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What Good Doctors Want

10 Ways Accountable Care Organizations Can Win the Hearts and Minds of the Best Doctors and Physician Practices

Mike Killeen teaches healthcare marketing at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health. He is Vice President of Marketing at LENZ, an integrated marketing company that specializes in marketing physician practices, hospitals, and ACOs.

As anyone working in American medicine knows, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 initiated a tectonic shift in how healthcare is delivered. Healthcare providers are moving away from the old fee-for-service model that rewards providers for ordering lots of expensive tests, office visits, and procedures. And they’re moving toward an outcome-based model, in which compensation is tied to the health of individual patients and to the overall served population, as well as to cost savings.

Think of it as the “quality over quantity” model of healthcare, with accountable care organizations (ACOs) as its most visible manifestation.

ACOs need doctors. OK, that’s obvious, so let’s revise: ACOs need good doctors. Ideally, they want to either acquire or partner with the very best doctors and physician practices. But what if the good doctors aren’t interested?

The thing is, good doctors and physician practices may be doing just fine (for now) on their own and may not be interested in joining ACOs. And, at least in larger markets, those who are interested may have more than one suitor.

The best doctors are already delivering quality care, and doing so reasonably efficiently. They run their businesses relatively well. They have established referral networks that keep them booked. They help their patients, inspiring loyalty and recommendations. They make good money. So what’s their incentive to change?

To attract the best doctors and physician practices, ACOs have to appeal to what the good doctors most want, then demonstrate to them how ACOs can help.

So what do the good doctors want?

1. Good doctors want their patients to get well-coordinated care.

The human body is extraordinarily complex. Good doctors have confidence in what they know well and the humility to reach out when someone else will know better. They want to collaborate with other doctors and healthcare professionals to provide the best comprehensive care for their patients. Given the opportunity, they’re usually quite good at it.

Show doctors how your ACO will make it easier for them to collaborate with their peers, working together for the best possible patient outcomes.

2. Good doctors want to develop and maintain long-term relationships with their patients.

It’s not about making friends. Good doctors believe in the sanctity of the doctor-patient relationship. They know they can deliver better care when they learn, over time, the characters and qualities of their patients that even the most comprehensive electronic health records system could never capture.

Show good doctors how your ACO will strengthen, not replace, the doctor-patient bond, such as with patient portals that make it easier for patients and their doctors to communicate outside the exam room.

3. Good doctors want their patients to practice the basics.

Eat right, don’t smoke, exercise regularly, and get enough sleep. Good doctors know that those four practices will keep their patients healthier than any pill ever could.

Show good doctors how your ACO’s coordinated care will encourage healthy habits with coaching, classes, smoking cessation programs, and other initiatives to encourage healthy behaviors.

4. Good doctors want better technology to serve more personalized care.

Data-based medicine should inform a good doctor’s judgment, not replace it. Good doctors want high tech paired with high touch, empowering their decisions, not hobbling their independence.

Show good doctors how integrated health IT within an ACO will give them a more complete picture of a patient’s health and ongoing treatment, informing their judgement as they plan the best care.

5. Good doctors want to focus on medicine, not bureaucratic burdens.

This doesn’t mean good doctors dislike the running of a business. Some of them enjoy it very much and will appreciate — even insist on — opportunities to exercise their entrepreneurial spirit. But good doctors will gladly turn over to an ACO the handling of insurance, transcription, record-keeping, billing, and other administrative necessities.

Show doctors you’ll help them get back to being doctors.

6. Good doctors want to be leaders.

If you bring good doctors into your ACO and don’t ask them to take on leadership roles, you’re wasting a valuable resource and likely frustrating your good doctors. Successful ACOs rely heavily on physician leadership.[1][2]

Show doctors you value and want their leadership, and give them real leadership in your ACO.

7. Good doctors want to be respected by their peers.

Good doctors have studied and worked hard to become good doctors. They’ve earned the respect of their peers, and they don’t want to give that up to become anonymous employees of your ACO. A good doctor is not a commodity, not an interchangeable cog in the healthcare machine. Each brings individual expertise and accomplishments that are worthy of recognition and respect.

