Akron Children’s Hospital, Part A
Northeastern Ohio is a highly competitive health-care market, especially for the care of seriously ill children. With powerhouse health care institutions like the Cleveland Clinic venturing into the children’s care segment, Akron Children’s needed a way to differentiate itself. The research profiled in this case helped develop the positioning of Akron Children’s hospital and its promotional approach that resulted in an increase in its bed-occupancy rate, a key metric in the health care industry.
The Midwestern hospital market is fiercely competitive, especially in Northeast Ohio. Akron Children’s Hospital, which competes ...view middle of the document...
Although innovative, larger, and well regarded, Akron Children’s was being overshadowed by competitors in its core markets. It needed a communications strategy to distinguish itself and to convey its commitment to children and to the highest-quality and most medically advanced care.
Used with permission of Pamela S. Schindler. © 2008.
Business Research Methods, 11e, Cooper/Schindler
Akron Children’s Hospital-Part A
Akron Children’s turned to long-time research and communication partner, Marcus Thomas LLC, for insights and recommendations. As the firm’s vice president and director of research, Jennifer Hirt-Marchand, explained, “Akron Children’s had limited understanding of how parents arrive at the difficult decision of where to take their children when acute care [requiring more than three days of hospitalization] is necessary.” Akron Children’s wanted to overcome this challenge, and, since it faced a difficult market in Cuyahoga County where its competitors were based, it also needed to devise a strategy to expand beyond its Summit County home into Portage, Mahoning, and Medina counties.
Counties in northesastern Ohio
Marcus Thomas was asked to identify consumers’ hospital-choice decision process and to index perceptions associated with hospitals in the market. Initial research revealed that although consumers gave high survey ratings to medical capabilities and care they perceived as high-quality, their decisions in selecting hospitals were often driven more by emotion. To peel down to the emotional core driving these decisions, Marcus Thomas conducted an observation study in the first phase of research. It negotiated permission to shadow physicians, parents, and child patients as they worked through testing, diagnosis, and treatment. Marcus Thomas researchers “were flies on the wall while kids attended checkups, were admitted to the ER, were undergoing surgery, prepping for surgery, and more,” according to Hirt-Marchand. “We spent days in the hospital watching the interactions of patients with physicians, nurses and other staff members.” Researchers listened to, watched, and recorded first-hand physical and emotional reactions and heart-wrenching conversations. Marcus Thomas partner and creative director Joanne Kim shared, “We watched how the doctors talked to the children about their health problems, in kids’ terms, rather than talking just to the parents. We observed how parents were encouraged to stay with their children at the hospital 24/7 and how this philosophy helps children with the healing process. We saw how the staff, facility, food—everything about Akron Children’s—truly focused on kids being kids.” Their analysis resulted in what Marcus Thomas believed could be a compelling brand promise, one that could be owned exclusively by Akron Children’s Business Research Methods, 11e, Cooper/Schindler
Akron Children’s Hospital-Part A
Hospital: Akron Children’s Hospital focuses ALL of the...