The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. Now what? After the November election, Congress will start the process of drying the ink on the health care reform legislation and work toward implementing its changes.
The new law introduces a whole set of new jargon and acronyms to an industry already saturated with them: ACOs, global payments, fee-for-service, etc. To the average health care consumer, these words and phrases have fuzzy meaning, if any at all.
That creates a big opportunity for hospitals to be educational leaders as the health law implements, using online tools and content marketing to walk patients through the changes.
Why should hospitals get involved?There’s remarkably little information out there to explain ACOs and how they should work. In fact, most blogs, articles and other reports link to this piece by Kaiser Health News, and it was posted almost a year ago.
Hospitals don’t need to take a partisan stance on the law – and they shouldn’t – to be seen as an authority. An ACO creates a new system for managing a patient’s care. The hospitals and doctor offices are the centers for that change. Whether your hospital is forming an ACO or not (it’s voluntary), it’s helpful to explain exactly what changes patients should expect.
Marketing strategies to educate patientsHere are some ideas for using your hospital’s online tools:
- Video: Feature the CEO of your hospital or health care system in a short video (2-3 minutes) that explains the changes. Can’t elaborate on the intricacies of capitated payments in two minutes? Make it a video series, broken down by topics. But make sure your CEO is prepped to be more helpful than this guy, who added very little value to the conversation.
- Blog: Is your CEO camera shy? He could turn to a blog format, and even use his own if he has one, as many hospital administrators do these days.
- Web chats: Plan a Q & A-style web chat and invite questions and concerns. Make sure your marketing department feed questions about key issues that participants fail to raise. Post the transcript on the hospital website, Facebook page and Twitter account as a resource.
What are you planning on doing to explain ACOs to your patients?