Do CT Heart Scans Build Clincal Volume? Yes!

April 9, 2010

A self-paid $99 CT heart scan should break even on imaging, but can drive millions of dollars of CV business into the system.

As a marketer, I love CT heart scans. They are a fabulous call-to-action for your advertising. I have seen many health systems do a fantastic job promoting these in primary care offices and to consumers.

Why isn’t everyone doing it?

I had a head of cardiology at an academic medical center kill the idea because the American College of Cardiology is ambivalent in their endorsement of CT scans- or non-endorsement of scans is more like it. CT scans have radiation, of course. And they will miss many types of heart disease while possibly showing a clean score on calcium.

But nobody is saying not to get one, they are simply warning that the test is an incomplete heart evaluation on its own.

After the above academic doc killed the idea, a local hospital system picked up the idea and ran with it. The competitor’s increase in equivalent procedures went through the roof- as did their marketshare. I wish my client had put their hesitations aside and at least played defense by promoting the heart scan.

If the calcium score reads anything but zero, insurance pays from then on. It is the green light to great paying patient. And most people in their 50’s or older fail to score a zero.

I am an enthusiastic supporter of using a CT heart scan as your advertising call-to-action. Not only for all the reasons above, but also as a defense to keep a competitor from taking the business from you.



Can Product Placement Build Patient Volumes?

April 8, 2010

The season ending Grey’s Anatomy slipped in two mentions of the Cleveland Clinic and once mentioned a doctor by name… did that turn into business at the hospital? The answer is a definite maybe.

Because you can’t measure it, product placement is still relatively cheap. I investigated that same Grey’s Anatomy opportunity for a large academic medical center client and they were only asking $15,000 at the time.

Here’s what we know: for younger audiences :30 second TV spots are over… newspapers are over… magazine ads are mostly overand the two most important words on a billboard are “next exit”. So what is left?

Product placement is one of the beneficiaries of a shift in media dollars (along with digital). Even music videos are now packed with dozens of product placements. But what has worked to get a message teens and twenty-somethings will not be effective in the older healthcare demographic target group.

Who is our demographic group: generally speaking (of course excluding OB maternity and pediatric messages) our targets are 50+ and still not downloading and TiVo’ing everything. They still watch the commercials on TV, read the paper, and subscribe to the same magazines.

Product Placement may still be a good idea in some cases:

  • If you are trying to build a regional or national reputation for a clinical program
  • Whatever you do, it only works when you leverage it with tons of PR to mention the placement and make a big deal out of it.
  • Usually your best bet is still the local news- your docs should be the local subject matter experts (do you have an infectious disease doc or a doc that could “play one on TV”? News people always need those interviews)

Product placement is probably not your best option for messaging, but you need to be aware of the possibilities as they continue to evolve.