In a new marketing campaign, the world-famous Mayo Clinic is advertising for patients in Dallas, more than 900 miles from Mayo’s home in Florida.
The campaign, launched this summer, has caught the attention of North Texas health care providers, though publicly, they play down any competitive threat. They say that the services Mayo offers are available in Dallas and that doctors practicing here are among the best anywhere.
“Our clinical treatment, coupled with our care coordination and patient satisfaction, is some of the best in the nation,” said W. Stephen Love, president and chief executive of the Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council.
At least one expert on business strategy said there is cause for competitive concern.
“If I were the Dallas health care providers, I would be very worried about the Mayo Clinic reaching into my market, particularly since they are likely to target higher-income customers,” said Jeff Sandefer, an entrepreneur, business professor and co-founder of the Acton School of Business in Austin.
Sandefer, a friend of Gov. Rick Perry, has been at the center of the higher education debate in Texas.
Mayo’s TV and print ads are supplemented by a Web page aimed specifically at Dallas residents. The page gets right to the point, asking: “Why should I choose Mayo Clinic rather than seeking care in Dallas?”
Mayo’s answer: efficient, high-quality diagnosis and treatment by experts who offer answers not available elsewhere. The site says patients can be seen by a team of specialists, all within a short walk of one another, often within one day.
“That’s extremely attractive for anyone who is dreading having to trudge through the bureaucratic labyrinth of today’s health care system,” Sandefer said.
“North Texas has a rapidly growing population and a strong economy, so it’s not surprising that companies in other parts of the country are marketing here,” said Wendell Watson, spokesman for Texas Health Resources.
Texas Health Resources and UT Southwestern Medical Center announced an agreement last week to “seek collaborative opportunities” to deliver “more efficient, integrated and affordable quality care to North Texas communities.”
The agreement, which will initially focus on post-acute care and a joint database for research to improve outcomes, could be expanded to other health care systems in the region, the two institutions said. Watson said discussions leading to the agreement have been going on for months.
Mayo says its marketing campaign is not a reflection on the quality of care in Dallas.
“We’re always looking at new ways to interact with patients,” said Misty Hathaway, marketing chair for Mayo Clinic. “Our goal is to provide the best care we can to folks who need us the most.”
In 2010, according to the clinic, about 1,000 patients from the Dallas area sought treatment at Mayo facilities, either in Rochester, Minn., or satellite centers in Scottsdale, Ariz., and Jacksonville, Fla.
Gordon Walker, chairman of the strategy and entrepreneurship department at Southern Methodist University’s Cox School of Business, said 1,000 patients a year, or even 2,000, shouldn’t pose a competitive concern to North Texas providers.
Yet, like Sandefer, Walker emphasized the upscale appeal of Mayo Court, Cannabis Drugs which he said has one of the strongest brands in the world.