Building a corporate establishment is a herculean task as it is intertwined with many pros and cons. The impact of ever-changing competitive world can be considered as huge and role playing on one most essential component, marketing. In the health sector, the area that addresses the medical community and patient service, a more robust framework in terms of planning becomes mandatory for marketing.
This is due to the fact that health sector has enormous tie-ups with medical and science professionals, Information technologists, hospital equipment manufactures and suppliers, diagnostics and pharmacy. In order for a health care firm reach its targeted clients, the requirements of above mentioned specialist branches need to be understood.
A marketing plan refers to solid document that is devised to ensure the accomplishment of particular business objectives through the course of time. Well planned marketing strategy facilitates one to expect, predict, get ready, construct a pathway to follow, build the needful supporting network, secure and gradually enhance the opportunities to succeed (Gandolf and Hirsch 2011). Marketing plan may begin with the research in the area of marketing.
Marketing research is the process of collecting, investigating and interpreting the news about the market focusing on a product or service based work to be kept for market selling by considering the time events like past, present and important customers for the product or service based work.
In addition, marketing research also involves, investigating the key features, spending history, location, and requirements of ones own business’s target market, the industry finally, and the specific competitors they confront (Enterpreneur 2012).
Marketing research in the health sector is focused on healthcare providers beginning from globally renowned academic medical centers, health systems and tertiary care hospitals at he level of local, community and tertiary care, clinics of specialist expertise and practice chambers of physicians that help several market of the country like urban, suburban and rural.
Therefore, it may appear that marketing plan is a very key element for the hospital administration. In detail, hospitals are the complex building categories with multifunctional units such as diagnosing and treating, clinical laboratories, scanning, emergency wards, operating theatres, and also cafeterias, eateries, house keeping and multi-bed system.
There are several activities that determine the fundamental structure of the hospital. These include administrative activities, supply of food items, in patient and out patient systems, bedding, research, teaching, diagnosis and treatment. Marketing plans for a hospital administration are important to establish the services destined for the patients. There are certain issues to be overcome for the betterment of the services.
The hospital is failing to offer reliable services although it has good potential. It is not up to the mark in reaching the targeted outcome as expected. For this purpose, a proposal is critical with an emphasis on needful marketing strategies and addressing the relevant issues. Therefore, the main objective is to provide a standardized framework in terms of marketing plan for the hospital administration.
Firstly, a survey is needed about the category of obstetric & gynecology division-a service oriented one and equipment/ infrastructure as the hospital is currently falling short of relevant basic amenities. To accomplish this, data will be obtained from other hospitals to find out how many suerspeciality doctors and the kind of infrastructure the hospital is lodging. Questionnaire will be conducted in other hospitals to find out the awareness of patients about that services being offered there.
Next, the information on that service facility being provided in newspaper advertisements, health magazines, pharmacy outlets and other agencies will also be sought. This plan will provide the proposed hospital administration clear picture on how the superspeciality division and infrastructure will be made more reachable to the public. In addition, the patient will also be asked to provide a feedback on cost effective services.
Basically, for offering scanning service to pregnant women, equipments like ultrasound scanning machines are essential. Siemens company provides that machine under the trademark, ‘VERSA PRO SLC’. Its color is white and shape is square type. Its other characteristics are that, 1997 make and has a software version ‘VERSION 3.6.00’.It has 3 connectors 2 probes of types convex and endocavitary. It costs nearly $29,000.
Its packaging and labeling is done by Neoscan Medical in Lyon, France (Neoscan Medical Systems 2012). The price plan fixed for the service offered with this product is $ 50 per patient.
The annual amount expected with this equipment oriented service is $180000. This is estimated at the rate of $ 3750 per month that could be expected from the average patient visits of nearly 75 per week. This product is most used for scanning the pregnant women, especially; to detect abnormal growth patterns of the developing baby inside the womb and for associated obstetric defects.
With the inbuilt technology characteristics like monitor, and printing options, it is easy to view the picture of developing baby and it movements, print and save the image. Its weakness is that it is not provided with an upgrade system.
Similarly, digital x ray equipment is another product that is needed for the hospital.UMG/DEL MEDICAL is the leading company to be considered for the product. Its brand name is DEL MEDICAL OTC10. Its color is white and shape of the individual parts is vertical, square and cylindrical types.
Its other characteristics are that, it very much comfortable for patients, easily positioned and used simply, supported with the mounted ceiling tube which is available in automatic (OTC10-A) and manual (OTC10-M) cassette size-sensing models.
