By Susan Saldibar

If you are interested in getting more hospital referrals, I just heard some insider info that could be a game-changer.

It may not be as hard as you think to change the trajectory of their referrals to your community.

But there’s a big “IF” attached. Because you have to do it right.

Last week I talked with Healthcraft Creative Solutions’ Hal Price, Chief Business Development Officer, and Cathy Berry, Chief Marketing Officer. Both have inhabited the world of acute and post-acute care for years.

So they have all this deep data plus marketing savvy that allows them to identify not only which providers hospitals are referring patients to, but what they can’t provide that you can.

The end result is getting your community on the radar of the people who can bring you more business.

But back up a minute. Because to do that you first have to get a perfect match between what departing patients need and what you offer.

And it’s not as simple as dumping a bunch of reasons at the door of discharge planners, waxing on about why you’re better than XYZ community, and seeing if something sticks. It doesn’t work that way. 

You Have to Build a Great Story

Let’s talk about stories. They’re huge. Consumers love them and there’s no getting away from that. I know a few people out there who won’t buy anything unless they know the “story” behind the company.

And if any industry could use better stories, it’s senior living.

As both a marketing agency and a data analytics company, Healthcraft (a Foresight partner) is telling stories that are getting more referrals across the board; from CCRCs to ALs to SNFs.

Hal tells me that their stories are better because they’re supported by what he refers to as a perfect “marriage” between data and creative.

They certainly know their way around data – they’ve been accessing and analyzing it for years. And they’re true insiders, having worked as both a provider and a supplier. It’s given them a huge leg up on other marketers by enabling them to go broader and deeper. Admissions data, competition data, referral source patterns, quality scores; that’s just the beginning.

They put all their data into a pretty amazing data visualization tool.

For example . . .

They interpret the implications of referral source patterns:

  • Who are they bringing in?
  • Who are they sending out?
  • What are the needs of those discharged patients?

They also analyze your competition:

  • What are their quality scores?
  • Are their residents showing up in re-hospitalizations?
  • Where are they providing good services?
  • Where are there performance gaps?

From this (and too much more to list), they create a storyteller benchmark.

Potential Niche Opportunities

The storyteller benchmark identifies a provider’s potential niche opportunities.

What’s great about that is it identifies possible areas for specialization. You may be able to identify an area or two that is natural for you to specialize in that your competition can’t.

“Lots of people see this and realize when they see it, ‘Wow, I didn’t know that this hospital was discharging just cardiac patients. Maybe we’ll form a new clinical plan to attract that patient.’ Healthcraft leverages your own unique data. That helps us discover your story,” Cathy says. 

So they take these areas where you have an advantage, based on their analytics, and create messaging around it that speaks to the audiences you want. Totally data-driven. What the tool does is visualize your position (hopefully advantage) in the marketplace.

All this gets turned into the kind of story that gets into the heads of folks like discharge planners and makes good things happen for their clients.

Speaking of getting inside heads, they shared with me the results of a recent survey of hospital discharge planners.

Almost 100% of discharge planners put on top of the list that they were looking for providers who make their jobs easier!

Part of making their jobs easier is knowing that their referrals are going to the best possible place. So, whether they transition a patient to a CCRC, AL, or SNF, they want those patients to look back at the hospital chain of services and say “I am so glad I came to this hospital. Look how well I was taken care of.”

You could do some of this yourself. But, think about it. Why would you?

Collection of Resources

“No one has the collection of resources so tightly focused as we have,” Hal says. “Am I going to hire 5 people – content, graphics, analytics, etc.? Or try to find one person who can do everything? Nobody can do that.”

But Healthcraft can – from a la carte projects to putting them on a monthly retainer fee. They want to be considered part of your organization and will gladly sit in your meetings and participate as your marketing arm.  

“We are able through our experience, to come back to our clients and say, ‘We feel this is what you’re trying to say; then work on refining; so they avoid a feature dump of things that don’t matter,” Hal says. “We push to find the true benefit, how to create the story that makes it easy to get more referrals.”

What better time to take advantage of this than now?

For more information and to get samples of data visualizations and storytelling benchmarks, please visit their website.