By Adam Hornback, RN, Administrator of North Texas Team Care Surgery Center and Texas Ambulatory Surgery Center Society Board Member
Last year, it was reported that the U.S. ambulatory surgery center (ASC) market’s estimated value was $54 million and that it was expected to have a compound annual growth rate of 5.6% between 2019 and 2027.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, in particular, ASCs played an important role by working with hospitals to provide services, and this has even led to a trend of hospitals acquiring surgery centers.
With the growth comes a challenge, as facilities must find creative ways to market themselves in what’s becoming a crowded space.
First and foremost, ASCs should be taking advantage of social media. There are 4.20 billion social media users in the world, and this is a top way for people to keep up with news, updates and brands. By posting to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and/or LinkedIn, target audiences remain engaged.
Running online ads allows a greater reach of even more potential patients. Be sure to use engaging photos online, such as those that feature your patients’ experiences (with their permission, of course).
A wise way to shine a light on a brand is through community involvement. While the pandemic has made in-person events difficult, many civic groups and associations have met virtually.”
For instance, the Texas Ambulatory Surgery Center Society (TASCS) went from holding happy hours around the state to hosting online townhalls that cover topics such as legislative bills, reporting and accreditation. These happenings can be geared towards your staff, in order to help boost morale, as well as for the public, in order to talk about your center’s procedures and offerings.
Partner with like-minded professionals for referrals, a giveaway or new collaborative event. Volunteer so that your staff has an opportunity to raise your organization’s visibility and promote good causes, like infection control and prevention through vaccinations. Conduct free screenings for the community, which can lead to word-of-mouth advertising.
Patient satisfaction should be a top priority for ASCs and considered a marketing tactic. Keep the patient experience in mind by asking:
- How are patients greeted when they arrive?
- Does the facility feel comfortable and welcoming to them?
- Are patients given ample information, as well as time to ask any questions?
Think about the process from pre-admission to discharge, and consider value-added enhancements. Some ideas from Texas-based centers include holiday recognition events and texting out surveys after visits.
All of this and more will benefit the overall experience, leading to more and more happy and healthy patients.
Sponsorships and sponsored content are both common in the health care world as there are many conferences and publications that cater to this crowd. Magazines and websites often offer advertisers a free article with the purchase of a paid ad. News releases also can be sent to media outlets, and as in-person events return, there are additional ways to get involved.
The most economical idea is to position yourself as a thought leader, and it’s easier than it sounds: Write blog posts on anything from new developments at your surgery center to innovations in offering high-quality, cost-effective care. As long as the blog is consistently updated, it’s a very effective way to share ideas and increase visibility, as seen in blogs from United Surgical Partners International, Surgical Information Systems, UT Health Austin and TASCS.
We’d love to hear more success stories from accredited surgery centers on promoting themselves in these highly competitive times. Please comment on The Joint Commission’s Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn pages on what’s working for you!
Adam Hornback, RN, is Administrator of North Texas Team Care Surgery Center and Texas Ambulatory Surgery Center Society Board Member.