Until recently, a hospital’s service area was defined almost entirely by the the neighborhood in which its campus was based.
In essence, hospital executives and board members could choose a physical boundary, be it a county line, a large highway or a ring a few miles in diameter around their facility, and declare that to be their home base.
Today, this approach is is hopelessly outdated.
Of course, hospitals will continue to put their immediate, physical community first, as there’s no getting away from that aspect of their mission. But increasingly, hospitals–like every other business–are being drawn into new relationships fostered by social media tools, mobile phones, YouTube, provider rating sites and more. And it’s time that they use those channels to expand their role.
Many hospital leaders seem to see these tools solely as a channel to blast out their corporate message, but they couldn’t be more mistaken. The people on the other end of these communications, folks, are also your patients.
In fact, this is so much the case that you’ll probably end up sinking big bucks into new communication strategies and technologies, even at the risk of putting off that multi-million dollar pavilion you’d planned to build.
The nextHospital leader will find a way to serve the needs of any patient his facility reaches, by implementing the smartest telemedicine, wellness support, education and virtual support groups available. (And no, we’re not talking static reprints of basic family medical guides you can find on WebMD or ADAM.)
If serving your virtual patients properly means developing a completely different health planning process, so be it. In today’s world, it’s your responsibility and there’s no excuse to duck it.
So, folks: Comments? Questions? Complaints? Facts to contribute which undermine or strengthen my thesis? Have at it!