In his 2006 article “The 5 P’s of Marketing” author Tony Digironimo highlights the question “How can we get new patients to walk through our front door but also keep our existing patients with our limited resources?” (p. 14). He answers his own question with a discussion of the five P’s of marketing. This list of five P’s is important, but in order to focus those efforts appropriately for healthcare, one should consider the five P’s of healthcare marketing which include physicians, patients, payers, public, and politics. Each of these dimensions of a healthcare organization can significantly impact the marketability of that organization. The quality and availability of physicians influences the organization’s ability to provide quality care. Patients are important points; patients tend to be more informed these days than in the past, and that can affect their perception of an organization. The way in which the organization handles payment for services also makes a difference; if an organization is mainly reliant on government funding, it may not be able to offer the same quality of services that an organization that serves patients with better insurance.
The public’s perception of a healthcare organization can also affect its marketability. Healthcare policy brings up the issue of politics and the ways that changing laws and prevailing political views on healthcare can influence an organization’s ability to provide service. In this paper, three different healthcare organizations/systems will be assessed within the framework of the 5 P’s of healthcare marketing. The marketing potential of each of these organizations will be considered. Finally, this paper will offer a prediction for which organization has the most promising marketing potential, given its ‘score’ in that framework.The first organization is Vibra Healthcare, particularly its ‘branch’ in Massachusetts. It is “a private corporation and currently has multiple hospital operations and outpatient locations in eighteen states,” including Massachusetts (Vibra Healthcare, 2016a). The particular location being examined in this assessment is Vibra Hospital of Western Massachusetts (VHWMass), located in Springfield. It does not appear in the Medicare comparison data. In considering Vibra Healthcare in the context of the 5 P’s, Vibra initially looks quite promising in terms of marketing. In terms of physicians, Vibra makes a point of listing the various physicians and experts it employs on its website, emphasizing specialties and special certifications in a wide variety of medical disciplines (Vibra Healthcare, 2016b). It offers services to a wide variety of patient types. In terms of payers, it is not clear what types of insurances the VHWMass takes, though it does note that it will “provide assistance in applying to the Massachusetts Medicaid Program” (Vibra Healthcare, 2016b). A quick review of the Internet reveals no overt scandals, nor does the website offer testimonials, as a means of determining the public’s opinion of the institution. However, both the Vibra website and the VHWMass site offer contact information as well as ‘newsrooms’ on their sites as a way of offering a look at what’s going on in their institutions. In terms of politics, neither Vibra nor VHWMass seem overtly political in their presentations, so that dimension is difficult to judge. However, it seems very well-equipped to meet the needs of a variety of individuals and able to provide quality care, which speaks well to its marketing potential.
CentraCare Health (n.d.) is a “not-for-profit health care system” focused on providing “comprehensive, high-quality care” to communities in central Minnesota. It describes its system as a “collaborative network” of hospitals, nursing homes, senior housing, clinics, and pharmacies (CentraCare Health, n.d.). It also “operates numerous specialty services” that focus on cardiovascular care, cancer, and kidney health (CentraCare Health, n.d.). Through this network the organization is able to offer a wide variety of services. Several of the CentraCare affiliates appear in the Medicare comparison data; the Monticello location is being used for the purposes of this paper. This location is categorized as a critical access hospital and provides emergency care. The Monticello location is able to “receive lab results electronically,” electronically track patients’ records, and using outpatient safe surgery checklist (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services [CMMS], n.d.). The rest of the data reflects both good reviews as well as the fact that the population that they serve is so small that usable sample sizes for some of the Medicare data areas were not significant enough (CMMS, n.d.). In terms of the 5 P’s, CentraCare offers a “Find a Provider” form to help patients locate the appropriate physician or specialist for their needs. It also offers a list of providers who are currently accepting new patients to make it easier for patients to quickly locate a provider. This transparency regarding its providers as well as the way it attempts to connect patients with providers reflects well on CentraCare, both in terms of the physician dimension and the patient dimension. There are also many patient resources available through CentraCare’s website which reflects well on the system.
In terms of payers, CentraCare is a not-for-profit system. It does receive Medicare benefits. Medicare data regarding Medicare spending per beneficiary at the Monticello location is not available; the Minnesota average is listed as .89, which is lower than the national average of .98. Specific data regarding value of care indicates that Monticello is not that different from the national average or national rates. More than Vibra, CentraCare seems much more transparent and focused on patient care, given its presentation on the web and in the Medicare data. CentraCare therefore has more marketing potential than Vibra.
The final organization is Mississippi Baptist Health Systems (MBHS), located in Jackson. The MBHS (n.d.a) is “a Christian-based, non-profit comprehensive medical center” that is “part of a growing network that makes comprehensive health care, health education, health risk assessments and wellness more accessible than ever before.” The Medicare data categorizes it as an acute care hospital that provides emergency services and is a part of the Cardiac Surgery Registry and the Nursing Care Registry. Rates associated with complications and readmissions/death are better than the national average. MBHS itself reports that it “has been ranked as one of America’s 100 Best Hospitals by Healthgrades” and that “the quality of care at Baptist has been ranked among America’s best” (MBHS, n.d.b). In terms of the 5 P’s, MBHS is provides a “Find a Provider” form to help patients locate the appropriate provider. This provides a certain transparency and makes it easy for the patient to locate the appropriate provider. MBHS provides a plethora of patient resources and services via their website, and the Medicare data lists that MBHS lists that it is able to “receive lab results electronically,” electronically track patients’ records, and using both outpatient and inpatient safe surgery checklists. The Medicare data reflects fairly high ratings, with the main location of the system receiving four out of five stars in patient satisfaction which speaks well to MBHS’s success with patients. With regard to payers, in terms of Medicare spending, the MS average is .96, just slightly below the national average. The value of care is listed as being very much the same as national ratings and averages. It is difficult to make any determinations regarding the public. In terms of politics, being a religion/church-affiliated institution might cause some trouble. Otherwise, it has very good marketing potential, especially given that it is not necessarily overt in its religious affiliation.
Based on the evaluations presented here, the MBHS seems to have the most potential. It has clearly has taken steps to acquire quality providers, cultivate patient care and satisfaction, make the best use of the monies it receives from its payers, cultivate a positive public image, and manage potential political troubles. It is actively and in a meaningful way attempting to address the 5 P’s of healthcare marketing which suggests a lot of marketing potential.
- Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. (n.d.). Three CentraCare affiliated hospitals.
Hospital compare. Retrieved from https://www.medicare.gov/hospitalcompare/
- CentraCare Health. (n.d.). About CentraCare Health. Retrieved from
- Digironimo, T. (2006). The Five P’s of Marketing. O&P Business News, 15(17), 14-15.
- Mississippi Baptist Health Systems. (n.d.a). Baptist Medical Center. Retrieved from
- Mississippi Baptist Health Systems. (n.d.b). Blue Cross and Blue Shield information.
- Vibra Healthcare. (2016a). About us. Vibra Healthcare. Retrieved from
- Vibra Healthcare. (2016b). Other services. Vibra Hospital of Western Massachusetts. Retrieved