Following the success of Dr. Andrea Simon’s previous blog on how men represent a vast unexploited market in today’s healthcare industry, the medical website FierceHealthcare is currently featuring her follow-up blog, ”Hospital growth: Strategies to reach potential male patients.”
In this second blog, Andrea Simon, Ph.D., principal and founder of Simon Associates Management Consultants (SAMC), examines how to reach men who are not in the healthcare system, who “don’t want to see a doctor unless they are really, really feeling horrible.” Seeking the perspective of doctors directly involved in men’s health, she interviewed physicians who have become “men’s health champions” at Men’s Health University, a successful initiative at INTEGRIS Health in Oklahoma.
Dr. Simon writes, “The first thing these doctors universally agree on is that changing behavior is very difficult. Men who are already in the healthcare system are not the problem. It is the 40 percent who don’t have a doctor, don’t get annual check-ups, and if diagnosed with an illness, don’t stay compliant on a care regimen. The doctors also know that changing behavior can only occur if men are interested in changing.”
So how do you get men engaged?
For INTEGRIS Health, Dr. Simon says, the approach was both simple and yet grounded in the reality of behavioral change. It developed a process for the program, practical protocols and best of all, a dependable way to get men into the system: men free health checks and cancer screenings in a tailgate party environment with food and door prizes, not in a doctor’s office. Plus, it gave men “Man cards” and bestowed points for getting healthy and staying that way.
According to one of the INTEGRIS men’s health champions, “The whole challenge was getting as close to a 1:1 as possible. Men had to know why something like high blood pressure directly affects them. They needed simple messages about their health.”
The evidence is clear that indeed, men can be engaged about their health, and can be coaxed into the healthcare system. Dr. Simon therefore urges physicians who would like to expand their practices, or who are part of a hospital system, to ask themselves if men’s health would be right for them and their institutions…and more importantly, right for the men in their communities.
To read Dr. Simon’s article in its entirety on FierceHealthcare, click here.
Andrea J. Simon, Ph.D., is a former Marketing, Branding and Culture Change VP at Hurley Medical Center in Flint, Mich. A corporate anthropologist, she also is president and CEO of Simon Associates Management Consultants.