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How LifePoint Uses Marketing to Drive Its Mission

Analysis  |  By Melanie Blackman  
   October 11, 2021

Kathy Winn, MBA, FACHE, vice president of strategic marketing at LifePoint, shares how the organization's marketing strategy operates with its mission at the forefront.

LifePoint Health is a national health system that operates a network of hospitals, post-acute services providers, and outpatient centers across 30 states.

Although the Brentwood, Tennessee-based organization has a large footprint, it unites all of its services under one singular mission: Making Communities Healthier®.

During an interview earlier this year, the organization's CEO, David Dill, spoke about how LifePoint continued to operate with its mission at the forefront, even during the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kathy Winn, MBA, FACHE, vice president of strategic marketing at LifePoint, recently spoke with HealthLeaders about how the health system's marketing strategy also operates with the organization's mission at the forefront and helps to continue to drive the mission during the pandemic.

This transcript has been lightly edited for clarity and brevity.

HealthLeaders: How does the health system strategically use marketing to drive its mission?

Kathy Winn: From an organizational perspective, everything that we do in the marketing space ties back to our mission. We have hospitals and care centers across the United States, and so while we have standard approaches to marketing and engaging consumers in a conversation about taking their health into their own hands, it is localized in each of our markets to make sure that we're speaking to the individuals in each of those unique communities.

HL: How has the health system utilized research to ensure it's meeting the needs and addressing fears of the patients across its large footprint?

Winn: Research is something that we use every day; we're a data driven organization.

In our markets across the country, we rely on specific consumer perception surveys in each of those markets to help us identify what's important to our neighbors and friends in those communities.

We align it with data and clinical research on the backside to make sure that we're providing the right kind of approach in our communities to engage individuals in a conversation about their health. Each community is a little bit different in terms of what they want to focus on. Our research in each of those communities helps us identify how we can engage those consumers and make sure that we're talking to them about healthcare in the same language that they want to hear it.

HL: What strategies have you utilized to promote COVID-19 vaccination across the health system?

Winn: In the beginning of the pandemic, we started with a message of support for our healthcare heroes. We started with one campaign that talked about how we could help support our healthcare heroes. We transitioned that to talk about the importance of vaccines; to support healthcare heroes, we need to make sure we're all getting our vaccines and promoting that in our communities.

Today, we are continuing with a strong and consistent message that is trying to lead to reducing COVID-19 vaccination hesitancy. We want our leaders in the community, whether that's our nurses, clinicians, or administrative leaders, to lead by example. We have toolkits that we've provided to them that have information around vaccine education. We enlist these local leaders as vaccine heroes, so that's where the continuation of our campaign has come into place. It's more of a grassroots approach. We provide the creative and the messaging platform, but we're trying to engage our local leaders to be that delivery point for our communities.

HL: How are you utilizing marketing strategies to recognize LifePoint professionals during the pandemic?

Winn: We are a large organization, and we do rely a lot on what that experience is like locally. From an organizational perspective, we have a lot of different strategies, both from a marketing and communication standpoint, in terms of providing support to our staff and making sure that we help them through this challenging time.

There are some operational strategies that we implement on the backside to support our employees every day, but what we found to be impactful and meaningful for our employees is the local community support that has come into play. Everything from food donations, mask donations, parades through the parking lot, prayer services in our parking lots—the communities have found ways to help support our team members across the country.

Our impact right now is to help our marketing teams in the field to amplify those voices. It's also sharing those good messages across the entire organization. We're an incredibly large and complex organization, but we have a great network through our leadership and through our markets, so sharing those opportunities to celebrate wins is impactful and important at this point, and that's what our role is during this time.

HL: With widespread misinformation about COVID, how does LifePoint communicate accurate information to its patients and communities?

Winn: We partner with the communications team to help support the messaging that goes out into our communities. For us, it's about maintaining that steady drumbeat of strong, consistent messaging about the need for vaccinations and masking.

One thing that's interesting about LifePoint is that we have locations across the country, and so they're all in different spaces when it comes to seeing different COVID surges in our communities. What is impactful about LifePoint as an organization is that with our marketing and communication support teams, and the tools that we have deployed to our markets, we can pivot quickly. We can make decisions quickly and meet the needs of the community.

Being a part of our larger organization, having all those robust tools, helps our teams in the field to be able to focus on patient care, so they don't have to spend their time creating new messaging and trying to figure out how to communicate effectively. We can help support that on the backside so they can make sure that they have the bandwidth to take care of our friends and neighbors in the communities they serve on the front side.

HL: What other strategic marketing innovations are you leading?

Winn: One-on-one engagement with consumers is an exciting opportunity from a marketing standpoint. To be able to talk to individuals about what's important to them in the right messaging, and the right tone, in the right vehicle, that's an opportunity that we're constantly driving for. We're making sure we have the right message at the right time to the right person.

From a digital health perspective, that's been a big focus for us. Innovation and strategy are part of our organization's core pillars to try to find new ways to engage with patients and remove barriers to access care. We have some exciting new partnerships that we've announced recently related to patient care.

We've got the Healthy Patient Program with our partners at Aeon. We have a new partnership with a company called Cadence that's going to be remote patient monitoring, which is going to be impactful for a subset of consumers. We're looking for ways to build on each of those technology-driven advancements, and how they can make our communities healthier. While those may be more technology driven, there's certainly a marketing component to it because it's all in the way that we message, educate, and engage our consumers around those digital strategies. Everything from telehealth, to online scheduling, to remote patient monitoring, to texting and engaging with patients in the way that they want to be engaged with, we're going to continue to see incredible advancements in that space within the walls of LifePoint.

Related: Reflections After a Decade: Duke LifePoint Healthcare's Shared Vision for Quality Care

Related: LifePoint Health CEO Shares Key Pandemic Lessons: Scale, Culture, & Partnerships

“From an organizational perspective, everything that we do in the marketing space ties back to our mission.”

Melanie Blackman is the strategy editor at HealthLeaders, an HCPro brand.

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