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Commentary & Analysis

Real World Print: A Paper Check-up

by Maggie Ochs As the U.

By WhatTheyThink Guest Contributor
Published: October 22, 2007

by Maggie Ochs

As the U.S. healthcare industry skyrockets from a $2.2 trillion a year market today to a $4.4 trillion market by 2015 --as is estimated by BlueCross and BlueShield's 2007 Medical Cost Reference Guide-- new growth opportunities will open up for those who provide services to that field. The health services industry currently prints more than 100 billion pages each year. Print providers are poised to benefit from this expanding market, which will require significantly more marketing communications materials to outreach to patients, customers and industry professionals.

Making the push into servicing the healthcare market doesn't have to be intimidating, but print providers need to speak the language of healthcare professionals if they are to market their digital printing services effectively. To help start the conversation, Xerox offers a healthcare-focused vertical market kit as part of its ProfitAccelerator portfolio of market development resources. The Healthcare Industry Kit contains simple primers that can be used to understand the critical issues of the industry, application briefs that describe the importance of several critical documents used by the industry, and sales presentations containing graphics and text that are relevant to the vertical market.

Print providers need to speak the language of healthcare professionals if they are to market their digital printing services effectively.

Show You Understand

In addition to being able to talk to customers or prospects about their business applications, it's also important to be able to demonstrate an understanding of their printing needs and how they might use various applications to better reach their own customers. To that point, the kit includes source files so customers can print their own personalized application samples, or pre-printed samples can also be ordered.

Print providers and creative professionals can flex their creative muscle and tap into the lucrative healthcare market by offering a wide variety of applications such as personalized appointment reminders, full-color brochures, case report forms and direct-marketing postcards. The organizations that will benefit most are those that establish these capabilities and use them to forge valuable customer relationships. Below are two great examples of print providers who used creative approaches to take advantage of digital printing technology and specialty media to create unique applications or improve production processes.

X-ray Vision

ChartLogic, based in Salt Lake City, Utah and a pioneer in the electronic medical records (EMR) field, was having difficulty acquainting orthopedic doctors with the electronic system. In most medical practices, the office manager would open and sort the mail and quickly decide what to show the busy physician from the pile of advertising materials received every day. To get past office managers and build awareness of their EMR's high usability rating with orthopedic doctors in target cities, ChartLogic enlisted the help of Salt Lake City advertising agency Merrell Remington.

Merrell Remington designed a white stripe transparency to look like an authentic X-Ray, but with 100 percent variable text. The customized content spoke the language of the orthopedic doctor's specialty and included personalization such as a name tag and contact information along the white edge, imitating medical record coding. To complete the authenticity, the envelope was printed with "X-RAY ENCLOSED."

Merrell Remington designed a white stripe transparency to look like an authentic X-Ray, but with 100 percent variable text.

Until ChartLogic got in the front door, it was tough to convince physicians that patient charting on a computer rather than paper is more accurate, faster, safer and much more efficient. Merrell Remington's creative mailer put the ChartLogic message directly into the hands of the decision maker --the orthopedic physician. The X-ray direct mail piece jump-started the direct response campaign with a calendar full of sales appointments to introduce the doctors to ChartLogic's EMR and integrated electronic medical office software. The mailer received an Honorable Mention at the 2006 Printing Innovation with Xerox Imaging (PIXI) awards and was the first piece of a creative direct response campaign that also included an off-sized brochure, color postcards, a letter with a booklet, a fax and an e-mail.

Just What the Doctor Ordered

Elevate You Limited, a digital printing company in Edinburgh, Scotland, produces millions of case report forms used in pharmaceutical drug trials. The carbonless paper they had been using for the case reports transferred marks between sheets, making them hard to read. Additionally, the dustiness of the paper contaminated the three Xerox printers the forms were printed on, slowing productivity due to frequent jams and cleaning. Because these forms account for nearly half of the company's business, it was imperative that clients received reliable and consistent forms that accurately record medical information.

To solve these issues, Elevate You switched to Xerox Premium Digital Carbonless paper, which uses a unique coating that reduces dust, debris and fuser roll wear and tear. The stock provides higher productivity by reducing maintenance requirements and unscheduled downtime. The carbonless paper prints within tight tolerances, allowing excellent registration from sheet to sheet, so when a doctor or participant checks a box on the first sheet, the mark is accurately made in the same box on sheets two and three.

Say Ahhhhh!

Printed healthcare materials aren't known for their creativity, but the days of boring insurance claims forms and patient care lists are behind us. As is the case in many industries, the healthcare market now requires that printed materials be turned around quickly and many now include targeted messages. These requirements make a solid business case for digital printing's on-demand and variable capabilities.

The healthcare market now requires that printed materials be turned around quickly and many now include targeted messages.

Research by InfoTrends suggests that forms with run lengths of 1,500 to 5,000 represent the largest opportunity for digital print providers. Some of the popular substrates print providers can use to "treat" healthcare customers are:

  • Transparencies to create attention-grabbing, personalized mailers.
  • Custom magnets for informational flyers with peel-off magnets containing office hours or important contact numbers.
  • Document folders to create corporate press kits and patient homecare kits.
  • Digital color postcards for appointment reminders and new service or product alerts.
  • Cards tipped onto larger sheets that can to create temporary ID badges, membership cards or promotion and discount cards.

Serving the Health Service Industry

The health services industry has become a very competitive market, and a range of service providers --from pharmaceutical companies and medical equipment manufacturers to research centers and hospitals-- are demanding distinctive applications that speak to customers. Quality print jobs that incorporate personalized data and innovative substrates can create the striking visual impact necessary to motivate and engage patients and customers, bringing healthcare print customers back with more jobs.



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