I had piloted the Piper Cub for seven hours across endless miles of ocean. The crash of my small plane left me alone on the uninhabited treeless atoll somewhere in the south Pacific. I would have been sunburned badly if not for the shade cast by the thirty-foot tall New Jersey hospital’s billboard heralding its urology practice. The billboard reminded me of the one I saw while solo kayaking the lower regions of Antarctica. That billboard was from a hospital in Minot, North Dakota advertising its OB/GYN services. Did you know there has never been a birth in Antarctica?
Hospital marketing has doubled in the last decade. To whom are they marketing? Appendectomies; twenty-percent off. Maybe I’ll get two. Perhaps I’ll buy some Plavix while I’m at it.
Ninety percent of hospital revenues result from a physician’s signature. From where does the other ten percent originate, marketing? Doubtful. Do the billboards yield more physician signatures?
Hospital television advertising seems to focus its shotgun message in one of two areas; unsubstantiated claims of being the best or having the most, or having the latest and greatest machine that goes “Ping.” You’ve seen the commercials broadcast to a television coverage area of a few million, advertising newly acquired technology for a non-elective procedure—that cost more than a few million—that less than a fraction of a single percentage of the population will need. By the way, it is the same piece of technology that three other areas hospitals offer.
I am not sure I understand the logic behind hospital marketing. Does it merely stem from the fact that other businesses do it? I have personal knowledge of one hospital’s chief marketing officer whose annual salary exceeds more than four hundred thousand dollars. She had no prior experience in healthcare.
Would revenues drop precipitously if hospitals did not market themselves?
Paul M. Roemer
Chief Imaginist, Healthcare IT Strategy
1475 Luna Drive, Downingtown, PA 19335
+1 (484) 885-6942