Step outside your comfort zone: Henry Schein's Scott Jackson on why marketing is crucial for an ASC's success

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The healthcare industry is undergoing tremendous changes and all facets of healthcare may have to adjust to stay competitive.

"The ASC market continues to thrive in a changing healthcare landscape," says Scott Jackson, healthcare services general manager ASCs, Henry Schein Medical. Mr. Jackson has been the leader of Henry Schein's ASC business for the past year. "The challenges they face are real, but they continue to be positioned well because of their focus on obtaining quality outcomes at lower costs."

Although a relatively new field, ASCs now operate in a different healthcare market than years past. Independent physicians are dwindling with more and more hospitals employing physicians. According to the Association of Independent Doctors, 33 percent of U.S. physicians are independent, compared to 57 percent in 2000. Not only are ASCs competing with hospitals, there are currently more ASCs than in years past, creating a more competitive market. From 2006 to 2015, the number of ASCs increased from 4,490 Medicare-certified ASCs to 5,464 Medicare-certified ASCs.

"The surgeon pool is shrinking," Mr. Jackson explains. "ASCs need to look at a marketing strategy for both their patient population and physician community."

Marketing also proves a valuable tool when increasing case volumes. ASCs should not only consider adding cases to existing specialties, they should also look at adding new procedures to the practice to bring in revenue. "With rising costs and declining reimbursements, ASCs can sustain themselves by adding new types of procedures and/or performing new procedures," Mr. Jackson says.

To bring in more cases, ASCs cannot overlook the significance of marketing. In Mr. Jackson's past experience, ASCs often have a minimal marketing budget, if they have one at all. Those ASCs equipped with a marketing strategy often do marketing in-house. "Traditionally marketing is under-funded and in-house," says Mr. Jackson. "It is one of the biggest opportunities for an ASC to expand their procedure base. Marketing was really never as important as it is today."

ASCs without the resources to fund an in-house marketing team can contract with a firm who specializes in web design, search engine optimization and online reputation management to ensure an ASC is on both patients and physicians' radar.

To stay lucrative in the future, Mr. Jackson explains ASCs need to adopt new strategies that were not needed in the past. "ASCs need to migrate outside of their comfort zone to grow their case loads," he says. "If I were running an ASC, I would be interesting in getting out of the traditional box and thinking about how I am going to better market my ASC to the patient and physician."

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