
One point I found intriguing was mentioned during a presentation by Marian Dezelan and Chris Boyer of North Shore Long Island Jewish Health System. Ms. Dezelan made a comment about how their CEO wants patients to stay out of the hospital and examine alternatives of care to reach this objective. We hear healthcare organizations talk more and more about finding ways to get people engaged in their health, and make lifestyle changes to keep them healthy and out of the hospital. To have that vision communicated AND practiced by a CEO is critical. It is easy for administrators to be concerned about the bottom line and profitability, so many are still focused on more patients and more procedures. So this vision is enlightening.
They also discussed the shift that has been taking place in thought processes. Where once the focus was on the “place” (i.e. a specific hospital), then to “procedure”, to “problem” and now to focus on the “person”. That is what it is all about, why so many are in healthcare…they want to help people. Healthcare is about the person, and we need to start focusing on that.
So how can you start shifting the vision to keeping people healthy and out of your hospital? It certainly is not easy! Reach out to other leading healthcare organizations and benchmark. What are they doing differently than you to promote wellness? Allocate a certain amount of your marketing budget to new wellness programs that help your community become aware of their health risks, or community screening events. Perhaps partner with area employers and create a challenge to get employees healthy. It certainly will be baby steps, but you can slowly start to transform the focus and as you prove engagement in your community, your administrators cannot help but take notice.