6 Ways for ASCs to Use EMR as a Marketing Tool

Joe MaciesWhen ASCs make the switch from paper records to an electronic medical record system, they gain access to the myriad benefits an electronic system provides to patients, physicians and staff. The most apparent benefits include enhanced patient safety, cost savings, improved compliance and increased efficiency.

In highly competitive healthcare market, it is wise to take steps to increase your ASCs positive exposure. The substantial organization-wide impact of an EMR implementation provides your facility with such an opportunity.

Here are six ways for ASCs to use their EMR as a marketing tool.

1. Better target marketing efforts. An EMR provides an ASC with an abundance of data — data that can be used to better perform detailed case costing and analysis; optimize scheduling of patients, surgeons, rooms, staff, equipment and anesthesia personnel; and benchmarking. It can also be used to help an ASC direct marketing efforts toward prospective patients.

Utilizing demographics information captured in the EMR, you can identify gaps in the types of patients you want to bring to the ASC. For example, this information can help identify opportunities to target patients by age and location. With this information in hand, you can more effectively formulate the marketing message toward these patients or locales.

You can also use the EMR to identify successful outcomes by demographics and use this data — evidence of the high quality care your ASC provides — in marketing collateral.

2. Differentiate your ASC online. More and more patients are "surgery shopping," meaning they are researching options for where to receive surgical care. These patients are visiting provider websites as part of this research. It is wise to draw attention to anything that can positively differentiate your ASC from other providers. The investment in an EMR is a powerful differentiator.

Include a section on your website about the EMR, and if your EMR includes special components such as a patient tracking system, make sure to highlight these features as well.

3. Help recruit new physicians. The investment in an EMR is not just a differentiator for patients; it is a valuable physician recruitment tool. Young physicians accustomed to using electronic records will want to provide services at and invest in an ASC using electronic records rather than relying on paper.

4. Attract patients through the media. The patient community should know that your ASC has invested in EMR technology because they will ultimately reap the benefits it provides; namely, higher-quality, lower-cost care.

An effective way to build this awareness is through issuing a press release about the EMR investment. Send the press release to local media; many newspaper, magazine and television websites provide directions on how to submit news. Make sure to include important details about the system chosen, why it was selected and how its use benefits the community. If possible, include a quote from one of your owners about how the EMR will help the ASC provide better care than when it was using paper records.

Media outlets may have interest in doing a larger story on your investment, so provide contact information of the person at your center responsible for media inquiries.

5. Appeal to new staff. As with recruiting new physicians, your investment in an EMR will attract tech-savvy staff. Prospective staff who rely heavily on technology outside of the office may base part of their decision on where to apply for work on a facility's ability to automate workflow.

Make sure to share information about your ASC's use of an EMR in ads and during interviews, and explain how its use contributes to staff productivity and efficiency.

6. Share physician quality and outcomes data. Physician quality and outcomes data is important to patients who expect to leave a healthcare facility better off than when they entered.

If your EMR captures quality and outcomes data, consider publicizing this information. If you can obtain quality and outcomes data on hospitals in your area, you may be able to publicize comparisons between your ASC's performance and the performance of these hospitals. If local data isn't available, compare your performance to national hospital data.

Placing great statistics and scores on your homepage will help paint a very positive picture of the ASC in the mind of prospective patients, physicians and staff members.

Learn more about AmkaiSolutions.

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Industry Evolution: Where Does the Future of ASC Independence Stand?

6 Statistics on Surgery Center Operating Income & Total Operating Expenses

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