The “So What” Marketing to Home Health
So what makes your home health care agency unique?
So what makes the services you offer stand out amongst your competition in a crowded marketplace?
So what differentiates your home health care services from those standard services offered by your competition?
So what helps you specifically target medical professionals in order to establish a strong base for patient referrals?
“So What Marketing” is what makes one home health agency succeed while others falter. If you can make the “So What” rule apply –if you can make physicians understand who you are and what makes you unique in the home health care marketplace– you are on your way to establishing and expanding your client/patient population base and increasing your bottom line.
Focusing your business in this manner will require some thought and insight into your current operation before diving into creative solutions. You must begin by asking yourself: What does your agency do well? What do patients and their families say you do exceptionally well? What are your success stories from the field? Find the answers to these and other important questions about your current operation by collecting information from your staff and their case studies, as well as your patients and their family members who have used your agency’s services. Read the accounts and make notes on the similarities in the stories you hear. Focus on areas in which your agency shows strength and a distinct competitive advantage.
Examine your nursing staff. Get to know their backgrounds and their areas of expertise. Do you have a core group of health care professionals amongst your staff with similar skill sets? For instance, is there a group of wound care specialists at your agency? Cardiac care nurses? Nurses trained in diabetic care? Keep in mind that a number of nurses with similar professional experiences and expertise represent an important market niche in a field, which you can then market to physicians.
As the marketing representative for a home health agency, it becomes your job to know and clearly communicate the strengths, expertise and the nursing care concentrations within your company. You must be able to walk into any physicians’ office–from an orthopedist to a neurologist to a cardiologist to a gerontologist–and promote your agency’s services as the perfect fit to meet the specific needs and care requirements of that particular physician’s patient base.
A case study we often use is the podiatrist.
Our hypothetical diabetic patient with a diabetic ulcer on his foot is referred to Home Health from a podiatrist. The hypothetical patient needs a physical therapist (PT) to learn to walk in his home from the shag carpet in his living room to the linoleum in his kitchen and back again (navigating over multiple surfaces). The ulcer on his heel has left our patient with issues with his balance. In a case such as this one, OT can also be invaluable by providing more comprehensive and complete self-care activities, such as doing feet inspections with adaptive equipment–bringing the foot upside down to look for additional ulcers. Our hypothetical patient, like many diabetics, is older and somewhat overweight. He is unable to turn his foot in this uncomfortable position. Left alone, he will be unaware of progressively deteriorating conditions on his foot. In this instance, the OT trains the patient how to use adaptive medical equipment, such as a long-handled mirror to see the bottom of the patient’s feet.
Our patient may also benefit from home health care services that provide a safety evaluation of his home. For instance, a simple scatter rug with fringe can be a dangerous accessory to a diabetic with a walker, a cane or an ulcerated foot. A home health nurse can assist in the management of our patient’s medications, can teach syringe care, and can label foods in the kitchen with red (“bad”) stickers and green (“good”) stickers. Our hypothetical patient, for example, didn’t know that orange juice, loaded with vitamin C, is actually a poor choice for his diabetes, as it is a sugary drink that can spike a diabetic reaction.
As a marketer for the home health agency, it becomes your job to use these types of patient vignettes –or others like it– to teach physicians the benefits of using your home health care professionals to provide a complete package of services to treat his/her patients when they leave the physician’s office.
Do you specialize in cardiac care after heart attacks? Does your staff heal wounds faster than other home health agencies? Do your nurses put in extra time at patients’ homes going over medications and organizing dosages for the next day? Do your nurses go the extra mile? Your sales team can promote these benefits when meeting face to face with physicians, office staff or hospital personnel. These “extras” often do come up in discussions with the decision makers and should be pointed out.
So what does make your agency stand out? It is your job to find a clear and concise answer to that all-important question and to be able to target your response to whomever is asking. So What Marketing done right will, indeed, make you a top contender in the home health marketplace.
Standing out in the crowd can be difficult, but there are great tools that can help you succeed. Check out our High Performance Sales Academy and and The Roadmap to Referrals – 52 weeks of patient vignettes and Specific Referral Generating Questions can set yourself apart today!
Melanie Stover OT, MBA, MS/ISM
Co-Owner of Home Care Sales