It comes with the territory. If you’re a nonprofit hospital, you have to take care of anyone who has an emergency and doesn’t have insurance. And if you’re treating too many of these people, it can skew your payor mix into an area that makes it difficult to run your hospital system efficiently. One way you can combat this is to change your media mix and your creative to focus on the more upscale, insured patient base. We have done this successfully for a number of regional hospital systems.
The key is both in where you place your media and where you don’t. When creating a media plan for your healthcare regional marketing, it’s all about avoiding shows that are likely to have a high concentration of uninsured potential clients. We look at factors such as age, marital status, household income, education, occupation and even geography when deciding which shows and channels will make the cut. This means the daytime judge shows and some soaps were definitely off the media schedule. But it also meant some extremely popular shows were too. For instance, when American Idol was a huge draw, we wouldn’t put it on the schedule, even if we could get an extremely good deal on it. It had a huge audience, but that meant it we would be marketing to a lot of people we didn’t want in our payor mix. We even looked at which local news skewed better in our desired audience. And now, with all the tools available, we can target specific zones with cable and avoid others.
Shows that you would want to put in your media mix are the ones that are smartly written with good dialogue that appeals to a higher socio-economic target audience. And in fact, when creating the spots, we would purposely write them with copy that spoke in a more educated tone that would both appeal to the audience you want and feel a little too upscale for the one you didn’t want. Same thing with the look and feel of the spots and the people you put in them.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with treating the uninsured – it’s a good thing to do. But when it takes three insured patients to pay for one uninsured one, you need to have the right payor mix to stay in business. You have to treat those who are uninsured. You don’t have to spend your healthcare regional marketing dollars on them. By skewing the media mix and creative slant to the right audience you can move your payor mix into one that works better for everyone.