As the PCP shortage worsens, organizations increasingly rely on midlevel providers to meet patient demand and staff alternative primary care sites, which are projected to expand rapidly across the next decade.
However, many patients remain unfamiliar with midlevel clinicians and the services they provide—not surprisingly, given the variation in scope of practice by state and institution. As a result, some patients avoid seeking care from midlevel providers, seeking a physician’s care even for routine and low-acuity services.
We outline ways that progressive institutions are using midlevel marketing to increase their primary care utilization and improve the patient experience.
Use midlevel marketing tactics to drive primary care utilization
While many neuroscience programs have robust direct-to-patient marketing programs for stroke and spine, traditional consumer marketing methods may not have the same return on investment for all subspecialty services, such as epilepsy or Parkinson’s disease. Many of these programs may have existing capacity issues due to high demand and/or a limited number of specialists.
Patients also tend to come from specific demographics, and self-referrals are often less common than for other neuroscience areas, such as spine. Given these characteristics, it is unlikely that expensive, mass marketing techniques will result in large returns for these services.
Determine whether to market subspecialty services
Some programs may not need to market their subspecialty services at all. When deciding whether to market services, programs must consider internal capacity, competition, and profitability. Programs experiencing capacity issues and long wait times may derive little benefit from marketing their subspecialty offerings and may better use resources for other services.
Rightsizing neuroscience subspecialty marketing
In a recent conversation, a member asked us for best practices to market an urgent care center (UCC). Many UCCs do not heavily invest in marketing—41% spend less than $10,000 per year—with newspaper ads, community events, and direct mail the most commonly used media. Those that do invest in marketing, however, have found several ways to effectively promote a UCC to both consumers and physicians.
Effectively marketing UCCs requires addressing consumers’ concerns. In our research, three imperatives to addressing such concerns emerge:
- Educating potential patients
- Using technology to ease scheduling
- Molding marketing efforts around the seasons
Building support for UCCs also requires establishing trust with physicians through activities like developing protocols for referring patients to physicians for follow-up care.
Strategies for successfully marketing urgent care centers