ACCA: Docs can help hospital marketing efforts to increase volume

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CHICAGO—The inclusion of physicians in marketing and outreach to medical professionals and consumers was crucial to increasing volume of Riverside Medical Center’s peripheral vascular program in both primary and secondary markets, according to a poster presentation at the American College of Cardiovascular Administrators (ACCA) annual meeting, March 21 to 23.

Riverside Medical Center in Kankakee, Ill., wanted to grow its peripheral vascular disease (PVD) market share by creating a multidisciplinary Vascular Center of Excellence. In this effort, Roxanne Wicklund, RN, director of cardiac services, and her team, created these objectives:

  • Develop strategies to reach both primary and secondary service areas where there was an opportunity for market share growth.
  • Design and produce materials suitable for education and outreach to primary care physicians, podiatrists and other subspecialty physicians who may encounter PVD patients in their practice, as well as current and potential PVD patients themselves.
  • Increase preference for PVD services at Riverside vs. other local providers of care.

With these objectives in mind, Riverside created branded educational materials for use in all target markets, so that there would be “consistency and clarity” in the PVD message delivered, the study authors wrote. The team developed tools for communication with referring physicians and conducted training programs to teach billing protocols for PVD screening and treatment at Riverside.

To meet their objectives, podiatrists, primary care physicians, interventional cardiologists and vascular surgeons were solicited to actively participate in outreach programs. Riverside also provided continuing medical education and community education on early identification and prevention of PVD, as well as enhanced PVD patient management by bringing all related services, including diabetes education and rehabilitation, into the care continuum. 

As a result of this initiative, PVD diagnostics increased 6 percent and PVD interventions increased 20 percent from calendar year 2010 to 2011, which motivated the hospital to include peripheral vascular in its heart center branding, the Rush-Riverside Center for Heart and Vascular Excellence.

In discussing their outcomes, the study authors wrote, “Primarily, the ongoing engagement of physicians is vital. As we work to align our physicians through various financial models, including them in service line development and the education of primary care physicians and podiatrists is equally essential. Their role in outreach is highly effective and results in appropriate referrals.”