Especially, OTC10 has a configuration specialty with 300,000, 400,000 or 600,000 HU x-ray tubes. It has vertical and longitudinal telescope travel range and vertical and horizontal tube rotation range. Its packaging and labeling is one by the UMG/DEL MEDICAL, New York/Chicago, US (“UMG/DEL MEDICAL” 2012).
Its cost is approximately $ 45,000. Its weakness is regarding its weight which is approximately 833 lbs, appears huge to be shipped, may require additional costs. The price plan fixed for the service offered with this product is $ 60 per patient. The annual amount expected with this equipment oriented service is $180000.
This is estimated at the rate of $ 4500 per month that could be expected from the average patient visits of nearly 75 per week.Market Identification: The customers falling under the category of the above mentioned services are mostly pregnant women and those with orthopedic complaints.It was reported that nearly 6 million pregnancies occur annually throughout the United States where live births are 4,058,000 and pregnancy losses are1,995,840 (“American Pregnancy Association” 2012).
They may be found especially at primary heath care centers (PHC’s), small to moderate nursing clinics. Similarly, patients wit orthopedic complaints can also be found at PHC’s and small hospitals. Out of every 4 Americans, more than one has a musculoskeletal condition (“The Burden” 2008).
These patients mostly live in moderate economic conditions but few with poor socioeconomic status. Mostly, their education is of high school standard, basic degree, and they are partly employed. The patient clients can be identified at all regions locally and regionally, at rural areas, cities, suburbs, PHC’s and district hospitals.
In order to identify patient clients, several factors are to be considered. Their location from the hospital may play important role as commuting determines the feasibility of the patient to obtain the service.
Patients need to be identified at remote places through surveys. Next, awareness of the particular hospital service-patient with poor knowledge may be left helpless and could not avail the hospital service on time. They need to be educated regarding the health complaint related service and equipment facility provided by the hospital. Cost efficiency is another factor that plays role in patient selection. For this, service cost informing pamphlets should be distributed.
The size of the total market is 3600 customers. According to a study, global market in diagnostic imaging is anticipated to increase in 2010 $20.7 billion to $26.6 billion by 2016. This is at 4.2% from 2011 to 2016 of compound annual growth rate (CAGR).This could be due to population increase and rising needs of diagnostic imaging associated with uninterrupted changes.
The growing trend is drawing the attention of the players is the blend of various modalities of diagnostic imaging products and nuclear imaging. This combination of imaging modalities such as PET/CT, SPECT/CT, and MRI/PET facilitates the presence of complete range of scanning machines at the same unit(“Diagnostic Imaging Market”2011).
In addition, physicians are preferably demanding the portable diagnostic equipment. To say, in 2010, X-ray have the greatest share percentage of 34%, with ultrasound -21%, CT scan – 19.5%, MRI-18.5%, and nuclear medicine -7%. Unites states has the major share and dominated in 2010 with 36.3%, and Europe with 27.3%, Asia with 27% and rest of world (ROW) (9.4%).(“Diagnostic Imaging Market” 2011).
The factors affecting purchase are Seasons – this may bring forward the right customer at the right time. For diagnostic imaging, season plays role as most of the time the pregnant women and individuals with musckoskeletal complaints throng the hospitals for check up. Next, for diagnostic imaging service there is a great demand for scanning and x-ray equipments. Hence, obsolescence rarely plays role in purchasing.
Every fiscal year, taxes may vary and may be imposed at good percentage for a range of diagnostic imaging equipments. Hence, tax factor interferes while purchases and needs additional financial input from the purchasers. Prices do vary every year and the availability, service –all such related information may be considered through quotations provided by the product selling company.
Therefore, quotation is very important during the purchase and is very determining. Emotional consideration often interferes during purchase. Here, a bias towards a particular brand or decision by a particular staff on the relevant service could retard the progress of purchasing. As such, promotional activities will definitely be concentrated in the diagnostic imaging market to render the service more effective.
Next, in the diagnostic imaging market, the present competitors for the Ultrasound scanning machine under the division of gynecology obstetric urology are of MYLAB 25 of company ESAOTE, LOGIQ 400 MD-General Electric (GE), IU22-Philips etc.Similarly, the present competitors for the x –ray equipment under the division of radiography are of Discovery XR650- GE (“GE Healthcare”2012), FDR D-EVO Suite-
Fujifilm (“Fujifilm” 2012), DigitalDiagnost –Philips (PHILIPS sense and simplicity 2012).
Currently required ultrasound scanning machine of Siemens is easily accommodating in small labs and seems cost effective, but its weakness is it has only three connectors others have four, Philips. No touch screen facility as others have like PHILIPS.
