In order to determine the location for establishing a pain center, it is important to perform a complete community analysis. A community analysis consists of three basic components: a demographic analysis, a pain management market analysis and a competitive analysis.
1. Demographic Analysis
It is very important to know the demographic area that the practice will service. What does the community have to offer and where it is going within the next five to ten years? This will allow insight as to every aspect of the community. The only way to truly know the community is to gather, review and analyze the collected data. The following at a minimum should be evaluated:
- General Overview of area
- Population/Age Median
- Cost of Living/Income Data
2. Pain Management Specialty Analysis (or "market" analysis)
It is important to realize how the pain management service line fits into the communities being serviced. By defining and understanding the pain management "market", one can ascertain which direction to put forth effort. Practitioners need to identify who else is practicing within the market and their services and plan of action for the present and future. If not, others will capitalize on the practitioner's patients, which will result in a decrease in volume and a lack of understanding of why or what to do about it.
Factors to Consider:
- What is the need for various modalities of pain management in this market? (i.e. interventional pain management, medication management, rehabilitation)
- How much competition is in place and how is it being delivered?
- What is the statistical and anecdotal need for pain management services?
- Are Workers' Compensation laws and practices favorable to the establishment of a pain management center?
- Ambulatory Surgery Center
- Who is paying for the product (i.e. managed care, self-pay, workers' compensation, etc.)?
- Payer analysis - what is the percentage of Medicare/ Managed Care/ Workers' Compensation/ Medicaid/ etc. in the geographic area?
- Is there a site of service differential?
- Print (newspapers, magazines, hospital publications, etc.)
- Education (i.e. referring physicians, employer safety meetings, workers' compensation meetings, study groups, health fairs, etc.)
- Public speaking (i.e. community awareness, health fairs, etc.)
3. Competitive Analysis
It is vital to know the competition. Remember that competition is good and people today want choices when deciding on a physician. The key to success is finding ways to set the pain management practice above and apart from the competition. This requires emphasis on the new Center's strengths and opportunities and capitalizing on the competition's weaknesses and threats. It is important not to get caught up in doing everything that the competition does. The key is carefully evaluating the marketing strategies of the competition but sticking to a strategic marketing plan, and being proactive, not reactive.
The competition has vulnerabilities and these can be used to the new Center's advantage. Things to know about the competition:
- Who are they?
- Where are they?
- How many physicians do they have?
- What are their strengths?
- What are their weaknesses?