If an uninsured patient "deal surfs" for his or her healthcare needs, going from one discount-offering provider to another, it isn't good for your hospital—let alone the patient's continuity of care.
Deal-surfing situations can be minimized by identifying and targeting a very specific patient demographic. For example, offering a deal on a high-end elective procedure like Botox injections or Lasik eye surgery may prove to be more effective than offering a discount on flu shots.
Your average Botox- or Lasik-seeking patient is more likely to be insured and therefore more likely to become a source of downstream revenue.
If you determine that a daily deal to promote a procedure at your organization is a good strategic decision, it's important to investigate the legality of offering medical services through a social spending site in your state.
The Mayo Clinic social media blog lists these possible legal minefields:
If your legal team decides it's best to steer clear of offering a medical service on a social spending site, you can still use Groupon to your advantage.
Consider a daily deal to the hospital café or gift shop. A discount like that is a way to reach out to a different demographic of consumers and expose them to your patient experience, even if they are not patients.
By proceeding strategically and exercising caution, hospital marketers could reap many benefits by using social spending sites. If your organization's patient experience is superb, it may even turn the deal-surfer into a lifelong patient.