Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Marketing a physician practice: Who's responsibility is it?

The responsibility of marketing a physician's private practice usually falls on one of two people (if anybody): The physician or the practice manager.

With all these health reform changes, some people speculate that we'll see a shift away from private practice physicians to physicians employed by institutions. Physicians of the future will rely on their new hospital employers or other partners for administrative support such as marketing.

That's just as well for the physicians, because they and their practice managers really weren't doing much marketing anyway, let's face it. They rely mostly on referrals, taking over retired physicians' practices and phone directory ads. Besides, physicians really should focus their time on what they know: Taking care of people!

However, this presents an additional burden on hospitals. They will be expected to grow not only their own patient base, but also that of their newly-employed physicians. In doing so, they'll probably create more overhead cost.

Perhaps this is the way it really should be. Physicians practice medicine and their administrative partners (hospitals, etc.) do the marketing. It seems like a more efficient allocation of resources. Hospitals are used to creating fancy marketing campaigns and are on the cutting edge of new marketing techniques (even using social media for marketing). They have entire marketing departments with vast experience and knowledge. So just maybe, we'll see more effective marketing and growth of physician practices if they take over.

What do you think? Who should be responsible for marketing a physician practice now or in the future? Who can do it better and cheaper?

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