As the American healthcare industry embarks on its next evolution spurred by healthcare reform, leaders are calling for a new kind of chief marketing officer. This new leader, experts say, should be less tactical and more strategic. He or she should be involved in the early stages of product development, excel at relationship building, constantly prove return on investment, and spend more time crafting the organization’s messaging and less on one-off advertising campaigns. The new marketing leader should have a seat in the C-suite.
“So much is unknown about exactly what’s going to happen with healthcare reform and how it’s going to affect organizations,” says Janna Binder, director of marketing and public relations at healthcare marketing research firm PRC. “The marketing leader is the one who can tie all the different stakeholders together with the visionary strategy, from the CEO to the CFO to the chief medical officer.”
Baystate Health’s marketing initiatives have already shifted to prepare for the changes brought by healthcare reform. The Springfield, MA, hospital is redesigning its website so that any data and information a healthcare consumer may be interested in is easily accessible.
“Patients are going to be in the driver’s seat when selecting doctors and health plans and who they want to partner with for their own accountable care,” says Suzanne Hendery, vice president of marketing and communications for the 760-licensed-bed, three-hospital system. “They need better access to data for quality, patient safety, and how to find a doctor and drill down into their credentials.”