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Healthcare Marketing in the United States

The Transformation of Healthcare
Marketing in the US: Overcoming Barriers to a Value-Based System

By

Ronald D. Fabian

 

If
the United States will ever proceed towards a value-based competition in
healthcare, it must hurdle over internal and external barriers. Both the
service providers, medical schools, pharmaceutical and medical product
manufacturers must need to be willing participants in the entire process of
transformation. The videos in this discussion highlight key elements and point
to a direction towards fuller understanding of the healthcare services in the
US.

Video Link:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NevFL1rGeew

Hence,
a discussion of likely barriers is essential in the decision to proceed for
maximizing value in care delivery in the nation. These barriers that need to be
addressed include the following:

 

Attitudes and Rigidity in Thinking

Both
patients and providers must begin thinking differently from the old way of
thinking that assumes it is bad to create competition when it comes to health
or medicine. Even physicians are reluctant on the idea of being held
accountable for results. But that needs to change.

 

Legal Ramification

            Any legal structure that goes
against value-based strategies must be examined to check if it offers some
resistance to the transformative process.

Video Link: http://video.foxnews.com/v/1100402409001/50-billion-health-care-blooper/.

Hospital
board members, community leaders, politicians or lawmakers must support the
philosophy that patient value is the central goal, considering that there are
currently numerous regulatory and legal impediments that run counter or against
any value driven initiative. All of these must go away to give chance to a full
transformation.

 

Health Plan practices

            Duplication of services is currently
common in almost all health plans. Instead of putting the clients or patients
in the picture, a lot of effort and money is allocated on strategies for micromanaging
providers. Transformation requires that health plans must be separate from
providers. Approaching it this way guarantees value-based competition.

 

Medicare Reimbursement

            This is one big culprit why the US
healthcare system needs a big overhaul. Instead of tying up reimbursement
levels to cost or value, Medicare reimbursement is traditionally biased against
it, particularly against any form of innovation in treatment methods. Treatment
improvement in the transformative sense must be able to show value over the
care cycle.

Video
Link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kf3MtjMBWx4

The present Medicare
levels of reimbursement, however, is geared on excess capacity with no idea or
inkling whatsoever on such cycle of care. This explains the growing costs of
Medicare, and that does not include yet the “fraudulent cases” of
reimbursement, which is another story.

 

Medical Schools

            Medical institutions represent
another barrier towards improving delivery of care. For one, medical schools
that receive subsidy from the Federal government does not need to care about a
value-driven health care system  --- at
least, not yet. To become transformed into a value-driven service, the
education of doctors and nurses must address integrated care, care cycles,
measurement of results, information technology, and practice unit management,
and a lot more along this line of quality offering.

 

Physician Practice and Medical Societies

            According to Porter and Teisberg
(2010), healthcare delivery must be patient centered, not physician centered.
On top of that, the service must be value centric accordingly. Likewise,
Medical societies must take a lead towards value-based competition and
encourage results measurements. The whole idea is for doctors, hospitals and
Medical Societies to commit on meeting high standards of providing services.

 

Management Skills

            Traditional thinking in healthcare
delivery has always seen management to be less important in service delivery,
not necessarily in pharmaceutical or medical product development. But that has
to change now. Medical culture must view management functions as integral and
key to the ability of any medical enterprise to provide and expand its
services.

 

Conclusion

This
mini-discussion enumerates the impediments to a full transformation into a
value-based competition system of healthcare.

Competing
on value is a sure way to understand and arrive at a “positive sum”. Consider
this. When good things happen to patients, everybody wins --- service
providers, health plans, product and device providers, etc., because quantity
and costs will also be significantly improved. Unlike in a pure capitalistic
competition where there are big gainers and out of luck losers, in healthcare
this is not the case. Hence, value-based competition in healthcare will
ultimately benefit providers and patients.

Special Acknowledgement: A special mention to the inspiration, support,
and confidence given me by my professor in our doctoral class for Term 5,
HCM-625 (Healthcare Marketing: Tools and Techniques)  

 

Reference: 

California InterContinental
University(2007).  Interactive learning guide:
        HCM 625 Healthcare marketing – tools and
techniques.

        Diamond Bar, California:  CalU
Press.

Marketing Healthcare Products and Services. (2010, October 20). Retrieved July 6, 2011, from http://www.ehow.com/about_6552138_marketing-healthcare-services-products.html.

Meeting new compliance issues. (2010, May 8). Retrieved July 19, 2011, from http://www.mddionline.com/article/mx-meeting-new-compliance-challenges.

Porter, M. and Teisberg, E.(2010). Redefining healthcare:
creating value-based competition on results.
Boston: Harvard Business Press.

Thomas, R. (2005). Marketing health services.
Arlington: Alpha Press.

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