Surgicalists are integrated and active members of their teams, dedicated to the hospitals and communities they serve. But the benefits of implementing a surgicalist program far exceed clinical staffing solutions. Strategically designed surgicalist programs enable healthcare marketers to promote distinguishable offerings and position their brands as hospitals of choice for targeted audiences.
Surgicalist programs—or teams of surgeons that deliver hospital-based care during scheduled shifts—deliver service-line growth and increased access to care. Hospitals engage surgicalist program partners to recruit and build teams specifically suited to their business objectives and the unique needs of the communities they serve. With this growth of operational capabilities comes an opportunity to reintroduce the hospital brand, grow awareness and boost patient engagement goals as defined by the marketing strategy.
Service Lines, Capabilities & Branding
"As you structure your new program, think strategically about marketing," says Cathy McDowell, BSN, MBA, Chief Operating Officer for Synergy Health Partners. "Be sure to tap the expertise of your program partner early in the process to seize positioning opportunities and identify gaps in service that may otherwise result in case leakage. Evaluate surgical services in the context of community needs."
Not only can strategic implementations of surgicalist programs provide opportunities to market facilities based on exceptional providers, but your hospital can be positioned as an exclusive center of excellence for specialty care.
For example, do you treat a high volume of hip fractures? Does your hospital serve a community with a high percentage of geriatric residents? In this instance, a new surgicalist team could enable your hospital to achieve Fragility Fracture Certification. New accreditations pave the way for new programs, expanded services and give hospital marketers new value propositions to effectively differentiate their brands.
"Marketers must work in tandem with clinical leadership to fully realize the promotional advantages of a surgicalist program," adds McDowell. "At the outset, they must ask what types of patients the hospital may be missing when it comes to both clinical care and messaging."
Call-to-Action by Reintroduction
Your hospital brand stands as a promise to your community, patients and staff. It is your reputation and your identity. The launch of a new or renewed surgicalist program can be an ideal time to reintroduce your brand to key audiences.
Your new surgical team members serve as brand ambassadors simply by providing exceptional patient care. Outside of the clinical setting, surgicalists should be tapped to meet, educate and connect with the patient populations they serve. Community outreach like speaking engagements at local Chambers of Commerce, recreation centers, and libraries position surgeons as thought leaders, foster trust, build brand awareness and subsequently grow audience reach for hospitals.
The kickoff of a new program is often the ideal time to launch or relaunch a comprehensive capabilities marketing campaign. This provides an opportunity to reacquaint the market with your services with measurable marketing tactics and targeted channels. And with a new surgicalist program, campaign messaging can remind your audiences of your features and benefits while spotlighting growth and new offerings.
The launch of a new surgicalist program often yields public relations opportunities as well. Timely story pitches might focus on facility growth, increased access to regional care, or the personal and professional stories of your providers themselves.
By telling the story of your team–the joint efforts of your staff and outsourced providers alike–you're essentially communicating your hospital's ability to offer optimal patient access and services. When you build a team by focusing on the community needs and market share, you can realize bottom-line benefits by driving volume and reducing out-migration. When service-line growth is the result of a community-focused surgicalist program, marketers are presented with genuine solutions that patients need to know about. After telling your hospital surgical services story and raising awareness, hospital marketers have a clear call-to-action and conversion to measure: utilization of new or expanded service lines.