Show good doctors that you value them and will promote them as individuals, worthy of their peers’ respect.

8. Good doctors want to have a good reputation in their community.

Good doctors and physician practices work for years to build their reputation in the community, and that reputation is worth a lot. It’s part of why you want them to join your ACO. They don’t want to lose that reputation by disappearing into an anonymous division of a large corporate structure.

Show them you won’t just market your ACO’s brand. Show them you see the value of marketing your doctors and physician practices, enhancing your own brand by showcasing the expertise of your good doctors.

9. Good doctors want to deliver great care to more people.

Fundamentally, good doctors want to help people. They want to deliver high quality care to each individual patient, and, to the extent they can do so while maintaining that quality, they want to help more people. This balance is completely in line with the goals of outcome-based healthcare and the ACO model: delivering higher quality care to each individual and to the population, while controlling costs by finding greater efficiencies.

Show good doctors how your goals are in alignment.

10. Helping the good doctors do more.

ACOs offer all doctors potential benefits, including possible savings-based bonuses and, in some cases, greater job security. Because the shift in America to outcome-based care now has considerable momentum, those who adapt early may be better prepared for the changes ahead.

But the good doctors are looking for more than a steady paycheck, and the good physician practices are looking for more than a lucrative buyout. Ultimately, what good doctors want is what good ACOs want too: to help people with higher quality care leading to better outcomes, and to do so while controlling costs, allowing them to help more people.

What do good doctors want? They want to know that you want to help people too, and that you’ll help the good doctors do more.

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[1] “True Physician Leadership Key to Sustainability of ACOs,” Dr. Robert Pear, Modern Healthcare. http://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20141206/MAGAZINE/312069978

[2] “The Power of Physician Leadership in ACO Success,” Thomas Graf, M.D., FAAFP, and Cynthia Bailey, Accountable Care News, Volume 8, Issue 1, January 2017.

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Lenz is proud to support ProstAware’s ninth annual Blue Ties Luncheon

Lenz is proud to once again support ProstAware’s ninth annual Blue Ties Luncheon as a Diamond level sponsor. As in years past, Lenz is helping to promote the event through traditional and digital media services.

The Blue Ties luncheon on September 8th benefits ProstAware, a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing prostate cancer awareness and education to men and their loved ones. This year’s event will feature a keynote address given by legendary NFL coach Dan Reeves, and a special guest appearance by William King of iconic funk & soul band The Commodores. Last year’s Blue Ties Luncheon helped raise a record $125,000 for the cause.

Tune into “The Weekly Check-Up with Dr. Bruce Feinberg” on Sunday August 27 from 3-5 p.m. to listen to an entirely Blue Ties themed show, featuring guest appearances by the organization’s founder and president, Dr. Scott Miller, and executive director, Tim Smith.

Other sponsors of the event include Georgia Urology, Toyota, Northside Hospital Cancer Institute, the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl, UPS, and The Coca-Cola Company.

If you’re interested in attending this year’s luncheon, visit the ProstAware website for more information and to buy tickets!

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Lenz and Dr. Scott Miller launch the new ScottDMillerMD.com

Lenz recently partnered with Dr. Scott Miller of Georgia Urology to revamp and relaunch his practice website. The new ScottDMillerMD.com features an enhanced, mobile-friendly design, reorganized content, a gallery of Dr. Miller’s media appearances, and more.

Take a look at Dr. Miller’s new website!

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Creating Confidence: Georgia Urology’s 2017 Marketing Campaign

How do you take often uncomfortable topics and develop messages that connect with potential patients looking for first-rate care? What do patients really want from their healthcare experience? These are just a couple of the questions the Lenz team asked when developing Georgia Urology’s 2017 “Confidence” campaign.

The “Confidence” campaign is designed to articulate the wide array of benefits that patients receive by partnering with Georgia Urology for their healthcare. And it recognizes that urology comes with particular sensitivities and considerations.

