Preparing for the U.S. Consumer

| September 3, 2010

Are you an international healthcare facility that is interested in attracting U.S. healthcare consumers? If so, you’ll have to do a lot more than just get JCI (Joint Commission International) certification.  You are going to have to PREPARE you facility for the most demanding and difficult global consumers.

STEP 1: Identify Your Product

If you think you can offer all your services to all of the U.S., you need to stop right here.  Not only is this not possible, it’s entirely cost prohibitive.  Take some time to consider what your specific centers of excellence are. What is it that differentiates you from not only your local competition but US and global competition?

From this short list, start with one, or two at the most, product(s) that you can enter the U.S. market with.  Optimally, I recommend you enter the U.S. market with a service not currently offered in the U.S. This removed the singled greatest barrier, convincing the consumer to leave the friendly confines of the U.S.

STEP 2: Identify Your Consumer

The U.S. is a complex amalgam, perhaps the most diverse consumer community on the planet.  To market to the entire country is simply cost prohibitive and highly inefficient.  Now that you’ve selected a very narrow product suite, perform some consumer research to clearly identify your target market.

Before even considering a marketing plan, you need to very clearly understand your consumer age, race, gender, geography, etc.  This degree of precision will drive a highly focused, laser-like, marketing strategy that will be both affordable and effective.

STEP 3: Prepare Your Facility

Preparing your facility will require three distinct foci:

1)      Prepare your facility to provide services to the demanding U.S. consumer. This will include language considerations, food preparations, facility and room aesthetics, etc.  Keep in mind the extremely high standards of the U.S. consumer and exceed them.

2)      Prepare your facility for the referring U.S. physician. The consumers’ primary doctor is going to have to feel comfortable not only sending the patient to your facility but also that their patient is being treated well while in your care.  Consider how you will communicate with the referring physician, how will you exchange (electronically) your medical records between you and the U.S. doctors, etc.  There is significant process that will need to be developed to be successful in this area.

3)      Prepare your facility for the insurance providers. JCI certification is a good start. However, more work is required to ensure maximum patient reimbursement. Unique to the U.S., the insurance systems is highly regulated and designed for minimal payout.  This translates to an overwhelming degree of formalized process that will need to be understood and implemented.

Only after you’ve successfully completed the above steps are you ready to continue to the next stage, PRIORITIZE your efforts. This will be the subject of an upcoming post.

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Category: Marketing/Branding Strategy

About Marc LeShay: I am a strategic consultant helping people find clarity in chaos View author profile.

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