Other machines seem expensive. The x-ray equipment to be provided currently for the hospital is easily accommodating but its weakness is it is heavy in weight, has no DICOM Storage while others have that facility. It seems cost effective while others appear expensive. The approximate cost of Siemens Ultrasound scanning machine is $ 29,000 where as others range from $ 30,000- 1, 44,000. Similarly, the approximate cost of GEL/MEICAL is $ 45,000 whereas other range from $ 47,000 -135,000.
These costs are accurate in terms of all variable and other fixtures and the expenditure incurred here could guarantee good share and profit. In the present context, the proposed equipments are lower which minimizes the burdens in the financial procurement. The cost reduced here could be utilized for marketing strategies like advertisements in health magazines, news papers and other media. This makes people develop awareness and avail the service rapidly.
Hence, the most effective methods for making the service reachable to the target customer in the market is product /service leaflets. The leaflets prepared should be stuck in the hospital departments other than that of Obstetric/ Gyneac and Orthopedics. The other means of distribution is through oral communication led promotion.
Staff members working in the hospitals should rapidly spread the information to the colleagues that the hospital has the good equipment facility. Ambulance vehicles used for the hospital services may carry the relevant information through the giant custom labels/ stickers fixed on the vehicle doors, front and back portions etc.
The medical equipments to be purchased by the hospital administration will be directly shipped to the hospital store rooms and then to the concerned departments. Hence, there is no need for warehousing of products or alternative distribution channel sources.
Next , there is need of developing potential advertising program. This will be accomplished through approaching the commercial ad agencies. The ad agencies will be contacted through the internet based identification and given the contract of advertising program. Similarly, as a part of in-house advertising program, various hospital departments will be chosen and well designed, attractive, easy to read, service informative brochures will be stuck to the departments notice boards.
Media preferences will be chosen based on the fastest information dissemination potential and target audience. They may involve selection of certain health programs in TV channels mostly viewed by the audience. Advertising of the particular service will be made within the permitted time during the program telecasting.
Here, the equipments will be shown and briefly described by the relevant expertise. In News papers, health information columns or medical bulletins will be selected and the advertisement will be given. In the internet, commercial websites like yahoo, Amazon will be chosen for advertisement under health/medical columns. This mode of selection of media may facilitate rapid access to the service by the target customers.
The expenditure incurred for this advertisement project will be $ 2500 for TV channels,$ 1500 for News papers, $1350 for commercial websites, and $1275 for miscellaneous advertising like health magazines and pamphlets, giant custom stickers etc. With this strategy, public relations are anticipated to increase. People could easily become knowledgeable about the proposed business opening which is nothing but the medical equipment facility
being provided at the hospital. The equipment facility will influence the public impression about the hospital which may enable the rendering of more effective services. In addition, public orientation towards the hospital service will develop a kind of priority feeling in the mode of choosing or selecting among other competitive hospitals that offer similar service.
Hence, promotion mix strategy facilitates a kind of service outreach to the customers located far and near.
Further, with regard to the sales forecasting, the census data has revealed that the ultrasound scan machine and x ray equipment have a good sales .Several prestigious hospitals/ medical centers have increasingly relying on the purchase of equipments. For example, in the third quarter, there was a growing demand for the imaging systems of the competitor Philips that resulted in a 7% rise in orders for the healthcare equipment.
The majority of the gain has been contributed by North America with 11 % order increase when compared to rest of world contribution of 2% growth. Philips is anticipated to keep its momentum in the sales growth by 2% to 4% in the market of U.S. imaging systems .The sales growth in Philips was supposed to be due to the overseas customers located outside of Europe and U.S (Freiherr Greg 2010).
Another sales forecast from the desk of Global Industry Analysts describes that for the medical imaging equipment services, by the year 2015, the international market is anticipated to achieve US$11.6 billion. This motivation for the rise in market growth is due to an adjustment to the season of economic recession. Here, older equipment servicing connected to financial effects that interrupted the procurement or purchase of new ones is identified as an important contributing factor.
With this there is increasing attention in US and Europe on equipment refurbishment, repairing or revising the already existing machines to meet the imaging process demand in the market (“Global Medical Imaging” 2011).The current project sales and income for the next quarters is approximately $180,000.This estimate is based on the income to be generated from the patients on monthly basis.
Patients utilize the scanning and x-ray service on regular basis. As such, the current project focused on purchasing the equipment and offering the service is a form of service selling analogous to product selling in the market. Every quarter, the project will ensure a good percentage in the overall hospital shares contributed from other departments and already existing services. For example, service amount obtained for four quarters is $ 250000.
