The UK Healthcare sector is changing significantly
The UK Healthcare sector is changing significantly, with patient expectations always on the increase and mounting financial and demand pressures on the NHS.
Competition in the private market also continues to intensify, but then so do the number of opportunities out there.
There are undoubtedly more and more opportunities arising all of the time for healthcare providers, big and small, but you certainly have to work smart and fight hard to take advantage.
I'm not sure what the answer is for the NHS, but, with my company being a private healthcare provider of NHS services, I can say that without some transformation to meet the demands of the nation, an increasing ageing population, childhood and adult obesity and those growing patient expectations, it will continue to struggle in its present format.
This inadvertently creates healthcare opportunities for the rest of us.
So how do we take advantage? Assuming the quality and delivery of our services is always exemplary, what can push us ahead of the competition?
As a healthcare professional myself and having built up a successful healthcare company, Central Health, providing multidisciplinary services to the public, private and corporate sectors, I consider branding and marketing as the key to business growth.
The look and feel of your brand is crucial so it's perceived in the right manner, and strikes a real chord with your desired audience.
Your marketing messaging needs to be strong, decisive and constant. It needs to exactly get across what you have to offer, and it needs to be delivered via the correct channels.
Our multi-media modern world allows us to utilise so many different marketing channels, so choose the correct combination (perhaps through trial and error!), target the right people, say the right things and you're stealing a march on the competition.
Of course, in our market people will also come looking for us. So as well as spending time and budget on targeting potential clients, make sure your business can be easily found - SEO work and building profile through PR and social media is important here. And remember, when they do find you, they need to like what they see!
None of this is easy I know. I’ve been involved for some years in an ever changing online consumer environment, and finding the right marketing platforms and delivering the right messages, at the right times takes lots of hard work.
‘Word of mouth’ probably is and always will be the number one when we think about how we want people to come through our doors, but that's all about scalability and how fast you want to grow. Word of mouth will only ever get you so far and it takes time, lots and lots of time, to build your reputation. So exploring all marketing channels and utilising them correctly really does accelerate things.
Kevin Huffington - Clinical Director, Physiotherapist and Leading Back Specialist at Central Health Network