The increasing shift from inpatient to outpatient care is driven by many factors. Because inpatient care is typically much more expensive than outpatient services, reducing unnecessary or repeated hospitalization saves significant costs. Advanced technologies and procedures, like minimally invasive surgeries, telemedicine, and digital monitoring, mean patients can get the care they need faster and at convenient locations, close to home. Additionally, health systems are expanding their focus on wellness and preventive care—helping patients minimize risk factors and maximize their health and longevity, rather than just treating disease.
This shift is positive for patients, and healthcare as a whole, in many ways, but it can present some marketing challenges. Here are some helpful strategies for effectively promoting your outpatient strengths to existing and potential patients.
As patients increasingly seek outpatient or ambulatory care options vs. inpatient care, effective hospital marketing means promoting your facility or system as an integrated network of care; communicating access points, insurance coverage, and care consistency; and establishing your position as a wellness-focused provider.
5 Marketing Strategies That Support Outpatient Success
- Identify potential patients’ needs, challenges, and frustrations—and offer outpatient solutions.
Chronic health conditions—like diabetes, hypertension, asthma, osteoporosis, and depression—are increasingly common in most markets. Many of these conditions can be managed without hospitalization, through medication, diet changes, therapies, regular monitoring, and wellness programs. Outpatient centers can make all this care more convenient for patients through accessible locations, extended hours, and one-stop-shop services like on-site labs, imaging centers, and pharmacies.
- Highlight high-quality care throughout your whole network.
Let patients know they can expect the same expert, top-quality care they’ve always received or heard about at your hospital in all your outpatient care centers. Clearly communicate that each outpatient site falls under the same care umbrella—promising care excellence and adherence to your healthcare mission and values, while increasing access and reducing costs.
- Weave outpatient offerings into an overarching wellness mission.
More and more patients are looking for wellness solutions rather than just acute care. Position yourself as a leader in preventive and comprehensive healthcare. Share stats and patient stories that show how this model of care—delivered in outpatient settings—can help people live healthier and reduce the need for hospital stays.
- Communicate clear points of access.
Ensure that current and potential patients can easily find the services they need at their most convenient location. Make sure all locations are listed on your health system’s website, that your location-search tool is up-to-date and user-friendly, and that you promote all locations for specific specialties or services in marketing materials. Additionally, offer a call center and nurse navigators who can point patients in the right direction and promote these patient-centered services in all communications.
- Explain insurance coverage to draw multiple demographics.
If your outpatient centers accept most insurance plans, like your hospital, emphasize this in marketing materials. In the past, visits to independent urgent care centers and clinics meant higher out-of-pocket costs, so reassure your audience that your centers fall under your network and coverages.
Hospitals and health systems across the country have turned to Lightstream for help in reaching an increasingly sophisticated audience of healthcare consumers. Reach out today to learn more.