5 Ways Creative Outsourcing Can Reduce Non-Clinical Spend for Health Systems

6/21/2023 Cindy Thomas

5 Ways Creative Outsourcing Can Reduce Non-Clinical Spend for Health Systems

Much like last year, health systems are facing higher labor expenses and lower patient volumes in 2023, according to the National Hospital Flash Report from Kaufman Hall. And as health care providers continue to witness — and experience — a fundamental shift in where patients access care services, they’re actively seeking new ways to cut costs without impacting quality of care.

In my experience, one of the most approachable, fast and flexible paths to reducing non-clinical spend includes outsourcing creative design work. 

Let creative talent flex to your needs 

From waning levels of productivity to rising costs of in-house services, health systems aren’t immune to talent challenges. Ongoing people issues aren’t only expensive but can also impact the patient experience. As with any brand, an emotional connection is a key driver of behavior — and that connection can be solidified through great creative design (or eroded with less-than-relevant imagery). 

By leveraging external creative resources, health providers can effectively manage their marketing and communication needs while minimizing cost to serve. Here are five ways in which creative talent outsourcing can augment current processes without impacting patient care:

1. Cost reduction

Outsourcing creative services can be more cost effective than hiring and maintaining an in-house design team. Health systems can avoid the costs associated with salaries, benefits, training, and infrastructure by finding a trusted external partner to provide creative needs. 

In addition, investing in the right creative tools can be a tall (and expensive) order. Agencies with a proven track record of success and experience know what works and what doesn’t when it comes to prescribing the tools and tech that best match their client’s needs and goals. This helps future-proof an organization’s martech requirements without having to make the usual up-front, expensive capital investments.

2. Specialized expertise

Creative outsourcing allows health systems to tap into the specialized expertise of professionals who are well-versed in marketing, branding, design, content creation, and digital media. These experts bring a depth of knowledge and expertise that may not be available within the health system’s internal resources. 

Why is it important for content production and management agencies to have industry-specific experience? Two words: strategy and efficiency. 

An agency with proven industry experience will have a firm grasp on what’s trending (globally), marketing jargon, industry regulations, caveats, audience preferences, and industry best practices.

3. Flexibility and scalability

Selectively outsourcing creative services provides health systems with the flexibility to scale their marketing and communications efforts up or down as needed on a project-by-project basis. This allows them to align resources with specific initiatives and campaigns. It produces effective results by harnessing continuously updated technology and trends. 

Whether in-house, local, or global (or a combination), when an agency possesses a flexible engagement model, companies have options:

  • The agency builds a solution, implements it, and then hands it off to the client.
  • The agency builds a solution and then operates it on the client’s behalf.
  • Once the solution is built, the agency and client both work within this shared pace.

This level of flexibility is key to customizing a solution that works. Additionally, businesses that fail to scale often do so because they don’t have the ability to pivot quickly in response to a changing market. Don’t compromise growth. A well-fitted agency or creative partner will fill in the talent, technology, and experience gaps your team lacks. Having access to scalable support means revenue can be grown at a faster rate, plain and simple.

4. Time savings

It can also be an overwhelming and costly exercise to upgrade creative expertise quickly or find new talent on short notice. The creative hiring landscape has become far more complex and competitive than it was just a decade ago. 

Partnering with a successful content or creative agency frees you from the time-consuming frustration of scouting for, hiring, and maintaining the right talent. With the right agency, speed-to-market is much less of a concern thanks to a built-in ability to execute complex projects and generate polished deliverables on tight deadlines.

5. Risk mitigation

In recent news, Becker’s Hospital Review reported that NYU Langone Health has issued a lawsuit claiming Northwell Health is “intentionally trying to confuse the public” by using the same shade of purple — as well as similar accent colors and fonts — found in NYU Langone’s marketing and advertising campaigns. 

By outsourcing creative work, health systems can minimize risks associated with creative projects by selecting a partner who can expertly mitigate them. This includes responsibilities such as meeting deadlines, adhering to industry regulations, avoiding copyright infringement, and maintaining brand consistency. 

When an organization hires one expert, they have access to that one expert. But if a health system hires an agency, the talent pool of experts grows exponentially. Agencies are also often held to a higher standard of output, accountability, and tangible ROI that includes competitor knowledge, adhering to industry regulations, and increasing conversion rates.

It takes a trusted creative resource to reduce
non-clinical spend for Tier 2 and Tier 3 projects.

Start thinking creatively to reduce non-clinical spend

Most health care systems have noticed a shift in the way patients want to experience and interact with their providers. Whether strictly transactional or highly immersive, impacting the patient experience with targeted creative design can be challenging for any in-house team. An effective partner will have the infrastructure and bandwidth to bear the burden of patient experience management, allowing clients to focus on their content and communication goals.

Successful collaboration requires clear communication channels and easy progress monitoring. With that, health systems can reduce costs and a multitude of other benefits. Regular performance evaluations and monitoring of key performance indicators (KPIs) can help gauge the effectiveness of the outsourcing relationship and make necessary adjustments.

Today, health systems have so many communication avenues at their disposal, but the more they leverage across their advertising and marketing programs, the greater the challenge becomes for them to scale a consistent and strong brand identity in the marketplace. If you’re looking to establish brand awareness and consistency, it’s likely time to consider partnering with an experienced content and creative services agency.

Cindy Thomas is the Director of Business Development for RRD Healthcare Solutions.

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