The project service will ensure 72 % for the next quarter which is a huge profit for the hospital. In addition, the service amount will be expected to rise from additional activities when there is outreach program like medical camps, awareness programs etc. Action plan: In order for the hospital administration implement the service with the purchase of imaging equipment and expect good service oriented amount, there is a need of reliable marketing strategy.
Firstly, scheduling and organization of activities need to be carried out base on the priority. Materials like visiting cards, pamphlets, brochures, leaflets available with the hospital staff about the equipment will need to be checked and prepared in enough quantity. Appropriate marketing executives should be employed in numbers 3 -5 depending on the size of the patients they intend to target.
For example, one executive for every 40 patients. Medical professional teams also need to be employed who will supervise the executive’s outcome. The team will then further impart the essential knowledge to the patient regarding the service. Travel-The executives and medical team will be made to travel extensively to identify the target patients.
This stage involves visiting primary health care centers (PHC), nursing homes district medical centers and hospitals. At these centers, a review analysis of medial records will be made to find out the patient information like their age, sex, location, socioeconomic conditions, education, employment, clinical history and present medical complaint. The patients will be approached through telephone or in person depending on their will.
A questionnaire will be conducted to determine their nature of complaints. They will be further asked to tell whether they are satisfied with the service being offered at the hospitals they used to prefer. If they have complaints related to pregnancy, the will be informed about the ultrasound scanning machine facility and its advantages, the hospital is going to provide at a moderate cost.
Similarly, if they have complaints related to musculoskeletal disorders, the patient will be informed about the modern x ray equipment and its advantages. By distributing the pamphlets and brochures, the patients are strongly encouraged to avail the service of the hospital and avoid the consequences of delay that may occur due to medical inattention.
The staff working at these centers will also be informed to refer the patients to the medical imaging facility of the hospital. Customized giant stickers/labels will be stuck at these centers to promote the service. Sample pictures of Ultrasound scan and x –ray images will be printed in huge quantity for distribution at these centers to develop familiarity about the equipment service. Next marketing strategy as per priority is advertisements. Here, prestigious news papers that have good circulation will be selected.
Priority will be given to newspapers that have local reputation in order to reach the target patients quickly. This marketing action plan carried out by the executives and professional medical team will be monitored and followed up by the supervisors. During the first week of every month every month, this strategy will be implemented for overall period of one year.
Next strategy will be advertisements. A dedicated group of three individuals will look at the advertising activity. News papers, commercial ads agencies and TV channels will be approached and given the contract.
Much emphasis will be given to TV programs that telecast health related videos. A specially designed video coverage about the medical imaging technology of the providing hospital will be prepared and made available to the health centers and TV channels (Markets and Markets 2011).
Medical journals/magazines / bulletins that specialize in radiology or diagnostic imaging will be chosen and ad will be given. This ad giving campaign is scheduled for one year as follows. News paper – every circulation, Ad agencies- daily, TV programs-daily, Journals/magazines- every publication. As a part of marketing strategy, awareness day will be conducted at the hospital once in a week.
This will be done not only for in house hospital departments but also for outside people like students, employees, and general public. Therefore, as per the priority, the strategies will be employing of marketing executives and professional medical teams, surveys, visiting primary health care canters/medical centers, educational awareness of patients, distribution of service representative brochures and pamphlets, commercial advertisements and awareness day at the hospital premises (PRWeb 2011).
In spite of all the above mentioned strategies, execution of plans at a definite pace is mandatory that will determine the level of service necessary to meet the demand generated by marketing. Firstly, regular feedbacks will be obtained from the hospital staff involved in the project to evaluate the progress of the work everyday. This will include information on how many surveys have been undertaken and the number of patients identified and contacted.
For example, the staff is anticipated to identify minimum of 50- 60 patients per 10 surveys. From the information obtained, promotional activities will be expedited through the production of brochures, approaching ad agencies and commercial TV channels as per the schedule mentioned before. Purchase enquiries will be sent to the selling parties to submit the quotation on competitive price on the equipment to be purchased within 10 days period.
Information on suitable funding agencies will be sought and applications will be sent for seeking financial assistance, if needed.In the mean time, all preliminary market research will be carried out and the information is kept ready.
Personnel needs in this case may involve employing individuals with diagnostic imaging expertise, allocation of rooms, setting, necessary electric devices and connections, a/c equipment etc.In order to expect complete 50 patients per week and generate the income, specialist doctors involved in the current project will be made to visit outpatient clinics of local hospitals as a collaboration effort.
In other words, this is extensive local tour. However, touring of suburban and rural areas do influences the service outcome. Questionnaires will be conducted and suggestions would be obtained from the patients to determine the service satisfaction. This will help to revise the prices of service, improve or upgrade the existing equipment and modulate the service activity.
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