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Capitalizing On Opportunities In Current And Future Health Care Policy
July 21, 2017Lisa Ellis, a journalist with Strategic Health Care Marketing, recently interviewed The Weinbach Group's president and CEO, Dan Weinbach, to discuss how potential changes to healthcare policy may affect the approach he and his team take on behalf of clients at the Miami-based healthcare advertising agency.
In "Advice For Marketers," Weinbach talks about trends that he believes will outlast the healthcare debate. He explains that value-based care and increasing consumerism are here to stay and that those involved in medical advertising or those working at a healthcare marketing firm need to know how to incorporate these issues into their messaging and planning.
Read an excerpt from the article below, or click here to read the entire article.
The fate of the American health care system is currently unknown as a new health care plan is making its way through Congress, raising many questions for people working in health care organizations, as well as for the patients they serve. How can you be sure your organization is well positioned for whatever comes next?
President Donald Trump's promises to "repeal and replace" the American Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (also referred to as the ACA or Obama Care) have led to a new health care plan, called the American Health Care Act (AHCA) that was passed by the House in May 2017. Now the Senate is developing its own version of this bill. Both versions will need to be reconciled into one solid plan before it can ultimately be passed. In the meantime, amid all of this uncertainty, it's important for organizations to stay focused on "business as usual" moving forward.
Some savvy leaders are also still focusing on key elements of the ACA that are expected to remain in whatever version of the new health care plan ultimately passes. You can follow a similar strategy to strengthen your marketing and branding efforts and help your organization to gain a stronger foothold in the marketplace.
Making the Most of Current Realities
"I wouldn't say that provider organizations are using the ACA to strengthen their marketing strategies, but I would say that some organizations are adapting better than others," explains Daniel Weinbach, president and CEO of The Weinbach Group in Miami, Florida. "Perhaps most notably, the urgent care sector has used pricing strategy more effectively than other providers to attract patients who might use alternative care settings."
In addition, some businesses are also looking for ways they can position themselves to fill in the gaps that exist in the current realities.
One such example is Bart J Zoni, chief marketing officer of Juventio, which is an over-the-counter line of skincare products distributed through DermWORX to be sold in professional health care offices. Zoni says the ACA has really helped focus his company on being competitive and filling gaps that exist in the current health care system.
"We intentionally market non-prescription products that are premium quality, but fairly priced—partially because we saw the rising costs of prescription products in our space. Patients are increasingly turning to over-the-counter products and we believe the Affordable Care Act is one of the catalysts for this shift," points out Zoni.
His brand actually focuses its marketing on the professionals, who in turn market the products to their patients, thus creating a multiplier effect. In fact, while Zoni does not market to the consumer directly, the dermatologists who distribute the products pass on the brand benefits to their patients, thus empowering them to be more involved in their own care while managing their own costs, too.
Juventio/DermWORX is just one of many organizations positioning themselves now to not only survive, but also find ways to thrive, in the current marketplace.
Filling a Need That Exists
"The ACA did a number of things to the way physicians and practices operate. Foremost, the law preceded a troubling pessimism among office-based physicians. Our own research shows providers are generally expecting (a) patient care becoming more difficult and (b) to work harder, at more risk, for less reward. I think it's important for marketers and brands to understand this and sympathize with these realities," Zoni says, adding that with this understanding in place marketers can then determine how best to respond both under the current health plan and also under any new plan that is passed in the near future.
For instance, he says, one of the leading factors driving his efforts at Juventio stems from the price increases that resulted from the passage of ACA.
"For our market, we saw that prices for patients are going up across the board. This is an obvious outcome of the ACA and the way it's structured. We recognize that the out-of-pocket costs for prescription medications and medical devices can be staggering. For our part, we actually built our plan on two main foundations: Offer fair prices for consumers and make our physician customers' lives easier," he says, adding, "In short, we ask ourselves constantly, 'How will my marketing make our customers' lives better and easier every day?'"
Making the Most of Opportunities
Such an approach can go well beyond the dermatology field and bring real benefits to health care providers in a wide range of settings. In fact, regardless of the area of medicine you represent, he points out that it's important to focus on the basics and stress what differentiates you from the competition, while improving your patients' experience in the process, as you explore how best to move forward.
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