HealthScreen Campaign Explains Importance of Early Detection

HealthScreen America, Jacksonville, FL, a retail health screening network, will kick off an advertising and direct marketing campaign in January to raise awareness of its diagnostic services. The 18-month-old company, which currently operates two mobile units and one retail store, plans to open 150 retail stores nationwide by 2002.

Specialty diagnostic testing for various health conditions such as high blood pressure are available in retail settings, typically in suburban malls; but HealthScreen offers a one-stop approach to preventive care by conducting a range of tests for illnesses where early detection is key – such as diabetes, prostate cancer, osteoporosis, cardiovascular and stroke risk – for an all-inclusive fee.

The screening service is not reimbursable through healthcare insurance or managed care, but HealthScreen America is counting on the interest of a significant portion of the country’s 78 million baby boomers in catching illness in its earliest stages. “We’re a complementary piece of the healthcare system,” said chairman/CEO Christopher T. Fey. “Consumers, particularly baby boomers, more and more are wanting to take charge of their health.” Results from a recent Yankelovich Monitor survey support that sentiment: 78 percent of consumers polled said people should take primary responsibility for their own health and not rely so much on doctors.

Because the service is new and outside the realm of experience for most consumers, the advertising campaign through the Dalton Agency, Jacksonville, FL, its advertising agency, concentrates heavily on education. A direct mail, business-to-business campaign to its database of physicians and employers drops this month. Consumer direct response TV, radio, and print ads debut in January, followed by direct mail to consumers around the end of the first quarter.

“The direct mail will be a second, more targeted phase of the marketing plan,” said Dave Josserand, executive vice president and chief operating officer at The Dalton Agency. Dalton works with American Graphic Communications, also in Jacksonville, which handles list procurement and fulfillment.

Although the service is not age-specific, HealthScreen’s direct marketing will specifically target middle-income women 45 years and older. The central marketing message is maintenance for a healthy body. “We’re firm believers in direct mail,” said Fey. “It’s an educational piece targeted to the individual with the message of the benefits of early detection.”

HealthScreen America’s vice president of advertising and communications, Kathy Fleming, likens the company’s service to a visit to Jiffy Lube. “You take your car to Jiffy Lube for maintenance,” she said. “The way the traditional health system is set up, health insurance doesn’t pay for things until there’s a problem. The best way to take care of your health is to get preventive care. Just like with your car, if you don’t take it in to get the maintenance or get your oil changed, the engine’s going to blow. Your body’s the same way.”

Maintaining personalized medical information for consumers raises concerns about confidentiality and privacy; trust and comfort with the screening program will be a significant factor in its adoption.

“Permission marketing is one of our strategies,” Fleming said. “We want to give consumers information and become their partner in health, but we want permission to do that.”

All information is encrypted and kept confidential, and the company does not provide any detailed personal information about its customers to other companies. “We want them to see us as a partner in their healthcare,” she said.

HealthScreen America also incorporates a Web site ( where customers can log on and download their personal medical history and maintain that personalized record long-term through HealthScreen’s Health Compass, its proprietary database management tool.

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