“The service offerings provided by Georgia Urology are critical, sometimes even life-saving,” said Accounts Supervisor Christine Mahin, who leads the Georgia Urology account for Lenz. “But we also knew they involved medical issues many people feel embarrassed and ashamed to discuss or seek help for. So, we asked ourselves: What does Georgia Urology offer patients that other practices do not?”

Following extensive research and after receiving important insights from the leadership at Georgia Urology, the Lenz team established a campaign theme that embodies Georgia Urology’s value to patients: confidence.

The concept was first articulated in a 60-second radio ad written by Lenz VP of Marketing, Mike Killeen:

Confidence.

It seems to be the missing ingredient in healthcare today.

We know more about the human body than ever before, benefit from cutting-edge research, and have access to medical technology that previous generations would have never dreamed of.

Yet, when it comes time to decide what to do for you and your family’s health, the choices can be overwhelming.

With something so important, you deserve a partner that you believe in. That’s called confidence. And it’s exactly what you get with Georgia Urology.

The concept of confidence speaks to how Georgia Urology’s patients feel when interacting with their care team, and when living their everyday lives. They are confident that they have chosen the right practice to care for them, that they are receiving the best, most appropriate treatments for their condition, and that they can confide in their care provider.

Similarly, Georgia Urology helps its patients live life freely and confidently, without worrying about the potential social impacts of their urological condition.

Lenz Creative Director Ben Barnes described the nuances behind developing visuals to fit this creative concept. “While every ad may not say ‘confidence’ directly, it’s the whole idea behind it that really counts. The idea we wanted to convey is that you can talk to your urologist without fear at Georgia Urology.”

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 The Lenz design team relied heavily on both overt and subtle design elements to effectively bring the “Confidence” concept to life in a visual way.

The black-and-white imagery helped address the often serious, sensitive nature of the conditions Georgia Urology treats. Images were intentionally cropped to omit the faces of the primary subjects, making it easier for consumers to insert themselves into the scenarios displayed. Everyday situations were often conveyed in the artwork to make the messaging relatable. The green arrow framing the primary text intentionally elicits a shield, bringing associations of protection and guardianship to Georgia Urology’s name.

Finally, the Lenz Interactive team worked hand-in-hand with the design team to update the Georgia Urology website so that it harmonized with the campaign aesthetic. Lenz wanted to make sure the campaign was fully integrated: from billboards to the website. We strove visually to assure those who searched for the Georgia Urology brand online knew they were at the right place when they reached the homepage.

WEBSITE

The Georgia Urology “Confidence” campaign is being extended throughout print, broadcast, and digital mediums in the Metro Atlanta market. The Lenz team is excited to continue to assist in developing Georgia Urology’s brand and promoting the confidence they provide their patients every day.

At Lenz, we love working with our clients to develop strategic and creative concepts to help them meet their goals. To learn more about our process, our team, and how we can help your business, click here.

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7 Thoughts on Healthcare Marketing

VP of Marketing Mike Killeen recently spoke to a healthcare marketing class at Valdosta State University. Here are the notes from Mike’s presentation.

1. Marketing healthcare is noble work

It connects doctors and patients who need them

Marketing often gets a bad rap. For some, it is the dark side of business, purely focused on making the cash register ring. But the purpose of marketing is to connect people with products and services they desire.

In turn, healthcare marketing exists to connect patients with healthcare providers and services that can help them stay healthy, get well, and live better lives.

Sure, marketing has been used to sell cigarettes to children. That’s bad. But more often it helps patients in need find a doctor that can care for them. That’s good.

 

2. Patients are people, too

They drink Coke and vote in elections

Effective healthcare marketing has more in common with consumer product marketing than most people realize. Why? Because patients are people, not some foreign species that exists only to receive medical treatment.

In other words, we’re all consumers, making choices everyday about what soda to drink, which political candidate to vote for, and where to take our sick kids for care.

Consumers arrive at buying decisions for different products in similar ways. They want value. They want to make choices with confidence. And, most of all, they want to associate with brands, organizations, and products that reinforce their views of themselves.

That’s true whether they are choosing a doctor or a can of sugar water.

