Marketing and the Health Care System

Marketing and the Health Care System

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Health care maintains or improves an individual health by preventing, diagnosing and treating of a disease or injury and other mental and physical impairments. A health care provider can be defined as an institution or an individual that has been given the legal authorization to provide health care services to those in need. These institutions can range from public or private hospitals to children and old people nursing homes. Individual health care providers can be physicians, nurses, psychologists, midwives and social workers. Health care providers are expected to offer every necessary service in terms of treatment, medication and facilities.

Health care providers employ marketing strategies that enable them to communicate their mission, vision and values to the public and therefore attract consumers to their facilities(Radu et al., 2017). Health care consumer market is mostly affected by socio-cultural behavior(Radulescu & Cetina, 2011) and competition from other institutions. People need to be educated on what a health institution or individual can offer, the importance of such services and how effectively the services or offered. The paper focuses on how marketing has influenced the success of UCSF (University of Califonia, San Francisco) medical center in San Francisco.

Direct Impact of Marketing for the UCSF Medical Center

UCSF medical center has been known internationally for innovative and highly specialized health care services. The institution, located in San Francisco, collaborates with one of the top universities to facilitate high level research and education thus advancing in technology and levels of treatment. The institution has recently been ranked among the top ten on the Best Hospitals Honor Roll.

A few years ago, the health institution launched a multimedia advertising campaign that gave to the public the reason why the facility is the place to be for health care needs. The campaign was to air on cable and network television and was also in San Francisco Chronicle. It was also to appear some online sites and commercials to be done on radio as well as on billboards. Judging by the success of the institution, marketing improves operations and performance. Through different marketing strategies, people get to know the institutional benefits, attracting more consumers and therefore increasing competitive advantage and financial benefits(Raju & Lonial, 2002). The health care also attracts highly educated researchers improving technological care within the facility.

UCSF Strategy to Determine the Utilization of its Products and Services

The health center, through its vision 2020, aims at keeping its operations at the highest levels by making its products and services available and accessible, improved care transitions to the patients and through fast transformation of research into treatments. It also aims at fostering deep relationships with other care givers that will give patients flexibility in acquiring whichever services they need. The health provider has outlined three goals that will see it through its strategic plan:

Provide Leading care Programs

The facility aims to continue to offer the best services to consumers. This is to be done by centralizing patient needs through making the care readily available and accessible to all. It plans to take the shortest time in translating research work into treatment as well as ensure the best and latest technological care. It also aims to improve communication and coordination with physicians. Integration with other care homes aims to achieve patient’s positive outcome.

Promote Care System of High Value

The health system will engage with health care partners through a model called accountable care organization. The models aim at coordinating services across all care platforms. This will see reduce costs of services and improved care quality. This will require the workers to be more committed to offering care services, enhance care transitions and to ensure care continuity.

Attain a Culture of Continuous Improvement

Care consumers expect their providers to provide more but with less expenses. UCSF ensures this through reducing redundancy, integrating and expanding the resources they already have and to ensure that all operations are streamlined. They also reduce costs of services while providing quality care. This requires that all individuals within the institution are empowered and trained accordingly to ensure that that pick up the best practices that lead to the best services.

To achieve these goals, participation is necessary from all the stakeholders. The care center has therefore outlined several programs to meet this including: engagement of patient and consumer, engagement of employee, community engagement, modern training, enhancing physician services, post-acute care, research and innovation and putting data systems in place.

Marketing Strategy for UCSF

The health system has recently launched an advertising campaign as its marketing strategy. The campaign focused on the consumer and was aired on cable and network television. It was also put on San Francisco Chronicles, appeared on some online sites and commercials done through radio and billboards. The marketing strategy initially targeted referring doctors and physicians. However, the health care center later realized that the consumer is responsible for their well-being thus did commercials that telling them what they offer and what makes them stand out of other health care providers.

The advertisement showed some of the top medical practitioners from the facility as well areas they have excelled in. Patients and doctors talked about the need for high quality care, patients also commenting on support they get at UCSF. The personal interactions with UCSF staff have also enabled many to learn about the facility. Use of word of mouth has been known to be an impactful marketing strategy(Martin, 2017).

How UCSF Could Shape the Buying Decisions of its Customers

Health care customers are responsible for their healthy living. They make decisions on what care provider to go to depending on their needs and how well they know the facility. They do research about a facility or through referrals from friends. Customers also have diverse needs and while some health facilities specialize on certain care others offer almost every care. To influence customer buying decisions, I would recommend the following three ways:

Understand the consumer needs

It is important for a health care facility to understand what majority of customers need and the frequency of demand. This will enable it to be well equipped and to always be prepared to deal with the situation. The primary goal of any institution is to provide a solution to a problem. It is not just enough to provide everything but rather to have in mind what it mostly needed by majority of the care consumers.

Make information available

Consumers will seek information from various sources once they have a need. It is important to understand where they mostly look for the information and make it available accordingly. Some watch television ads, others search online while others get referrals from friends. Knowing where most information is sought will enable the facility to develop an effective marketing plan to reach many people and increase buying rates as a result. This information should also be easy to understand and should target majority of the people regardless of age.

Provide alternatives

The health care provider should be able to provide alternative services where necessary. These could be in terms of treatment or alternative care providers. This way the consumers will have confidence in visiting the facility knowing that they will not be left on their own at any given time. This is achieved through close collaborations and partnership with other health care givers in order to maximize the consumer satisfaction.


Martin, S. (2017). Word-of-mouth in the health care sector: a literature analysis of the current state of research and future perspectives. International Review on Public and Nonprofit Marketing, 14(1), 35-56. doi:10.1007/s12208-016-0154-y

Radu, G., Solomon, M., Gheorghe, C., Hostiuc, M., Bulescu, I., & Purcarea, V. (2017). The adaptation of health care marketing to the digital era. Journal of medicine and life, 10(1), 44.

Radulescu, V., & Cetina, I. (2011). The impact of health care consumer education on marketing strategies of health services organization. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 15, 388-393.

Raju, P., & Lonial, S. C. (2002). The impact of service quality and marketing on financial performance in the hospital industry: an empirical examination. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 9(6), 335-348.

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