by Bill Champion
Each year, new treatment options hit the market full of promise and optimism. In previous years, these were limited to surgical approaches and new implant options. More recently, biologic treatments have been added to the list. Whether you describe these treatments as biologic, regenerative or reparative medicine, these treatments are causing ongoing debates within musculoskeletal practices nationwide. The debates focus on efficacy and validation, along with personal opinion as to whether these treatment options are something the practice should provide, let alone promote. If you find yourself and your practice struggling with this issue, take comfort knowing nearly all practices are as well.
The marketing and promotion of an orthopedic practice have taken on new dimensions that didn’t exist years ago. Divisional mergers, new ancillary revenue sources and now, biologic treatment options, have changed the view of the practice and its service offerings. With these changes come a greater need for process and governance. Yes, governance with respect to marketing and promoting the practice, its providers and its service offerings. The rate of change and variety in new treatment options will continue to develop and arrive at a faster pace. With this constant transformation, clearly established guidelines as to how the practice will decide and move forward are all the more important.
Similar to the governance processes for adding a new partner or moving a senior doctor to slow down, the practice should have clear paths and processes in place regarding how new treatment options can be offered at the practice and how these are approved for promotion. Not having clear paths and guidelines for new procedures creates significant tension and dramatically impacts the implementation of services that practices eventually promote.
From strictly a marketing perspective, the practice should be communicating and discussing all relevant treatment options, regardless of whether the practice offers or feels comfortable promoting such treatments. What I mean by relevant is the market (patients, referral sources, etc.) is inquiring and consistently searching for answers. If patients are looking and searching for regenerative medicine options in your market, your website should contain content along with a list of doctors who feel comfortable discussing it. What you want to avoid is a patient opting for a competitor simply because your practice and website are not even willing to discuss the treatment as an option.
In summary, start building governance into your marketing efforts. Develop an approach in which providers who want to explore new treatment options have a clear path to offering, and potentially promoting, these options to your market. As long as providers are following the guidelines set within your governance documents, nothing should prohibit any provider from being an attractive consultant to anyone seeking care or advising patients through all the appropriate options.
Disclosure: Champion reports he is president and CEO of Venel.