The international PR firm Ogilvy has just released a study prescribing a shift in healthcare marketing from the exploitation of clinical breakthroughs to something Ogilvy calls "sustainability." They're not talking about the sort of sustainability we in healthcare usually mean, such as the sustainability of a health information exchange's business model. Instead, they're suggesting that we start selling green.
Companies with strong environmental competencies will rule the market in the coming years, say the investigators, Jeff Chertack and Monique da Silva. In an op-ed by Chertack, he says that "[the new] value will be delivered by new healthcare products and delivery systems that help society adapt to and thrive in changing climate and disease patterns."
CarePrecise Technology made a move in the past year toward eliminating a large part of its carbon footprint by shifting even our largest file deliveries from physical (DVD disks) to virtual. All new product sales are now 100% virtual, and as subscribers renew, their deliveries will be virtual as well. Not only has the shift reduced fuel and materials consumption, but products are now delivered in less than half the time. In a business where the freshness of data is crucial, every hour counts. CarePrecise's NPI directory unit, NPIdentify, has produced state NPI directories in electronic form only since 2007.
CarePrecise's data center is a shared environment, utilizing hyper-efficient cloud computing resources. Except for certain mission-critical operations performed on in-building platforms, all front-end operations and many back-office computing tasks have been moved to the cloud, dramatically reducing office space utilization and fuel consumption.
Whether the healthcare industry in specific, and the broader business community in general, will effectively turn environmental competencies into profits is still an open question. Certainly, entities like hospitals make huge impacts and consume enormous resources (think about all those disposables and all those sheets washed after 30 minutes of use, pillows, trays and pitchers discarded after each patient...), and spectacular improvements could be made. Vendors who help these organizations green up are offering a new way to compete for patients. The competitive advantage offered by corporate carbon consciousness could be tomorrow's marketing edge for providers and their vendors.