By Lonnie Hirsch and Stewart Gandolf, MBA
Once upon a time ... as some stories begin...the care and feeding of a profitable ambulatory surgery center seemed blessed with a seamless, predictable and uninterrupted patient flow. At least that was the idea.
Unfortunately, reality intrudes and things change.
Today, there’s nothing easy or automatic. ASCs—both large and small—are challenged to constantly align capacity and demand, attract new physician partners, contend with a shifting competitive landscape, communicate the institutional brand, and maintain quality care and profitability.
Profitability requires efficient operations and effective marketing in a tough economic climate. Did we mention “healthcare reform,” inspiring community confidence, or launching a hospital joint venture?
Not all ASCs have a marketing program, but others are being proactive—effectively using marketing as a business tool in a climate of change—and they’re doing so successfully and profitably. Objectives include attracting consumer direct patients for elective services such as cosmetic surgery or pain management. Or perhaps they want to increase physician visibility, build ASC name recognition and trust in the community.
In our work with healthcare businesses and medical practices throughout the nation, the task is to establish an ethical and cost-effective marketing program that positions strengths in answer to the needs in their marketplace, establish them ahead of the competition and achieve measurable business objectives.
Regardless of the purpose and goals, successful ASC marketing—meaning results-based marketing—begins with a serious roadmap for growth.