Friday, July 3, 2015

All the marketing conferences in the world can’t fix what’s wrong with your home health care company

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Consumers are now driving the trends in home health care. This may seem like common sense but for years providers and insurance companies were the driving forces. With the passing of ACA and consumers becoming savvier regarding health care decisions, we’re seeing a shift.  Several behavior shifts are taking shape and home health companies need to take notice.  Home health companies have treated their prospective clients as dependents; dependent on the agency for information, qualification, and quantification.  Doing so in a health care DIY environment not only insults the intelligence of patients; it’s probably costing you revenue. 
What should you be considering when trying to attract clients? Here’s a hint: It has nothing to do with romancing case managers & hanging around physician offices.  There are four areas currently driving home health trends and most providers are failing in those areas. Keep your conference fees in your pocket, I’m going to give you everything you need to fix your marketing and ensure you have a great “next quarter” right here. If you find something helpful in my words, be kind and forward this article to someone who could benefit from having the same knowledge.
  1. Transparent conversations and operations: Large companies are acquiring smaller agencies at a rapid pace. Prospective clients want honest and open conversations, not about what you offer, but about how what you offer helps them to live healthier and with dignity and as much independence as possible. No matter what you’re interpreting, today’s patients don’t want to be home-bound forever. They also don’t want random staff showing up at every visit just so you can say you’ve covered a shift. Patients also want to know that they’re not going to be treated like a small client in a big organization. Have discussions with your prospective clients regarding how complaints are handled. That’s transparency. Let’s face it, nobody believes you when you say, “We don’t receive any complaints from our clients.” Knowing how an issue is handled helps clients make informed decisions.
  2.  The DIY equation: Patients want to feel that they have control over their health. They want tools that put services at their fingertips. Self-directed care is not just a buzz word. Insurance carriers and providers are embracing the idea that patients just might know what’s best for them. You need to direct your strategies toward this same idea. Simply
    put, listening can be your most valuable strategy for attracting new patients. Wearables are also offering great opportunities for home health. If you’re not developing technology strategies, you’ll probably be left behind.
  3.  Celebrate aging: As the continuum continues to develop ways to address the needs of older adults with multi-chronic conditions, providers of home health services have to find ways of making clients feel that their conditions are not a barrier to vitality. If your services are presented in a way that encourages dependency on services, you’re probably presenting a losing proposition. So often providers will say, “we this” and “we that,” instead of the more encouraging, “you’ll be able to” or “you can still maintain . . .,” Celebrate your clients’ quality living, don’t discourage independence.
  4.  Guru: Stop trying to be the Guru of home health care. You can thank Google for giving this shift of power to patients. According to Accenture (2015), 67% of seniors are now requesting healthcare information on-line. In case you’re keeping count, that’s 2.6 million eligible seniors. Of that population, 66% say their providers don’t offer quality information regarding services on-line. Home health providers are very bad in this area. If you discount franchises, home health providers have the worst content marketing strategies of any industry. Trust me, the information you’re not providing, they’re getting someplace else.

Now you might be saying, “All this is enlightening but now what?”  How can I get my company’s information in front of prospective clients? 
Many of my home health provider clients, on the occasion of our initial meeting, will tell me that they’re trying. They’re visiting case managers, mailing postcards, and knocking on the doors of physicians. To that I say, “You’re not trying; you’re crying!” Those old philosophies don’t work. They can’t work when you’re not working from a strategic point of view or considering the tools being use by your prospects. I give my clients P.M.S.  What is P.M.S.? P.M.S. is a whole system approach to developing a client base, attracting ACO’s and other referral types and generating revenue for the long-term. That said, whatever strategy you use, you have to know that consumers have access to all kinds of information and if you’re not in the places they are, if your organization is anything but organized-if you can’t meet them at the corner of quality of life & accessibility of care, you’re not going to achieve your goal of attracting new clients. It’s that simple and that complicated, folks. 
If you’d like to know what P.M.S. stands for, follow me on
Twitter https://twitter.com/AuthorShereeseM or join the #Homehealthchat, 4th Tuesday of the month (7/28/15). You can also reach out to me regarding your company’s specific challenges at askshereese@gmail.com