The 2.0 Healthcare Marketing Culture

Determining your Medical Practice-Niche Focus

By: Dr. David Edward Marcinko; MBA, CMP™




It is believed that small to medium sized independent medical practices will have limited appeal to patients and buyers of medical services in the nascent Healthcare 2.0 future. Here’s why?

Healthcare 2.0 Defined

According to Matthew Holt, and other sources, Healthcare 2.0 may be defined as:

 “a rapidly developing and powerful new business approach in the health care industry that uses the Web to collect, refine and share information. It is transforming how patients, professionals, and organizations interact with each other and the larger health system. The foundation of healthcare 2.0 is information exchange plus technology. It employs user-generated content, social networks and decision support tools to address the problems of inaccessible, fragmentary or unusable health care information. Healthcare 2.0 connects users to new kinds of information, fundamentally changing the consumer experience (e.g., buying insurance or deciding on/managing treatment), clinical decision-making (e.g., risk identification or use of best practices) and business processes (e.g., supply-chain management or business analytics)”.

Marketing and Advertising

Thus, the marketing and advertising of medical services through traditional channels [patient word-of-mouth, physician referrals, newspapers and magazines, insurance handbooks, internet, etc] is diminishing and will be soon gone forever. In its place, as a surviving healthcare 2.0 medical-executive, you must philosophically decide to become either a discount, service or value provider, and then aggressively pursue this cultural strategy in your medical practice, clinic or healthcare organization. And, as we see it, there will be three types of cultures to investigate:

1. The Service Provider

A medical provider committed to a service philosophy must be willing to do whatever it takes to satisfy the patient.  For example, this may mean providing weekend, weeknight, or holiday office hours, instead of a routine 9-5 schedule. House calls, hospital visits, prison calls and nursing home rounds would be included in this operational model.  Children, elderly patients or those with mental, physical or chemically induced challenges are all fertile niches of a core service philosophy. Managed care contracts are eschewed, as concierge practices exemplify this culture.   

2. The Discount Provider

A discount provider is one who has made a conscious effort to practice low cost, but high volume medicine.  For example, discount providers must depend on economics of scale to purchase bulk supplies, since this model is ideal for multi-doctor practices.  Otherwise, several practitioners must establish a network, or synergy, to create a virtual organization to do so. In this manner, malpractice insurance, major equipment and other recurring purchases can be negotiated for the best price.  Another major commitment must be made to computerized office automation devices, eMRs, RHOs, etc. By necessity, such as offices are small, neatly but sparsely furnished, with functional and utilitarian assets.  Most all managed care contracts just be aggressively sought since patient flow and volume is the key to success in this organizational type.

3. The Value-Added Provider

A value-added medical provider is committed to practicing at the highest and riskiest levels of medical and surgical care and has the credentials and personality to do so.  Value differentiation is based on such factors as; healthcare 2.0 fluency, board certification, hospital privileges, subspecialty identification or other unique attributes such as fluency in a second language or acceptance into an ethnocentric locale. This brand identification must be enunciated in your marketing activities, and genre, as you answer the question: What can I offer that no one else can?  


One sound marketing approach for the future of Healthcare 2.0 is to rely on a leader in the hospital, medical clinic and healthcare administration publication industry. 

For example, this complimentary Executive-Post forum and our subscription companion 2-volume 24 chapter premium quarterly guide, is relevant to the entire fluctuating healthcare space and can be a valuable navigation tool in these troubling economic times. It will help you survive in the era of Healthcare 2.0

Disclaimer: I am the Editor-in-Chief of: Healthcare Organizations: [Journal of Financial Management Strategies].


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One Response

  1. Dr. Marcinko,

    You are absolutely, right on target. Although, I believe a small practice can share from each venue and survive quite nicely.

    Gregory T. Amarantos, DPM, FACFAS
    Cell 847-207-5678
    Office 773-334-2299


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