 

3. Healthcare is jazz

Overnight shipping is the symphony

Patients may not be a foreign species, but doctors and healthcare executives often are!

That’s a joke of course, but the point is that the most singular aspect of healthcare marketing isn’t the patient audience, but working within the healthcare ecosystem, which presents a set of dynamics very different from other industries.

The healthcare industry is a constellation of loosely associated components striving to move together in a positive direction – kind of like a jazz band. Hospitals, physician practices, government, private insurance groups, pharmaceutical companies, and non-profit organizations all play a role. Sometimes they are well coordinated, and sometimes they are not. Overnight shipping, on the other hand, is more like the symphony: a well “orchestrated” set of activities arranged with a single goal in mind.

Today, the healthcare industry is experiencing a rapid transformation toward consumerism, where patients make independent choices about their care team instead of relying entirely on physician referrals. Most senior physicians and leadership entered the industry and built successful practices before the rise of the Internet and healthcare reform helped create this new reality.

So, understanding how patients make decisions is the easier part. Understanding how to effectively communicate the value of direct-to-patient marketing to a healthcare organization’s leadership requires a deeper understanding of the industry.

 

4. Nobody cares until they do

Then it’s all that matters

There is a segment of the population that is always in the market for a new guitar. If they had the money, the space, and their spouse’s approval, they would buy a guitar every day. But on a given day, relatively few people have an interest in or need for an orthopedic surgeon. Their backs, knees, and shoulders feel great. So, they probably wouldn’t even notice a TV commercial for an orthopedic group. But an ad about a holiday special at Guitar Center? That gets their hearts pounding every time.

There’s an old healthcare marketing joke about the guy who injures his knee and turns on the radio, waiting to hear the first ad for an orthopedic surgeon, so he knows where to go for help. The point is that that’s not how it works. By the time you injure your knee, the well marketed practice has probably already won your business, even if you didn’t consciously notice their TV ads until you were hurt.

Healthcare is a service that most people don’t think or care about until they need it. Once they do, it’s all that matters to them, and then they want to act fast. The lesson is that healthcare marketing requires branding—establishing a preference in the mind of the consumer before they have a need—and patience until the need arises. It’s an investment, but one that pays off.

 

5. All doctors are experts

And everybody cares

If you are a physician in America, there is some good news and some bad news. The good news is that the public recognizes you as an expert. The bad news is that they think the same of your colleagues and competition.

The message is that clinical expertise is rarely a differentiator. Word of mouth based on bedside manner and even wait times are more likely to separate a physician from the pack—as is an association with well-esteemed and well-branded institution.

Marketing works best when there is an appropriate balance between functional and emotional appeals. But the classic healthcare marketing mistake is saying, “we are experts” (functional appeal) and “we care” (emotional appeal).

Expertise and compassionate medicine are examples of the “price of entry” concept—where what is most important to the consumer is also expected by them, and therefore does not differentiate one product from another. A healthcare provider promoting expertise and compassion will be about as effective as a restaurant promoting its clean kitchen, or an airline promoting safety. In either case a stronger position, or differentiator, is required for success.

 

6. Big data is coming

But will patients accept it?

In some ways healthcare marketing is the ultimate branding platform. Historically, very little data has been published about patient outcomes, and treatment expenses are largely hidden from view.

So, what do patients compare? Their perceptions and the reputations of the healthcare providers they consider. In other words: their brands.

This may be changing. Soon, we will see more healthcare data than ever before. Healthcare reform and the advent of Accountable Care Organizations are tying payment models to patient outcomes. Medicare has begun releasing physician-payment records annually, providing public access to how billions of dollars are spent on healthcare each year. And high deductible insurance plans are helping accelerate the retail medicine movement.
Together, these changes further contribute to an increasingly consumer healthcare environment where patients will have the opportunity to consider the more functional components (like treatment results and pricing) rather than relying on physician referrals and quality perceptions when making healthcare decisions.

The questions are whether, and how fast, patients will embrace the opportunity.

