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Marketing and the Healthcare System
In recent times, it has become very evident that the marketing of healthcare systems is less or more inevitable. Hospitals are finding ways to make sure that patients prefer their institutions to other institutions. This has, however, proved to be tricky in a way since the hospitals have to look at an approach that is safe. Safe in the way that it does not show that the hospital is much more involved in money comparing to the well being of its patients (Baum, 2010). There are various methods of marketing a healthcare system, and they include: recruiting the best physicians, increasing the facilities offered at the hospital and improving the services offered to patients.
According to the free online dictionary, a healthcare provider is an individual or institution that helps in the identification of an illness or disability and helps in the cure and treatment. In the United States, there are very many healthcare providers and the range is quite big. In this instance, the focus shall majorly be on the physicians. A physician is an individual who has qualified from medical school and, therefore, has the mandate and power to practice medicine. Research proves that, for the marketing of a healthcare provider such as an institution to be successful, it must involve the physician. Most hospitals try and employ the best physician and also have a wide range for those who can cater for any condition.
The marketing of a physician is very simple procedure, yet most people do not seem to understand the process. The success is measured in whether the profile of the physician changes after marketing. If there is no change, then the marketing procedure is not successful, and another method must be drafted (Krider, 1997). The approach used must also be very conservative to ensure that the target audience receives the intended message. The method must also not be very costly to the institution in a way that it will strain the institution’s resources. Some physicians might ask for a large amount of money for the institution to maintain them. This is the case especially if they have a very good reputation and even threaten to move to another medical institution; that is offering a larger amount of money.
In the event of marketing a physician and what they do, it mounts pressure on the individual. The individual ought to perform to their level best, and according to the standards that have been set for them. The direct impact could also involve the physician receiving more clients than they used to earlier especially if they maintain their reputation. This is among the easiest strategies that can help a hospital or medical institution gain more patients and increase their revenue (Solomon, 2008). The hospital might also be obliged to buy more machinery that can help the physicians in treating their patients better.
There are five effective methods of marketing a physician that have proven to be successful, and they are the internet, direct mail, telemarketing, fax marketing and email marketing. The internet or web based marketing is one of the easiest and cheapest methods of marketing a physician. This method is one of the best since the internet has a very good exposure to comprehensive market coverage. Posting an advertisement on the internet is very easy especially if the medical institution owns a website. The running of the website is not only easy but also creates a convenience for the attendants of the hospital to know about the upcoming events.
Direct mail involves the creation of a direct contact channel between the clients and the physician. This is very effective since the physician can directly contact their patients in a very simple way without any hustle (Krider, 1997). In this method, most physicians are listed in a blog with the various ways of how one can access them making it easier for someone targeting a physician. Telemarketing is a method that involves a very interactive medium. In this method, a client can contact a physician and book an appointment date without having to go to the hospital. The client can also contact the physician and enquire on some symptoms. It is, however, not advisable to make a phone call directly to the physician since most do not pick up direct calls. It is much better to contact the secretary then book an appointment.
Fax marketing is the use of a physician’s fax number to relay a message to the physician. This method also proves to be very effective since a fax message is sent in just a few minutes. A patient must need, however, the fax number of the physician to convey the message. The only disadvantage of this method is that; one is obliged to type out the message first before putting it into a fax machine (Baum, 2010). The medical institution can create either a common fax number or separate ones for each physician depending with the demand of the job. A fax looks more formal than a phone call, and in the fax message the client can include details through which they can be contacted.
Email marketing is the use of email addresses to market physicians, and the method is quite effective in some certain instances. This method, however, can prove to be the most expensive method of marketing physicians. This is because it may take quite some time before the target market is reached. The method is not advisable since it is costly, and the results will take time before success can be attained. Direct mail and telemarketing happen to be the most common and recommended methods if progress is to be achieved. The two methods are cost effective because the process will be much successful in an easier way.
In case of the marketing strategies working out successively, the rest of the part would have to be done by a physician. First of all, the physician must live up to the expectation put in the marketing strategy. Therefore, the physician should use the best methods possible to ensure that all their patients leave happy and contented. In the case of the physician failing to put up to the expected standards, then the whole marketing process may be termed as a failure. This is because most patients will complain about the physician leading to a negative impact on their reputation (Solomon, 2008). A positive feedback can, however, back up the marketing process, and more progress can be achieved.
The physician must also work on his customer relation and avoid confrontation with patients. This is because, if a patient gets the treatment he/she feels is right, he/she will recommend their friends to the physician. Within no time, word will have spread about the physician’s good work, and without further marketing most people would recommend a good work. The added advantage will also be pushed to the medical institution where the physician is an employee. This may be private or public institution, but in most cases physicians work in both public and private institutions. The institution ends up receiving more clients due to the good name put out there by the work their physicians are doing.
Therefore, the result being the medical institution receiving more money in terms of income compared to former times. The physician in conjunction with the hospital may also offer free treatment days or free checkups. These days may cover people with conditions such as impaired sight, hearing problems, cancer checkups and other chronic diseases. This is a method of advertising the physician and the hospital, and also giving back to the society (Baum, 2010). On such days, treatment ought to be free for those who are found with the conditions being tested. This is a motive to show the society that the institution and its employees care more about the well being of the patients rather than the money.
In conclusion, the marketing of healthcare providers is aimed at getting people to get value for their money. Providing the best services at the best affordable prices and not offering poor services for a price that is rather absurd. The method used should be aimed at a specific target audience ensuring that the message is not also misinterpreted. For the marketing process to be successful, all factors must be considered to ensure there is a positive feedback. In any case, if anything goes wrong, there should always be back up plan.
Baum, N., & Henkel, G. (2010). Marketing your clinical practice: Ethically, effectively, economically. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett.
Krider, B. G. (1997). Valuation of physician practices and clinics. Gaithersburg, Md: Aspen Publishers.
Solomon, R. J. (2008). The physician manager's handbook: Essential business skills for succeeding in health care. Sudbury, Mass: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.