Competitive Positioning for Home Health and Hospice Marketing

By Ellen Knowles | February 8, 2022


Marketing your post-acute organization is getting more complex – especially in the wake of COVID-19. Staffing challenges and a greater focus on value-based care means you need to shift your marketing strategies. Bringing donuts and dropping off pens is not a sustainable strategy for convincing physicians and facilities to send referrals your way. You need to bring value to every referral partner conversation while considering what success looks like for your home health or hospice organization. While some are focused on increasing patient admits, others may want to optimize their patient mix by targeting a specific diagnostic group. Or, as shown in our post-acute benchmark report, your organization might be looking to partner with value-based care organizations like accountable care organizations (ACOs) and direct contracting entities (DCEs). No matter what your goals are, compelling competitive positioning is a crucial step to achieving them.  


What is Competitive Positioning? 

Seasoned marketing professionals are familiar with the role positioning and messaging strategy plays in their overall branding. But what need does your agency fill that others in your market don’t? Your competitive positioning statement should illustrate how you’re different, what unique value you bring to the market, and how your patients will benefit from your unique services.  


There are three critical components of a well-rounded competitive positioning statement: 

  1. Audience 
  1. Competitors  
  1. Differentiators 


Let’s dive into each of these a bit more.  



Based on your organization’s goals, you should be able to map out who your target audience is. For instance, is it physicians and/or facilities with high patient volumes, specific patient characteristics, or lower-than-average utilization rates?  


If you’re looking to grow overall patient admits, your target audience will likely be those with the highest Medicare beneficiary counts or those who are currently underutilizing post-acute care. For growth within a specific diagnostic category or to optimize your patient mix, you’ll want to look at providers who care for the specific patient categories you want to attract. To partner with ACOs, DCEs, or other value-based care groups, you’ll want to look at those with high beneficiary counts who also have a gap in the specific care setting you operate.  


Define your audience by not only their general descriptors but by the specific challenges they have and how you help solve them. Include your unique market, as well. Aside from home health or hospice, how would you describe their size, operating style, tenure, experience, etc.?  



One of the areas you need to dive the deepest in is your competitive landscape. How many other home health or hospice organizations operate within your market? Who has the largest market share and how has market share shifted over time? What does the affiliation for your target physicians and facilities look like? Do they consistently refer to the same few home health and hospice providers or do they have a more diffuse affiliation?  


Once you’ve identified your biggest competitors, it’s time to dig into specific performance metrics to determine where you outshine the competition on both an individual and market or county level. Look at metrics such as readmission rates, rehospitalization rates, and total patient cost. For the areas where you perform better than a competitor who may be receiving a higher share of referrals from a specific source, this is a great conversation starter for physicians and facilities. 



In the last section, we focused on your agency’s outcomes versus competitors in your market. Now we need to look at what got you there. For instance, what are the unique ways you serve patients that led to these outcomes? You may provide a wider array of therapy services, or your hospice may have a higher visit count during patients’ final days than your competitors or state and country averages. Use these differentiation points to explain how you’ll deliver outstanding care to your target audience’s patients.  


Finally, how does your target audience benefit from referring their patients to your home health or hospice? What can you offer that no one else does? Lower total patient costs result in increased shared savings for value-based care organizations. Lower readmission and rehospitalization rates mean acute care facilities can focus on patients who need inpatient services while avoiding readmission penalties.  


Putting it All Together 

With your key components defined, it’s time to create a cohesive competitive positioning statement. Boil each part down to a short phrase or sentence. For example: 

  • My Agency: Cardiac Care Home Health 
  • Audience: Primary care physicians who currently underutilize home health care. 
  • Market: Small to mid-size physician groups that primarily treat cardiac patients. 
  • Competitors: ABC Home Health is the market share leader for cardiac patients of the four other home health organizations within the market. Our home health organization outperforms the ABC in total patient costs (average of $500 less per patient) and readmission rates (average 4% lower readmission rate) 
  • Differentiators: We staff more skilled cardiac nurses and use remote patient monitoring technology.  
  • Benefits: Our proactive, highly specialized approach means better long-term health for your patients after cardiac episodes and a better reputation for referring physicians.  


Now, let’s weave this into a powerful competitive positioning statement: 


At Cardiac Care Home Health, we specialize in providing proactive care to your patients after a cardiac episode. Our highly trained cardiac specialists use the best technology and remote patient monitoring solutions to ensure the best outcomes for your patients. On average, our total patient costs are $500 lower, per patient, than other home health providers in the market, and our patients are 4% less likely to be readmitted to the hospital. Long-term patient health and recovery is your focus and ours. Partnering with Cardiac Care Home Health can help position you as the premier cardiac care provider in the area. 


Next Steps 

A compelling positioning statement is crucial to helping your home health or hospice stand out in the market and attract the patients and referrals you need to grow. But, before you begin, you need access to the right data to help you find your target referral partners, evaluate the competitive landscape, and effectively prove your unique benefit set.  


Trella Health is the leader in market intelligence for the 65+ population, with extensive data sets including Medicare Fee for Service (FFS), Medicare Advantage, commercial payers, ACOs, and DCEs. For more insights into how to stand out as a preferred referral partner, schedule a demo today.  


About the Author:

Ellen Knowles, Product Marketing Manager

As a results-driven marketing enthusiast with a focus on Healthcare IT and SaaS-based business, Ellen helps achieve strategic goals for market growth, product adoption, and customer success as a Product Marketing Manager at Trella Health. Ellen spent time at Georgia Military College before moving to Atlanta to start her career in sales, but quickly found her passion in marketing and dedicated the last four+ years to growing health IT brands and business in the hospital and ambulatory. At Trella Health, she's able to continue her passion for innovation and meaningful results.