New Product and service lines always provide an opportunity for healthcare marketers to reconnect with their customers. A good marketer must always be on his toes looking for opportunities to connecct and communicate with his customers. Sometimes in the course of the evolution of the hospital’s services such opportunities present themselves, often the marketer has to create and then sustain them.
A new hospital keeps adding new services in the first few years and these provide the opportunities for the marketers to talk about them. For example Artemis Health Institute in Gurgaon opened a ultra modern blood bank a year after its formal launch and added a Lasik in the Ophthalmology service. These are occasions for the healthcare marketer to communicate with its customers. As the hospital matures and grows older, the addition of new services slackens and thus the marketers need to create these for continuous engagement with its customers.
Creating new services involves a close and concerted between the medical fraternity and the marketing team at the hospital. The new product delivery in a hospital will always involve a team of doctors. The idea to germinate into a successful program must have a complete buy in from those who are going to deliver the program.
One such program that I recall ran well at Max Healthcare were a host of services offered as the ‘Child Development Clinic’ (CDC). The CDC was a brainchild of Dr. Arvind Taneja, who heads Paediatric Services at Max Healthcare. Dr. Taneja is an eminent paediatrician and has been associated with Max Healthcare from its early days. He was keen to establish a CDC, essentially to help diagnose developmental issues in young children at an early stage and than provide therapy to help them overcome some of these problems and manage their lives better. CDC had a multi disciplinary approach involving a developmental paediatrician, occupational therapists, special educators, language experts, child psychologists etc. Dr. Taneja managed to put all of this together and the Marketing team, used innovative marketing techniques to popularise the clinic. The entire clinic was a collaborative effort between the marketing and medical teams and met with a fair amount of success.
Unfortunately a planned geriatric clinic on similar lines, at Max Healthcare never really took off as their was no one to hold it together and it kept falling between the stools. Similarly a diabetes clinic at Artemis Health Institute, has not seen the light of the day so far. Another program, which the Marketing team pushed very hard at Artemis but to no avail was a Heart Club at Artemis. There was a business case to establish a Heart club enrolling people with existing heart conditions and those with a high risk. A host of activities including regular checks, cardiology consultations, follow ups and educational activities were planned. The marketing team went into an overdrive and a suitable moniker, logo and communication units were developed and a high decibel launch was planned. Somehow the marketing team could never bring all the cardiologists on the same page and the club never took off.
Ideas for new service lines for a hospital can come from anywhere. They must be carefully evaluated from a business, medical,logistics and marketing perspectives. If the hospital believes that the idea has merit on all these parameters, it must look at implementing it swiftly. A crossfunctional team involving various stakeholders must be put together and duly empowered. The faster the idea develops into a service line and than goes to the market with everyone pushing in one direction the better it is for the hospital.
New Ideas and new services added over a period of time help differentiate a great hospital from a good one.
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