May 8, 2019
Our guest today is a healthcare evangelist and international healthcare industry expert. Tanya Abreu pioneered the planning of the first network of freestanding breast health centers in the greater Pittsburgh area and the establishment of more than 75 model women’s health education and primary care clinics around the world. As a healthcare marketing innovator, Tanya is also a successful speaker, author and workshop leader.
Tanya began her career in education as a business communications professor in the Graduate School of Industrial Management at Carnegie Mellon University. She went to Russia to teach American English at Moscow State University. While there, Tanya got excited about being able to change a healthcare system with terrifying technology into something more humane. She came back to the U.S. to partner with Magee-Womens Hospital in Pittsburgh, where she took part in the transformation of women’s health through branding and outreach.
The CEO at Magee, Irma Goertzen, believed women feared coming to the hospital in the inner city for a breast image knowing there was a possibility that she might have cancer. Goertzen believed the hospital’s responsibility was to care for women. She spent millions setting up freestanding breast care clinics within the communities where the women lived. The clinics eventually expanded to provide pelvic health and heart disease prevention.
When Tanya left Magee, she started her own company called Spirit of Women. In this role, Tanya worked with C-suite executives to help them reevaluate how they presented healthcare to women. She is now involved in the Lipstick Alliance movement and is the national director of the Women’s Choice Award.
Creating Successful Healthcare Brands for Women
According to Tanya, there are distinct differences between men and women when it comes to healthcare. Men are more action-driven. They want to know what they have and what to do. Women often shun wellness care because it takes them away from their families’ needs. It’s not that women fear the disease, they just don’t want to have it now because they must stop what they are doing.
Women make more than 85 percent of all healthcare decisions for their family. Tanya says for hospitals and health groups to grow its brand with women, they need to capture the “heart” share of women before the money.
The biggest mistakes that healthcare providers make is trying to fix women. Women don’t want to be fixed. They want to be listened to and encouraged. They want to know about the experiences and quality of life other women have had. Taking a grassroots approach to healthcare marketing is paramount. Patient testimonials, community events and social media are more important to women than advertisements and billboards. It’s all about patient and community experience communications.
With 30 years in this industry, Tanya has always believed hospitals that support and encourage women are the ones that will have their loyalty and generate revenue. After her own experience with cancer, she realized there was more. She realized that much of what she had been doing was lip service to women wanted to hear. She didn’t want to be controlled, she wanted to be encouraged. She wanted hope, not more medication.
The Lipstick Alliance
These days, Tanya is working with hospitals to form the Lipstick Alliance. Statistics show that 83 percent of women put on lipstick daily to make them feel good. The Lipstick Alliance is about wellness every day for women.
Tanya wants it to be a movement that gets women thinking about doing something healthy every time they put on lipstick, lip gloss or chapstick. She hopes that one day the lipstick icon will be as recognizable as the red dress is for heart health and the pink ribbon is for breast cancer awareness. The Lipstick Alliance is about wellness every day for women. The national program is market exclusive, so there can only be one hospital per market in the U.S. Hospitals don’t have to apply, but they must be focused on wellness. They must also agree to use the organization’s 1-4-12 strategy which includes templates, education materials, content and a national awards program for organizations that build relationships with women that result in increased revenues.
Tanya says they are reducing the fee for the first 20 hospitals and that the program is typically less than $3,000/month.
The Patient Experience
Two things are pivotal in healthcare branding for women. She must feel she is being listened to and heard, and not just filling out a bunch of paperwork. She also needs to feel more encouraged when she leaves the hospital or clinic than when she came in. And the experience must be positive.
As an example, Tanya says heart disease is the number one killer of women, yet one in five women in their 50s have had a baseline heart evaluation. Why? She says it is because women fear the results. Healthcare groups and hospitals need to find ways to educate and motivate women in a fun way. Among her many ideas, Tanya says to invite women to a heart day event at a hospital where women can get a free echo-cardiogram. If the hospital is part of the Lipstick Alliance, they can hand out free lipstick when they are done.
Wellness Care is in Vogue
Hospitals can’t continue to be acute-care facilities. Tanya says they need to start focusing on wellness, incentivizing doctors and providing telemedicine, but only if it is part of a total wellness experience. People have a tendency not to tell everything to a healthcare provider online. Without complete records of the patient, diagnosis can be risky and often incorrect.
Women’s Choice Awards
Tanya’s newest role is as the national director of the Women’s Choice Awards. The award is third-party verified and 100 percent objective about a company or hospital’s quality measures in patient care and service lines. The seal says the organization has been approved by women and has the objective standards of quality and healthcare capabilities for patient satisfaction.
Connect with Tanya
Facebook: Lipstick Alliance