2021 Becoming a Health Care Business Partner of Choice

AHA Report on the State of Hospital and Business Solution Provider Relationships


As hospitals and health systems face remarkable challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, health care business solutions are shifting sales and marketing strategies to attract and engage these health care organizations and earn their business. Educational content is the new priority.


That’s one of the key takeaways from the American Hospital Association’s inaugural national survey Becoming a Health Care Business Partner of Choice. The national survey was designed to better understand the changing relationship between hospitals and their business partners during this unprecedented year in health care. Survey respondents are health care solution providers who work with hospitals and health systems to help them provide the highest quality care.

chart - What are some investments you are making to reach and educate your prospects and customers?

According to the survey, most health care solution providers, 94%, say they are now investing in educational content, such as white papers, training curriculum and issue briefs. Half of respondents are still putting their budget toward webinars, and fewer than 40% are purchasing digital advertising.

“Education is a powerful marketing strategy,” says Kathleen Wessel, AHA Vice President of Business Management & Operations. “Businesses are placing a higher priority on educating their prospects through the creation of high-impact content and using it to build trust and respect.”

Wessel adds that in these turbulent times, consistent delivery of quality educational content creates an affiliation deeper than simply using traditional advertising that pushes products and services versus offering value.

While more than 60% of health care solution providers say email is still the most effective method for reaching purchasers at hospitals and health systems, 40% are pivoting to virtual networking events.

Chart - Due to the pandemic, buyer decision-making has..

Virtual conferences are the fastest growing virtual experience, with 70% of surveyed businesses allocating money for these events.“Virtual conferences and networking events are here to stay beyond the pandemic,” says Carl Aiello, AHA Executive Director of Sales and Account Management. “More than likely, we'll continue to see an increase in virtual gatherings because the platform enables businesses to save money on setup and admissions costs. Virtual conferences also make it easier for customers and prospects across the country to attend — driving higher attendance.”

A majority of health care solution providers (77%) say that forming new partnerships — not just with customers, but also with other health care solution providers — is another key component of their sales and marketing strategy, underscoring the trend toward building a health care ecosystem.

“Good strategic alliances often promise growth and profits,” says Julie Doyle, AHA Vice President of Marketing. “Partnerships increase the odds for success when organizations work together to determine the problem to be solved, clarify roles, communicate clearly and often, and set terms for decision-making,”


Top Results from AHA’s Becoming a Health Care Business Partner of Choice Survey

Chart - How has your sales and marketing spending changed in 2020?
  • While health care solution providers continue to face economic challenges due to the pandemic, nearly 40% of respondents say their sales and marketing budgets have stayed the same. More than 20% report they’ve increased their budget.
  • Health care solution providers say the biggest challenges they currently face are reaching customers (55%) and building trust (50%).
  • What’s keeping health care providers awake at night? According to survey respondents, their hospital and health system customers are most concerned about financial performance and their workforce.They also say hospitals and health systems are moderately decreasing their spending — making this a highly competitive health care marketplace.
  • Nearly 65% of health care solution providers agree that the pandemic has slowed down the buyer decision-making process in health care.

Tap into the Power of the American Hospital Association

Meaningful connections don’t come easy in this digital world. In these turbulent times, hospitals, health systems and health care professionals look to the American Hospital Association for education, tools and support to help them better serve patients in their communities. Work with the field’s most trusted partner to hospitals and health systems to engage your ideal customers and connect them to your solution.


AHA Associate

Join this exclusive program to gain access to key national meetings, as well as valuable insights and insider benefits all year long. Businesses that join the AHA Associate program gain exclusive access to benefits that improve their visibility, credibility, and access to AHA member hospitals and health systems.



AHA events provide ways to engage the audience before, during and after the event itself, with opportunities to extend the conversation on the topics most relevant to the audience via webinars, podcasts, executive dialogues and more.


Virtual Executive Dialogues

These small-group, interactive discussions attract a C-Suite audience to discuss a topic of the sponsor’s choosing. They provide an outstanding chance for personal interaction and conversations with the field’s most engaged leaders. The AHA handles the recruitment and provides a moderator. We’ll work with you to select a topic based on your needs and our knowledge of the field.


AHA Transformation Talks – Strategies for Reimagining Health Care

This new thought leadership video series is aimed at helping members determine which direction the field may be heading and how to prepare. Each video covers a different transformational topic and connects AHA Members with experts and thought leaders as they discuss how to navigate business-critical challenges and potential new solutions. Special guests and industry experts will join a subject matter expert from your organization to discuss a specific issues and solutions that will drive the field.


Lead Generation and Email Programs

Competing for the hospital C-suite’s attention? To be heard, you have to be credible. Backed by credibility of the American Hospital Association, we can customize a lead generation program and content to help you connect more deeply with hospital leaders.



We provide a turnkey webinar package that includes consultation on topic, along with the necessary promotion and production support. You’ll get a robust, data-driven campaign targeting your priority titles to drive registration for your webinar, and a professionally produced asset that you can leverage in multiple channels.


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