It might seem lke ages ago, but do you remember a time before e-mail? There are likely some of you who can, and some of you who can't.
When I first entered into the healthcare industry, computers were making their way into just about every healthcare setting, but emailing had yet to come. You woud type a MEMORANDUM using a word processing program, print it, place it in an interoffice envelope and write the recipient’s name on the outside of the envelope. You would then place the envelope in an outgoing mail box in your office.
Twice daily the mail would be taken to the mail room and incoming mail would be picked up. Any interoffice envelopes with your name on them would be delivered to your office and your sent memo would be delivered to its recipient. We also used the phone a lot. As you can imagine, communicating a message often took several hours, sometimes days.
But then came e-mail; a time-saving, miracle form of communication. Communications can be carried out in less than a second thanks to e-mail, allowing us to spend more time on other tasks -- reading, planning, organizing, etc. Work environments are constantly evolving to do more with less. E-mail enabled us to communicate quickly with less effort...more with less.
To be honest, I'm awaiting the next breakthrough in communication to occur. The breakthrough that causes us to sit in our rocking chairs on the front porch and say "remember when we had e-mail? Wow. We wasted so much time typing and reading emails."
When e-mail first came about, it’s safe to assume that human nature kicked in and was a bit resistant. But once work environments realized they could do more with less, I'm sure the e-mail bandwagon was one that all work forces joined rather quickly.
A large system where I worked years ago had five people in Planning and Development; a VP, two analysts (one who made great maps), a statistician and a shared assistant. This system now has one person in planning. Another large system where I worked more recently had two people in planning; a Director of Planning and a Planning Consultant. This same system now has one Director of Planning. Everywhere you look in the healthcare industry, you're finding planners and marketers who are attempting to do more with fewer people and less budget money.
A Director of Marketing at a mid-size health system who has the marketing function as well as the strategic planning function was lamenting that some systems have employees solely devoted to social media where she struggles to keep up. She has one analyst in addition to her small marketing staff. I was reading the January/February issue of Spectrum the Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development periodical and came across a great article on “Social Media – The New Marketing Frontier.” Rick W. Smith writes, “Social media oversight is not a part-time job anymore…It’s a full-time gig.” I’ll bet the Director of Marketing I spoke with wishes she had a full-time person. She’s having to do more with less.
As staff and budgets have declined, decision-making volume due to the passage of the Affordable Care Act and CMS regulations have increased. Fortunately, though, health providers do not need to always add staff or purchase expensive information.
Even with reduced budgets and a low number of staff members, your planning practices can be refined, augmenting your ability to reach your primary goal -- providing the highest quality of healthcare to each and every individual at the lowest cost.
At Stratasan, we work with many providers on an interim basis to fill in the gaps. Your healthcare facility must look for ways to maintain a competitive edge. You must start working smarter instead of harder. When hospitals don’t have the staff to generate the annual environmental assessment or strategy pack, or perform the site location for an urgent care center, or a comprehensive physician demand analysis, Stratasan can fill in. We’re here for those times when you need more planning and marketing assistance to help you achieve more with less.
Lee Ann Lambdin is Vice President of Strategic Resources at Stratasan. Lee Ann is responsible for leading the production team, a team of health analysts and GIS specialists who assist customers with marketing and planning intelligence. In addition, Lee Ann is responsible for Stratasan’s expert thinking initiative. Prior to Stratasan Lee Ann held planning leadership roles over the past 20 years in healthcare with systems such as Saint Thomas Health, Brim Healthcare, and Covenant Health.
If you need help improving your marketing strategy, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.