Being one of the foundations of the system of health care, New York’s North Shore University Hospital (NSUH) is identified for its 2,700 health specialists, approximately 730 beds facilitated by 10,500 nurses—the biggest in Long Island. With a yearly operating budget amounting to roughly $4 billion, NSUH is the country’s third-largest, secular and non-profit hospital. With an interview with Theresa Howard, assistant for the hospital’s marketing department, she discussed how North Shore University Hospital came to be a competitive health care provider.
Bautista: What was inside NSUH before in terms of marketing?
Howard: NSUH functioned similar to an in-house provider, satisfied with satisfying interior requirements and conversing with the staffs, doctors and patients. They didn’t put forth enough attempt to endorse their hospital, certain with idea of being unwavering. They didn’t even have marketing memorandum that plays when clients or callers calls and when they are put into hold.
Howard: That’s when contenders become present and they discovered that the patients were not opening the doors like in previous years and realized that the revenues started to decline. They never realized this till they understood the consequences. Time changes and man chooses all the best for him. They choose the best hospital that would offer the best services they could.
Bautista: What were the primary steps they did upon seeing the problem?
Howard: They automatically hired me and my partner Christine Malcolm to think strategies that will get back the sympathy of their clients and will boost the image of the hospital. We didn’t do anything new; it’s just that it was new for NSUH. We built a strong strategic program and development through financial models, convincing NSUH that they need to exert effort because NSUH was not doing well in terms of revenues. NSUH has to cut its budget and risk for marketing.
Then after convincing them, we hired Storandt Pann Margolis advertising agency and began to work with marketing planning, doing interviews, and developing the budget for the year 2003. We made advertising campaigns including commercials wit televisions and radios, website and different kinds of strategies to catch attentions. We even proposed to change the name of NSUH. We also conducted our first mass-marketing campaign. . We also redesigned the website for guide consultations for physicians and also for additional ad campaigns. We even include call centers and advertising agents.
Bautista: After such effort you’ve done, what were the results?
Howard: Finally, campaign was launched in October 2003, using the different kind of media. They didn’t used actors in the ads, but instead, put up the actual interview with the doctors, staffs, nurses, researchers with regards to what they does to improve and deliver their quality service. The result after several weeks, there’s an increase of volume in the referral line in the redesigned website. From the fourth top-mind surveys, NSUH went up to 3rd. The have been also an increased of admission to 2-3 percent from the last year’s record. This campaign had also returned profit which they have loss for the last years. They got a profit of $6.5 M, which was truly a big improvement. Revenues increased to 9 percent as a result of an effective marketing.
This has shown the relevance of having marketing plans. With the highly competitive time, we need to create strategic plans in order to establish a stable business. Furthermore, having marketing plan doesn’t just strengthen the stability of a certain company, but instead, also benefits the consumers with regards to good the opportunities they’ll receive upon choosing one.
Michele Howard, vice president for marketing department of NSUH University Medical Center.
http://www.strategichealthcare.com/pubs/shcm/f2_MarketShare_print.php: August 11, 2007