For home health agencies operating on thin, and sometimes uncertain, margins, back office technology automating scheduling, billing and tracking should be a slam-dunk. Automation software and services that maximize billings while controlling costs should be an easy sell. That's what my client thought too.
They were wrong. Despite all the right features, potential clients were not warm to their software and services.
In-depth interviews of existing and potential clients revealed an unexpected mismatch of expectations.
Nurses-turned-business owners operate most of the agencies served. Nurses are like Marines; once a nurse, always a nurse. Nurses care more about patient care than profits. In fact, national chains of profit-driven providers were bogeymen: competitors who offended their values.
The firm’s focus on highlighting profits and efficiencies came across as a lack of concern for patient care. Even routing software to minimize travel time between patients was viewed as simply a way to increase the load on each nurse.
This made it difficult to win the trust of nurses spending much of each day fighting faceless bureaucracies to secure appropriate care for their patients.
Repositioning the company to appeal to nurse-owners’ overriding concern for patient care generated a complete reversal. Efficiencies and fiscal controls became benefits rather than threats to patient care. Rather than speaking to owners in terms of increased profits, the improved efficiencies and expanded margins became the means to fund the care patients deserved. When coupled with the firm’s paperwork-reducing mobile application, even routing nurses to see more patients was welcomed as an opportunity to spend more time with patients.
With new positioning, the same product with the same math became a hit. The company grew rapidly to become a highly-respected market leader seen by customer agencies as a true partner.