04 Aug Using your SRTR data to market your program
By: Koren Fay
Two dates strike fear in the hearts of transplant center staff every year: the January and July release dates for the SRTR Program Specific Reports (PSR). We all understand the importance of the PSR data to CMS, UNOS and to private insurance payors. But this data can also be very compelling to referring providers and to patients when choosing a transplant center, and therefore can be used to market your center.
Begin by comparing your center to the centers in your state or in your region. Find the results that make your center stand out. To do this, it is not enough to just look at your data. Go to the public site and search an organ by state. This will give you all the centers in your state, and will allow you to compare them according to several different metrics. Depending on your geography, this may be enough to give you one or two nice screenshots that show you where you rank in your region by volume, or in outcomes, or (whisper) in number of performance stars. Depending on your geography, you may have to search more than one state and then splice together a couple of screenshots.
Look at several different metrics. We are all so trained to look at our outcomes data we sometimes forget to dig deeper. However, the other metrics tracked by the SRTR can be equally compelling to a referring provider or a patient when choosing a program.
- Transplant rate – If the transplant rate at your center is the highest in the state or region, this can mean better transplant access to a patient and better management of your waiting list. This is important to patients and referring providers. And it is becoming even more important to private payer insurers and our regulatory agencies.
- Waitlist mortality – If your waitlist mortality is less than another center’s, this says to your referring providers that you do a good job working with them to manage these patients.
- Volume – Performing more transplants per year than another center tells patients you have more experience with the surgery and with caring for recipients. And that more patients are choosing you as their center.
- Outcomes – There is no doubt that they are important. Maybe your outcomes are as expected, just like all the centers in your state or region. Don’t stop there, though. Look at the bar graphs of observed to expected. While an O:E ratio of 0.8 may be “as expected,” the bar graph from the PSR report shows the actual difference between the number of expected graft losses and the observed often looks much more impressive.
Be loud and proud. Once you have done your analysis and discovered where you shine, make sure everyone knows that. The screenshots of the public site showing the comparisons in your state make a beautiful powerpoint slide for your patient education session, as well as an easy to read handout for referring providers and dialysis centers. They are so easy to pull from the site and use that you won’t even need your marketing team’s time, which can be very limited these days. In addition, simplify your statistic of focus into one or two sentences that are easy to understand and easy to remember. For example, “We at AnyTown Transplant Center have the fastest transplant rate in our region. This means faster transplant access for our patients.” This is now your “elevator speech” – the speech that you or any of your staff can give when the CEO steps on the elevator and says, “Hey, how’s the transplant program doing?” This is something your new patient navigators can be sure to let your patients know when they are scheduling evaluation appointments. And the coordinators can tell the dialysis unit nurse when they call to get a report on their patients. It can be added easily to the banner of your website and even to your already existing education and marketing tools, with the addition of a small insert.
Dig a little deeper. Lastly, use your SRTR data to understand who you need to market to. By looking at your additions to the waiting list or your waiting list patients, and the breakdown of their ethnicity, age, and other key factors, you can understand how your patient population compares to others nearby. This can help you understand how you may need to tailor your marketing to increase your share of the region’s patients.
Look into the future. With XynManagement tools, the CUSUM reports, and your own quality program, you should know how center performance is trending. If you are a 3-star program but are heading toward a 4-star, concentrate on the factors that get you there. Metrics other than one-year outcomes are coming into focus and it is important to think broadly and act proactively.