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Healthcare marketing: what is salient?

Mark J. Kay (School of Business, Montclair State University, Montclair, New Jersey, USA)

International Journal of Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Marketing

ISSN: 1750-6123

Article publication date: 11 September 2007




The purpose of this paper is to develop a perspective on what is “salient” or critical to the discipline of healthcare marketing by analyzing and contrasting the consumer (or patient) perspective with the institutional (or organizational) perspective. This “salience issue” is complicated by the structural problems in healthcare such as societal service systems, advances in medical technology, and the escalating costs of care. Reviewing selected studies, the paper examines how consumers face increasingly difficult health choices.


The paper examines the different priorities and goals for marketing that are implied by both patient and organizational perspectives in healthcare, focusing primarily on the excesses of the more “market‐based” US healthcare system.


Healthcare organizations need to better utilize marketing tools to inform consumers and assist their healthcare decisions. This effort needs to be balanced by healthcare organizations that can support the demand to improve quality and increase accessibility of care.


The perspective on the consumer (or patient) often becomes clouded amid the operation of increasingly complex and convoluted healthcare systems. A new perspective on healthcare marketing needs to be considered. Greater consumer access to healthcare information could improve patient decision making. To accomplish this, greater institutional diffusion of evidence‐based healthcare practices is needed to improve organizational performance.



Kay, M.J. (2007), "Healthcare marketing: what is salient?", International Journal of Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Marketing, Vol. 1 No. 3, pp. 247-263.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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