Who are hospital ads really aimed at?

Marketplace asks an important question–one that’s difficult to answer. I feel that the majority of hospital advertising is ineffective and that much of the annual billion dollar + spend is wasted (mainly because they’re all the same; try hard to find ads that don’t focus on hospital reputation)–but I’d be willing to be proven wrong.

While improved reimbursement rates are good for hospitals, it is important to remember that those additional dollars rarely come from insurance company profits–they come from a patient’s increased premiums, co-pays, deductibles, etc.

Who are hospital ads really aimed at?

Devolution: a path to success for healthcare?

Kevin Kelly on today’s organization and its struggle with outmoded business models:

There is only one way out. The stuck organism must devolve. In order to go from a peak of local success to another higher peak, it must first go downhill. To do that it must reverse itself and for a while become less adapted, less fit, less optimal. It must do business less efficiently, with less perfection, relative to its current niche.

This is a problem. Organizations, like living beings, are hardwired to optimize what they know–to cultivate success, not to throw it away. Companies find devolving unthinkable and impossible. There is simply no allowance in the enterprise for letting go.

A big screw-up

Did you read about 6pm.com’s (a Zappos company) big screw-up last week? Read about it on the company’s blog here.

The short of the long: an error on the website capped all prices for all goods at $50 for a few hours. Customers, as they do, purchased items. 6pm.com (Zappos) realized the mistake and fixed the issue. The company honored all purchases at the mistake price. Zappos lost over a million dollars.

Sure, they’ve used the opportunity to get some attention but that’s completely acceptable. The service capital Zappos has built allows the company to toot its horn as loud as possible without consequence. The story continues to spread…

It’s amazing what being unshakingly, over-the-top service-oriented niceness produces as a business model.

Confirm him!

Paul Levy at Running a Hospital to Senator Scott Brown:

Dear Scott,

I understand the Senate confirmation process in Washington, DC, and how the appointment of individuals gets hung up for a variety of political reasons. I don’t particularly like it, but I understand it.

But I don’t understand how with regard to the appointment of Don Berwick as head of CMS, the Medicare agency, this can be the case, asreported recently in the Boston Globe:

Senator Scott Brown, a Massachusetts Republican, has not decided how he will vote, a spokesman said.

That Don Berwick is an internationally renowned expert in health care delivery is not in doubt. That he is an honest, hard-working, and thoughtful person is also clear to the thousands of people in the health care professions with whom he has worked. That his primary focus has always been on reducing harm and medical errors is likewise the case. He is also interested in reducing costs in the health care delivery system when such costs represent waste and inefficiency.

Scott, the issue here is not whether the recently passed health care bill was right or wrong for the country. I respect your opinion on that matter. But that vote has been taken.

The issue here is whether you want someone who knows enough about the delivery of health care, whose passion is making that safer for patients, to be in charge of the agency that potentially has the largest single impact on that goal.

As a State Senator, you were always incredibly supportive of us at BID~Needham Hospital in our desire to offer safe and efficient health care to your constituents. Please know that Don Berwick and the people working with him at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement taught us how to do that.

Please don’t stand by as his appointment is delayed. Please talk to your colleagues and help Dr. Berwick be confirmed as head of CMS.

With warm personal regards,