In 2013, Boston Medical Center (BMC) began a five-year strategy to recruit general internal medicine and family medicine providers for three reasons: 1) exceedingly long wait times throughout Boston for first-time appointments, 2) primary care patients feed specialty care, and 3) more covered lives were needed as new payment models entered the marketplace. An increase in providers would lead to more appointment availability—creating an opportunity to actively market these appointments to consumers. This required an innovative approach because of BMC’s unique patient population: 50 percent earn less than $22,000 per year; 80 percent are on Medicare or Medicaid; 31 percent do not speak English as a first language; and there is a 50 percent no-show rate for first-time primary care appointments. Still, the hospital was able to successfully attract more than 2,000 new patients in one year.The Marketing CampaignAs primary care providers (PCP) were being hired, significant research was conducted to understand consumer perceptions of BMC, their openness to switching PCPs, how they find PCPs, and what is most important to them in a PCP. Based on the research, the “Stronger Together” campaign launched in December 2014.A combination of print, transit ads, digital, and search engine marketing (SEM) has been used, with the bulk of the marketing and advertising spend on digital and SEM—these tactics also had the strongest call-to-action. During the first 12 months of the campaign, 3,145 new primary care patients came to BMC, the cost-per-acquisition was $343, and the return on investment was $2.1 million. Stronger TogetherIn a recent issue of SHSMD’s Spectrum newsletter, Erica Neufeld, director of marketing at BMC, discusses how her organization increased primary care visits, generating millions of dollars in downstream revenue.
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