IHAS Inc. is a healthcare service firm that has provided managed care and case management services in the Washington area for 22 years. The firm recently launched a new managed healthcare service, MyCareAdvocate, targeted to self-paying clients on a pay-per-hour basis. In spring, 2010, Mr. Clyde Burke, President of IHAS Inc., approached the Center for Service Excellence at the Robert. H. Smith School of Business to engage an MBA student consulting team in developing an integrative marketing communications plan for MyCareAdvocate.
The team was comprised of Pauline Batiller, Brad Husser, Mai Theravuthi, and Aswani Valiveti, all first year MBA students at the Smith School of Business, supervised by Professor Janet Wagner, Director of the Center for Excellence in Service. The team performed research on the managed healthcare industry, using key word search on databases such as IBIS World, Mintel, and Hoover's, as well as on websites of government agencies such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the U.S. Census Bureau. Results indicated the need for a service that caters to individuals or caregivers with crucial or burdensome healthcare challenges. Changes brought about by the new healthcare reform bill further underscore the timeliness of such a service entering the market.
Preliminary interviews with stakeholders of MyCareAdvocate (physicians, registered nurses, social workers, managed care providers, previous customers of MyCareAdvocate, and employees of IHAS, Inc.) helped identify the target customer as high net-worth individuals who have the willingness to pay for a service that provides case management services, negotiates on behalf of the client with insurance companies and healthcare providers, and forms liaison assignments between the customer and various healthcare service providers, such as physicians, hospitals, medical equipment suppliers, insurance companies, and rehabilitative care services. The team identified vital collaborators, such as medical practitioners (particularly private practitioners), nurses, hospitals, and home health agencies; direct competitors that offer similar services, and indirect competition from health insurance companies, corporate benefits departments, and do-it-yourself websites.
SWOT Analysis revealed the advantage IHAS, Inc. has by virtue of its prior experience in the industry, in launching MyCareAdvocate. In the integrative marketing communication plan, the team provided recommendations pertaining to the communications message, website development, logo and brand management, and design of ad materials. To capture the personal nature of the service, the team recommended a tag line, "Your personal healthcare ally." The team also had recommendations regarding customer relationship management and metrics to tie the strategies adopted to the results obtained in terms of new customer enrollment and revenues.