It's a great shame that healthcare is so modest
It is precisely in times of austerity that it is essential that healthcare institutions are involved in marketing activities. If they aren't then ultimately they will only end up having to cope with new austerity measures. Marketing is not an expense, but a necessary investment.
Marketing goes to the very heart of service provision. A healthcare institution can use marketing activities to clearly communicate what it has to offer. It is a great shame that healthcare in the Netherlands is so modest. Institutions should be far more eager to communicate what they are all about. Most institutions are not aware of the issue. A culture of accountability has not traditionally ruled in our country. Also in financial terms, the figures are meticulously presented but accountability with regard to users, patients and clients often leaves far too much to be desired.
As a result of increasing market forces, patients and clients have ever-greater choice. Institutions that are not aware of this miss out on opportunities. Marketing can bridge the gap. It is not the same as advertising and sales. It does not involve expensive campaigns. It involves the link between supply and users. Let's take the example of a hospital that invests in new equipment that improves the quality of care. This has a positive effect on a patient's appreciation of the institution but the patient needs to know about it. Far too many hospitals keep these investments to themselves.
So as a healthcare institution communicate what you do, for whom you do it and be clear about the added value you can offer. This works at micro-level, in the doctor or treating physician's consultation room. They are still judged too often by their friendliness. They may be highly skilled but are judged by their mood on the day if they do not clearly explain what they are doing and why they are doing it. Effective marketing involves the doctors and other care providers clearly explaining their considerations so that a patient or client knows the area of their expertise and what to expect. This expertise is still far too hidden in the healthcare.
Marketing also plays a major role at macro-level. If healthcare institutions cannot make it clear to politicians or the public what care they provide and how, healthcare will remain an expense that can be cut. Even when it is so important for healthcare to be viewed as an investment in social productivity.