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As the healthcare industry moves into year 5 of the Affordable Care Act, hospitals are buying up other hospitals and care providers at a fast pace. Since the law passed in 2010, consolidation peaked in 2012, dipped in 2013 and surged back up last year. The Camden Group predicts that “consolidation will continue at a strong pace and spread” this year.

Competition for customers is increasing too. To keep current patients and attract new ones, physician practices, home healthcare providers, and nursing homes need to build trust with families and patients. Monigle, a marketer that specializes in healthcare, found that the top qualities people want from a healthcare system include honesty, caring, accessibility, compassion and friendliness.

As big health systems gobble up smaller ones, the challenge is to preserve trust that is already in place. The LHC Group found a way to grow through acquisition and maintain the brands of the acquired companies.

LHC Group is a post-acute care provider, which means they take over a person’s care when he leaves the hospital but still needs regular care. The company’s services include home health, hospice care and long-term care hospitals designed for patients with serious medical problems. The company has 10,000 employees in 29 states and partners with 60 hospitals and health systems.

As the LHC Group has grown, they have not changed the brands of the companies they have acquired. The problem was that every company was executing its own marketing campaign.

There was no centralized platform that allowed the LHC team to manage the promotional materials in one spot. The United Mail team helped LHC solve this problem with a digital storefront (also know as web-to-print).

The United Mail team imported all the different logos, forms, documents, mailers, and recruiting pieces into the system. United Mail President Chase Kirkwood explained how this changed the workflow for LHC employees all around the company. He used the example of a recruiter in Denver who needed to produce a flier for a job opening.

“Once that recruiter logged into the system, she was only presented with the brands she managed,” he said. “Once she had the piece ready, she could upload the distribution list and hit print. Then, we took care of the printing as well.”

The new system allowed the LHC Group to create, manage and track all their marketing documents in one place. Kirkwood said that the digital storefront allowed LHC to standardize the marketing message across all the brands and control the cost center as well.

“With this system, the LHC team was able to lock all of this down, and manage the overall spend and content in one place,” he said.

The centralized system allowed LHC to receive the benefits of scaling up to be a larger company, while still preserving the brand equity and consumer trust that the individual companies had already established.

By: Veronica Combs