The 4 P's of Marketing
In the world of healthcare, patients are a practice, hospital, pharmacy, or other medical organization's consumer. When comparing the differences between a consumer and a patient, it's clear that they aren't the same when looking at both parties under a microscope. However, from a high-level perspective, they are almost identical. When marketing a company, professionals focus heavily on E. Jerome McCarthy's 4 P's of Marketing adaptation of Neil Borden's Marketing Mix; Product, Price, Place, Promotion. These four elements of marketing are the ingredients that, when combined, are used to capture and promote a brand, product or service's unique selling points. For this piece, we will focus on the most delicate P of the Marketing Mix - Pricing.
Patient Engagement and Pricing
Nothing captures a consumer or patient's attention more than cost. As healthcare continues to steadily cost more over the years, patient's face egregious out-of-pocket costs. This forces patients to hedge their bets and pay a lower average in monthly premiums and risk greater out-of-pocket expense if they get sick or hurt.
From a doctor or healthcare organization's perspective, this thirst for pricing information presents an advantage and a clear way to increase patient engagement. Healthcare isn't as malleable as corporate America when it comes to pricing due to government policies and rules put in place but doctors can have discussions about costs with their patients to increase their price transparency. These discussions can be in person or through other marketing means such as video, email, brochures, or blog posts over topics that are as simple as education on procedures or services-of-interest. Engaging the consumer and navigating them through the entire healthcare process through innovative marketing means is the best way to increase your patient engagement pricing transparency.
Pricing can also be presented in several different ways that make it easier for patients to understand exactly what they receive. Healthcare providers can offer bundled pricing, pricing estimators, or negotiating pricing to differentiate themselves from their competitors and offer competitive pricing.
Although there are very specific differences between corporate and healthcare industries in the United States, many of the strategies can be approached the same. Offering competitive pricing is an important facet of your healthcare organization and can really differentiate you from your customer and have a huge effect on your patient engagement.