If you build it, they will come. Unfortunately, that is NOT the case for palliative care. Some of the best designed PC programs languish due to a lack of marketing. Not only do providers have to market their PC programs to potential patients and referral sources, but the programs must be marketed to potential payer partners as well. In fact, the key to obtaining necessary payment contracts within value-based care arrangements, such as with Medicare Advantage plans, including VBID, and with ACOs, is powerful marketing.
So, what goes into a successful PC marketing campaign? According to my experience and the advice from Transcend Strategy Group, there are at least four key components. First, present the most relevant data that demonstrates the program’s value. This will differ depending on the audience. Patients and referrers will want to know how successful you are in creating desired change. Payers will want to know how you are impacting cost and utilization. Next, the service you are delivering will need to be clearly defined, especially considering the wide variation and misunderstanding about what PC programs do and don’t do. Then, the PC program must be shown to meet a specific need. For referrers, that may be creating specific patient outcomes or meeting the needs of a specific diagnostic group who is currently underserved. For payers, that may be creating a continuity of care that does not yet exist or serving a wide patient population with unmet needs. Lastly, you must measure the success of the marketing campaign itself. Is it connecting with the families and the providers that you are trying to reach? Are you getting the attention of payers? If not, the marketing efforts may need to be retooled.
Successful marketing necessitates a skill set that often requires the engagement of trained professionals to pull off. Those marketers may already be a part of your organization and they will need to be engaged throughout the development process of your PC program. Alongside these members of the team, remember that everyone in your organization will need to be marketers. Everyone will need to be prepared with a full understanding of the PC program, have an “elevator speech” ready to promote the key points, and know how to build access to the services. Only with such a marketing plan in place will your PC program be successful.
“4 Keys to Creating a Palliative Care Marketing Campaign” by Kristin Easterling, posted by Hospice News on August 28, 2023, and accessible at https://hospicenews.com/2023/08/28/4-keys-to-creating-a-palliative-care-marketing-campaign