By Christopher Wolfington
Recently I’ve seen a surge in consumers taking more active roles in the healthcare services they purchase. What used to be a strictly patient-to-doctor, and insurance company-to-organization industry, is instead increasingly geared towards business-to-consumer relationships.
The healthcare space is more consumer-driven and prioritized than ever, and public image, AKA branding, is at the forefront.
It wasn’t that long ago that healthcare organizations could simply tell consumers where they should go, what specialists they should see, and expect them to follow along. Yet as patients become more aware of the financial responsibilities and expenses behind their healthcare visits, they also become more conscious of their ability to control their own healthcare experiences.
In this healthcare era of choice, consumers are now choosing their doctor like they choose any other service – with a purpose-oriented focus. They are starting to ask questions about their hospitals like, “What do they stand for?” “Do their values align with my needs?” “Can I really trust them?”
And most of all, “What value am I really getting here?”
This led to a huge increase in competition between healthcare organizations, forcing them to reexamine their strategies. How will they attract more consumers and how will they keep them coming back?
The frequent solution is simply solid branding: What makes them unique? How are their services better? Most of all, how are they going to be memorable and compelling? That’s the message their branding communicates, and it’s being communicated through new and expanded marketing efforts.
While this is a great opportunity for healthcare organizations to establish better consumer relationships and capture a larger share of the market, it’s also opening them up to potential risks.
Marketing for a healthcare organization isn’t typical of other industries – they face special challenges when ensuring their marketing complies with laws and regulations. One of the major issues being addressed here at FinPay is that healthcare organizations already routinely violate CFPB (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau) laws, including the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, the Truth in Lending Act, and the Electronic Funds Transfer Act.
Now these organizations are opening themselves up to even bigger compliance minefields, such as the Stark Law, Lanham Act, more HIPAA regulations, and the Anti-Kickback statute, among others.
Branding makes compliance, and the management strategies that ensure organizations adhere to it, more important than ever.
Christopher Wolfington, Chairman and CEO of FinPay, LLC, is a business leader and entrepreneur with over 29 years of experience in consumer and financial services. Mr. Wolfington is currently living in Philadelphia, PA and continues to use his entrepreneurial talent to identify key opportunities and solutions in high growth markets.