 

7. Dear Doctor: It’s not about you

Tell your patients’ stories, not yours

For whatever reason, doctors really like promoting their backgrounds: the schools they attended (all four of them), their certifications, prior hospital leadership positions, the conferences they attended, and the papers they’ve published.

But their audience—the ones who make or break their businesses—are patients who want to hear about the things that affect them: the treatments they have to choose from, what they’ll experience on their first office visit, and whether their insurance is accepted.

If they do care to hear about their doctor, it’s not where they went for residency, but why they entered medicine, what they are passionate about, and which former patient had the greatest impact on their life – all things that will help discerning patients understand what they can expect from their doctor.

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Lenz Proudly Sponsors Prostaware’s Eighth Annual Blue Ties event for Prostate Cancer Awareness

pa_logo-gpccLenz is proud to support the eighth annual ProstAware Blue Ties Luncheon, benefitting ProstAware, a nonprofit devoted to raising awareness of prostate cancer.

The 2016 Blue Ties Luncheon will be held Friday, September 9 at the Ritz-Carlton Buckhead, and feature a keynote address from Vince and Barbara Dooley, the first family of Georgia Football, as well as a special appearance from Heisman Trophy winner George Rogers. 11-Alive newscaster Jeff Hullinger will emcee the event.

Tickets are $100 and available at Prostaware.org.

Lenz is a diamond level sponsor of this event, alongside Toyota, Northside Hospital, and Georgia Urology.

“ProstAware has done an incredible job of raising awareness for prostate cancer,” Lenz founder and CEO Richard Lenz said. “We are thrilled to support this year’s Blue Ties event, and all that ProstAware will accomplish in the future.”

Now in its eighth year, the annual Blue Ties event raised over $50,000 in 2015. These generous donations will contribute to ProstAware’s year-round educational programing and screening events.

Vince Dooley is best known for guiding the Georgia Bulldogs to the 1980 national title. He was twice named national coach of the year and seven times earned Southeastern Conference coach of the year honors. George Rogers was awarded the Heisman Trophy in 1980 while attending the University of South Carolina, and was a Super Bowl champion during his career in the National Football League.

Prostaware is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that has sought to raise awareness of prostate cancer through music, technology and sports since its founding in 2008 by acclaimed prostate surgeon Dr. Scott D. Miller.

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Lenz Helps Develop Brand Identity for Cornerstone Medical Center

Cornerstone_Med_Ctr_Vert_ColorLenz recently helped the former Hutcheson Medical Center in Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia re-open as Cornerstone Medical Center. Lenz partnered with the hospital’s leadership, employees, and community to develop the new name, logo, and visual identity.

Cornerstone Medical Center CEO Jessica Long recently explained the inspiration for the hospital name. “The name comes from the Cornerstone Club, a group of community laborers who made weekly financial contributions from their individual paychecks to expand the Post Hospital and create the Medical Center we know today,” she said. “We feel the name honors the dedication of this community and exemplifies a fresh start and new beginning.”

Cornerstone Medical Center is owned by ApolloMD. The hospital provides emergency medicine, radiology, laboratory services, and a pharmacy.

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Content is King in Healthcare, Too.

In the marketing industry, “content is king” is a popular cliché.

The phrase is widely associated with Bill Gates in a blog he wrote nearly 20 years ago. Today, his messages seem prophetic, among them: “Content is where I expect most of the real money will be made on the Internet…” (see Netflix) and “No company is too small to participate” (see the millions of small businesses with a WordPress blog).

“Content” is shorthand for the engaging parts of your web presence—the blogs, photos, and videos, for example—that intend to connect with audiences rather than convert, or sell. And while some think of content purely through the prism of search engine optimization, a proper content strategy holistically considers the entirety of the user experience (another cliché) from the search query through the on-site conversion. In other words, getting people to your site is the first step, but they also need to find what they’re looking for, have a fulfilling visit, and eventually buy something from you.

This brings me to Lenz. When I joined the company way back in 2002, I was fresh out of UGA’s journalism school with visions of Woodward and Bernstein dancing in my head. Lenz hired me to write news and feature articles that would appear strictly on our clients’ web sites. When my friends would ask about my new job, I would say, “I write web releases, they’re kind of like press releases, but not important enough to send to the press.” Today I and the rest of the marketing world understand the value of blogging, while Lenz understood it from the beginning.

