Women's Health Boutique targets hospital expansion

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

LONGVIEW, Texas -- The Women's Health Boutique is taking its well-established franchise system to a new audience this year as it tries to attract hospital systems to the idea of a one-stop-shop in the continuum of care.
The Boutique this year unveiled a comprehensive marketing plan of its franchise to hospitals through direct mail and trade show exhibits, said Daina Pitzenberger, president and CEO of the company.
"We have presented to five or six hospitals this year, and the trade shows have generated a lot of interest," she said. "We are very pleased and are modifying our program as things come up."
The boutique offers a full range of women's health services, including mastectomy fitting and apparel, pre and post natal care, compression therapy and skin care, and hospitals can choose to offer all or some of the boutique's services to meet their needs.
Pitzenberger said the appeal for hospitals is that having a boutique on site is another way for hospitals to attract and keep new business.
"Women drive 90% of the health care decisions in a family unit," said Pitzenberger. "So the goal is to try and capture them when they are pregnant, which is usually the first time a woman needs a hospital. Then she will guide or suggest to family members where grandma should get her cardiovascular surgery right through to end-of-life care."
That philosophy is what attracted Lancaster General in Lancaster, Pa., to the Women's Health Boutique. Lancaster General is the first hospital to bring the franchise under its wing in the hopes of creating a more comprehensive breast care center.
"The Women's Health Boutique really knows their product lines and their staff has the training to go with it," said Diane Biever, facilitator of special projects at Lancaster General. "These are things that would be difficult for us to keep up with and be current with on our own. We wanted to depend on experts in the field."
The Boutique uses its expertise to advise hospitals on what product lines will best meet their needs and designs planograms that incorporate flow and merchandising techniques.
"If we can control inventory in a hospital setting, that's a key to success," said Pitzenberger. "A lot of hospitals have more capital than an individual owner, and they overspend and bring in product lines that don't work. We try to prevent that. We are a resource from start to finish."