The ASHA Leader - August 11, 2009 - (Page 10)

arketing includes everything you do to attract and retain customers: how you design your practice or your services to meet client needs and preferences, as well as the many ways you communicate with them. Every clinician should be involved in marketing to multiple audiences. The following articles describe how hospital departments market their services to potential patients and to primary-care physicians who are referral sources. School administrators engage in statewide marketing to recruit and retain clinicians. M School clinicians communicate with teachers and administrators to increase awareness of the value of their services. Private-practice clinicians need to market to potential patients as well as to referral sources. Marketing your practice, profession, and credentials involves what you do and know best—communication. It can be as simple as excellent service and goodwill, or it can take the form of advertising or use of new media. These articles can help you build a marketing plan and suggest strategies that have worked for others. And in a recession, there is no better time to market yourself to maintain visibility and market share and emerge stronger as the economy recovers. Communicating with Patients and Providers by Ann W. Kummer 10 ll businesses (including health care organizations and private practices) need to market their services to attract customers, clients, or patients. Marketing is so important that it is usually part of any successful organization’s strategic plan. The effectiveness of marketing designed to develop name recognition and a public perception of quality, value, and trust can determine the organization’s ultimate market share and financial viability. In the Division of Speech Pathology at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, we market our services in many ways. As a result, we are the largest pediatric speech-language pathology program in the country and have a long list of patients waiting for services. From our experience, we suggest several strategies. Marketing to Potential Referral Sources We found the following strategies to be effective in reaching out to referral sources: • Lectures. Offer to speak to physician groups about disorders that they see and we treat. Many physicians do not know about the services we can provide. Certainly, putting a face and personality to your program also helps. • Handouts and brochures. Provide easy-to-read handouts/brochures at lectures and mail them to potential referral sources. These handouts should include important clinical information but also information on how to refer to your program. • Surveys. Send a survey to current and potential referring physicians to demonstrate that you care about serving their needs. From our surveys, for example, we learned that physicians do not want long, detailed reports. We changed our report format and let physicians know we responded to their feedback. • Personal visits. Set up 15-minute meetings with physician practices. Give them brochures and discuss the types of patients that are appropriate to refer. • Letters. Send an annual letter to professionals who are current or potential referral sources. Include a brochure that describes your services and gives guidelines for referrals and a phone number for physicians to call if they have a question, are concerned about a patient, or need patient handouts. • Web site. Include material on your Web site that describes your services and provides information for physicians and families. We find that people are more likely to seek services if they find helpful information on our Web site. • Media coverage. Look for every opportunity to obtain publicity about your program. Although television and newspaper coverage may be hard to get, it is relatively easy to place an article in a physician’s monthly newsletter or on the hospital’s Intranet. August 11, 2009

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The ASHA Leader - August 11, 2009

The ASHA Leader - August 11, 2009
Four Members Elected to Board of Directors
Readers Respond
Congress Begins Health Care Reform Debate
Medicare Private Practice Poses Concerns for Some SLPs
Custom Fit Your Marketing
Personal Music Players
From the President
Convention Preview
2010 Dues Change
Ethics in Private Practice
Missouri SLPs Win on School Retirement Issue
A Deluge of Human Kindness
First Person on the Last Page

The ASHA Leader - August 11, 2009