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Why Marketers Should Care About the Strategic Halo

Marianne Aiello, for HealthLeaders Media, June 30, 2010

Alle-Kiski Medical Center planned to scale back its endocrinology and diabetes care services—until it began to analyze the strategic halo effects on its cardiovascular service line. To the surprise of leaders at the 258-bed hospitals, research proved that 35% of its cardio volume came from existing patients—and 14% came from endocrinology.

Alle-Kiski's story shows that it's crucial for marketers to apply strategic halo principles to determine what their feeder service lines are and how they can continue to drive those patients to seek more care at their organization.

Alle-Kiski's story shows that it's crucial for marketers to apply strategic halo principles to determine what their feeder service lines are and how they can continue to drive those patients to seek more care at their organization.

"Once you learn the method to track the service lines, it applies to a lot of other areas like marketing," William Englert, vice president of operations and business development for the Natrona Heights, PA, medical center said in the July issue of HealthLeaders magazine.

Alle-Kiski worked with SRK, Inc., a Chicago-based healthcare consulting firm, to identify the service lines that were driving patients to its cardiology department. In addition to endocrinology, it found that 6% of patients came from pulmonary, 6% came from gastroenterology, and 9% came from orthopedics.

Marketers should know how patients get to each major service line because "if we just look at the product line we're only going to understand that vertical experience," said Arthur Sturm, president and CEO of SRK, during its "Strategic Halos: Understanding How Product Lines Relate" webcast on Tuesday. "But if we take a full enterprise view we should be able to understand how an organization shares customers."

Once marketers know how patients arrive at a particular service line, they can better connect with those customers. Now Alle-Kiski clinicians ask diabetes patients if they've had their annual heart exam in order to drive patients to the cardio service line.

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