Ask a Lenzer how we market healthcare and she’ll tell you, “just like we market everything else.” Patients are people, we like to say. Lenz recognizes that healthcare is a unique industry and healthcare marketing, a specialized field. However, this does not mean you push the best marketing practices aside every time you work in a new industry. For patients, choosing a doctor—like choosing a soda, brand of sneakers, or presidential candidate—is a buying decision, and many commonalities apply.

According to the Pew Research Center, 72 percent of Internet users looked online for health information within the past year. And 77 percent of online health seekers start with a search engine—as opposed to going directly to a healthcare provider’s web site or an online review site.

Translation: Healthcare is a consumer industry and the web largely determines the winners and losers. And what comprises a winning website? Informative, entertaining, and insightful content that people want to read, view, share, and comment on.

When it comes to healthcare, the website’s job is to introduce the hospital or practice and its providers, demonstrate their qualifications and compassion, and establish trust—the holy grail in healthcare marketing—all before the doctor actually meets the prospective patient.

Research shows, time and again, that patients want to build relationships with their doctors. Lenz’s independent research has shown that patients care very little about their physicians’ training, board certifications, or leadership positions at the hospital. So, a great CV won’t cut it.

If you’re a physician eager to grow your practice, consider instead a blog retelling the moment you knew you wanted to enter medicine, share your favorite letter from a patient or a photo from your last mission trip, or produce a video that helps family members understand their role in your patients’ care journey. These are great ways to build the trust that your success depends on.

Remember: Content is king in healthcare, too.

 

-Mike Killeen

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Lenz’s SouthCoast Health Commercial Wins Davey Award

Lenz is thrilled to have won a 2015 Silver Davey Award in the Healthcare (non-hospital category) for its 30-second SouthCoast Health “Total Wellness” TV commercial. The Davey Awards is an international creative awards competition focused exclusively on honoring outstanding work from the best small ?rms worldwide.

The 2015 Davey Awards received nearly 4,000 entries from ad agencies, interactive agencies, production ?rms, in-house creative professionals, graphic designers, design ?rms, and public relations ?rms.

The awards honor work whose strength comes from big ideas, out-of-the-box thinking and exceptional execution.

Creative execution for the commercial was developed by SouthCoast Health and Lenz Creative Director Cameron Spivey, in partnership with Gregory Miller Productions, Outback Editorial, and Agency Producer, Laura Dobson.

Haven’t seen the commercial yet? Check it out below.

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How Do You Market Healthcare?

We get this question a lot, and our answer is that you should market healthcare much like you market anything—by telling stories that change or reinforce your audience’s behavior.

Sure, that’s easier said than done. But, remember, patients aren’t just patients. They are fathers, mothers, sons, and daughters—in other words the same people who buy Coca Cola and vote in elections.

For many years, Lenz has practiced the philosophy that healthcare decisions are made much like other buying decisions, and that the best marketing practices should be directed towards prospective patients.

Our clients appeared on billboards, TV ads, and social media networks long before their competitors—because patients (and even doctors) consume and are influenced by media too!

Hopefully, this perspective has positioned us and our clients especially well for the increased consumerism in healthcare that we know today.

So, marketing healthcare is a lot like marketing other products. Some key points related to our philosophy include:

  • Lead with the goal, then develop the strategy; only then consider tactics and execution.
  • Invest in market research; do not assume that what you think you know is correct.
  • Marketing works best when it is fully integrated; each marketing channel and program should be strategically oriented and complement the others.
  • Tell stories.
  • Track, measure, report, and analyze results against the stated goals and objectives.
  • Remember, patients are consumers. They have the information and access they need to make healthcare choices. Your marketing strategy should reflect their individualized needs, wants, and preferences.

If you want to work with Lenz, please let us know. We’ve got a great team that is eager to help quality healthcare businesses reach their goals.

-Richard Lenz