Although the healthcare sector has seen substantial regulatory changes in the last decade, deficiencies in the quality of care still persist. In order to improve the quality of healthcare, it is important to consider the role of quality initiatives in improving patients’ outcomes. Incentives should be implemented to increase patient satisfaction and maintain a consistent level of care.
In light of healthcare reform, policymakers have examined various mechanisms that can be used to improve the quality and efficiency of healthcare. A particular area of interest is quality incentives, which could be offered to providers who deliver medical care, which meets certain quality objectives (Doran et. al., 2012, p. 1). Such incentives are an intrinsic source of motivation and can be used as a tool to influence providers’ behavior by linking their performance to their level of income. As such, providers who offer lower-quality medical services will be paid less than those providers who ensure the highest level of quality possible. The potential benefits of such incentives are substantial. Research suggests that well-designed quality incentives are effective in improving the quality and cost-effectiveness of care (Flodgren et al., 2011).
Quality incentives have already proven to be effective in other sectors of the economy. The majority of employees’ salaries are paid by a pay-for-performance model. This model rewards high-performing individuals and is a part of the strategy to improve a company’s performance by changing employees’ behavior. The same strategy can be applied in the healthcare sector to improve the quality of care.
Quality plays a major part in many, if not all, medical activities and settings. For example, in a hospital setting, higher quality of care means lower mortality rates, better patient outcomes, better patients’ preparedness to self-manage after discharge, etc. In addition, quality incentives may be introduced in a hospital setting to improve patients’ safety. Another area where quality plays a critical role in the management of chronic diseases. Many of such diseases are dependent upon continuous care in order to slow down the progression of the disease. Quality incentives can be implemented to maintain a consistent level of quality and increase patients’ satisfaction.
Quality incentives in healthcare sectors are tools which can be used to motivate providers and encourage them to perform better. Such incentives can contain financial or other rewards and be applied in various medical settings to improve the quality of medical care.
In order to improve organizational presence in the community, it is important to consider market-driven approach in the planning process. Such approach implies focusing time and marketing resources on a target demographic, which can attract more clients through referrals.
The most difficult challenged faced by the marketers today is finding the right demographic which will help create and advertise products and services specifically tailored for them (Lambin, CHumpitaz, & Schuiling, 2007). Market segmentation is the solution to this problem. It is important to consider market segmentation to help tailor marketing messages to the target demographic and create a better marketing strategy (Day, 1994, p. 37). In the case of a social adult day care center, the target demographic includes the elderly population, or adults aged 65 and older. A referral network is wider and includes caregivers, who offer supervision or assistance services, children and grandchildren of the elderly, family doctors, social workers, and seniors themselves. In order to improve the presence of the center in the community, it is important to target local social services departments, senior centers, family doctors, etc.
Two marketing strategies are proposed to increase the day care center’s presence in the community:
- Distributing free marketing materials such as brochures among social services departments, senior centers, family doctors, etc. Such materials should include relevant information regarding the center, for example, the address and phone, the activities performed at the center, and information regarding programs and costs. The necessary requirements are also to be listed in the materials distributed. The materials should be of high-quality, well-designed and visually appealing. The materials should contain a certain value, for example, provide information on the local activities seniors can participate in, in order to incentivize their distribution.
- Opening the center for visitors and encouraging social workers, doctors and caregivers to visit the center with the elderly. The center can become a place where community events are performed. Such events may include performances, art exhibitions, or celebrations of the major holidays. Local newspapers can be contacted to cover these events and increase the presence of the day care center in the community. At the same time, it will create a positive image for the center and can be framed as a move to give back to a deserving community.
Given the limited budget and the target demographic, conventional marketing strategies, such as advertising, may not be very effective. The most effective strategy is to perform targeted marketing campaigns and focus on giving back to the community. Such strategies, as opening the center for visitors along with the distribution of informative marketing materials can increase the company’s presence.
Day, G. (1994). The Capabilities of Market-Driven Organizations. Journal of Marketing, 58(4), 37-52. Web.
Doran, t., Kontopantelis, E., Valderas, J., Campbell, S., Roland, M., Salisbury, C., & Reeves, D. (2011). Effect of financial incentives on incentivised and non-incentivised clinical activities: longitudinal analysis of data from the UK Quality and Outcomes Framework. BMJ, 342, 1-12. Web.
Flogren, G., Eccles, M., Shepperd, S., Scott, A., Parmelli, E., & Beyer, F. (2011). An overview of reviews evaluating the effectiveness of financial incentives in changing healthcare professional behaviours and patient outcomes. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 6(7), 1-83. Web.
Lambin, J., Chumpitaz, R., & Schuiling, I. (2007). Market-Driven Management: Strategic and Operational Marketing. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.