When it comes to marketing and selling to healthcare providers, long-term care facilities are unique in their approach to patient care. Unlike hospitals, physician groups, and clinics, which primarily focus on single episodes of acute care, long-term care providers focus on treating chronic conditions over extended periods.
In addition to their unique patient populations, long-term care centers also vastly outnumber hospitals—with 80,000 facilities in the U.S. compared to only 7,000, respectively.
What is a long-term care center?
A long-term care (LTC) center is a post-acute facility that treats patients for extended periods of time. This can include palliative care as well as rehabilitation. These facilities generally serve patients who are elderly or experience complications from treatments and procedures.
Examples of long-term care facilities include assisted living facilities (ALFs), skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), hospices, and home health agencies (HHAs). While ALFs, SNFs, and hospices are facility types, HHAs are agencies that send nurses and other care providers to a patient’s residence for treatment. Additionally, though many of these providers offer long-term acute care, they primarily focus on treatment of chronic illnesses and activities of daily living (ADLs).
Why should you target doctors at long-term care facilities?
Because these clinicians treat the same patients for extended periods of time, they understand the long-term impacts of surgical devices, prescriptions, and other medical devices. This is especially true when treating patients with chronic illnesses.
These physicians could offer valuable insights on the impacts of different care regimens over time, and may even be looking for more effective alternative treatments—giving you the perfect opportunity for new business.
How to target long-term care centers
Approaching a long-term care facility will differ depending on the type of center. Assisted living facilities, for example, offer housing, meals, and support for patients who do not require 24-hour medical supervision. Skilled nursing facilities provide short- or long-term acute care for specific health issues. Hospices primarily offer end-of-life (or palliative) care, and HHAs deliver care providers to a patient’s residence.
The first step in identifying ideal prospects is pinpointing which facilities have a need for your product—and catering your solution to those needs. Clinical and quality scores can indicate where a facility is struggling. Readmission rates, hospital-associated infections, and HCAHPS scores are some of the most common data points of analysis for sales and marketing teams.
Other key indicators of buyer readiness include financial data like net patient revenue, departmental expenditures, and payer reimbursements. Secondary diagnoses and comorbidities may be particularly useful insights for pharmaceutical companies and medical device suppliers.
Home health agencies might be particularly good targets for staffing agencies and consulting companies. Staffing shortages have been linked to lower HCAHPS scores for patient communication and responsiveness and, according to Definitive Healthcare data, only 30 percent of HHAs received 3 or more HCAHPS stars in 2018.
How COVID-19 could impact long-term care
Because this virus is so new, there is not much information on the long-term impacts of the COVID-19 virus (coronavirus) on recovered patients. The evidence we do have suggests that survivors of more severe coronavirus cases will face lasting health issues—including up to 30 percent decrease in lung function. This is especially likely for those who developed acute respiratory disease syndrome (ARDS).
ARDS is a severe lung injury that causes fluid to seep into the lungs, making breathing difficult and preventing oxygen from entering the body. As a result, patients who have recovered from ARDS may face lung scarring that impacts quality of life and require long-term treatment and monitoring.
If survivors of severe coronavirus cases continue to show significant decrease in lung function, long-term care providers must prepare for a shift in the treatment of such chronic conditions. This could include medications that treat restricted lung capacity—such as inhalers, anti-scarring drugs, and anti-inflammatory drugs—or physical and occupational therapy.
Some coronavirus patients are also more likely to develop psychological conditions due to their experience, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression. Patients requiring intensive care for medical conditions are often at higher risk for developing mental health issues after recovery, commonly referred to as post-intensive care syndrome (PICS).
Are you looking to expand your market share and improve your marketing and sales success? Watch our on-demand webinar, Selling to Long Term Care Facilities. In this webcast, we cover:
The biggest sales challenges in this complex marketplace
Analyses of trends in the long-term care market
Financial and quality metrics that are most valuable to you