Recently I attended the Healthcare Marketing & Physician Strategies Summit (HMPSS) in Salt Lake City. The number of breakout sessions about CRM platforms, paid search strategies, EMR/customer integration, AI learning and cutting-edge tracking of ROI was overwhelming. Data-driven marketing decisions are now the norm. The ability to capture new patients, establish lifetime consumers and report ROI using these new digital technologies is hot and exciting.
Yet, to be successful, digital technologies require consumer-centric content. I was struck by a noticeable lack of sessions focused on consumer insights. Outside of one consumer journey and a consumer insights session, attention on what to say to consumers was absent. Consumer-centric communication demands we know our audience inside and out. What we say matters. A solid understanding of what consumers think, want, need and do remains fundamental to connecting with consumers, no matter what communication channel you use.
Words and phrases we use all the time may not be tip-of-the tongue among our key audiences. For example, how often do systems use the phrase “health system” in our communications? For many marketers at HMPSS, “health system” is part of their organization’s name. Because marketers and researchers in the healthcare industry use this phrase all the time in our work life, we think it’s a ubiquitous phrase, but I often remind those “on the inside” that they are NOT the target audience. We know too much. No offense, but if you’ve read this far, you’re probably in the minority and you’re the odd one when it comes to knowing what a “health system” is. Continue reading
In the rapidly evolving healthcare marketplace, the role of a primary care physician (PCP) is changing. Healthcare organizations are working to surround PCPs with broader care teams—nutritionists, mental health professionals, social workers and physical therapists—to provide PCPs time to focus on the most critical patients. In addition, PCPs provide a valuable link in referring patients to a healthcare organization’s specialty care offering, leveraging the power of a unified electronic medical record, driving pay-for-performance reimbursements, and strengthening patient loyalty. It’s probably not surprising, therefore, that health systems we work with are seeking to learn more about the patient/provider relationship.
The Role of the Patient-Physician Relationship in Marketing Healthcare
Editor’s Note: This is a first look at findings from our recent omnibus study that examines the patient/provider relationship. Also read our latest post for a full analysis and download the report, Commitment to the Patient/Provider Relationship.
Many of our health system clients have begun to investigate more deeply the patient-physician relationship—a relationship that is complicated, multi-faceted and, for many, vitally important. For example, we’ve uncovered information people rely on when selecting a new provider, the most appealing characteristics of a physician’s practice and aspects of the patient-physician encounter that matter most. These studies are important given an employed primary care provider’s critical role in referring patients to a health system’s specialty care, leveraging the power of a system’s EMR capabilities and improving employed providers’ HCAHPS scores.
A Practical Approach to Improving Your Hospital’s Image
In many US markets, it is common to find a dominant Academic Medical Center (AMC) whose image is so strong that other AMCs, large hospitals and small community hospitals struggle to compare. In some markets, the image gap between the leading AMC and other hospitals is so large that the notion of closing it seems futile. Yet, we live in a world where consumers are more involved in healthcare choices, including which health system to join and which hospital to use. Improving hospital image is critical no matter where you rank in a community. Hospital executives must realize that while their hospital may never be perceived as the best, they must always strive to improve their hospital’s image.
How can they make headway? First, they must understand their position in the market and find opportunities to improve.
Market Strategies recently released its Hospital Brandscape® report in four major markets—Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia and Atlanta—to help hospital executives understand how consumers perceive their brand.
Hospital Brandscape Reveals Marketing Opportunities in an Era of Consumer Choice
Chris Bevolo’s 2011 book, Joe Q. Public Does Not Care about Your Hospital, struck a chord with hospital marketers across the country as he exposed how misguided mass media campaigns can be. His recent book, Embracing the New Paradigm, offers guidance on how marketers can deliver hospital messages in a much more tailored, strategic and cost-effective manner by targeting people who are seeking a specific type of care as opposed to casting a wide net to all consumers.
Against this backdrop of wise advice, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is accelerating a change in how consumers think about their healthcare and their hospitals. Faced with substantial out-of-pocket costs, including higher co-pays and deductibles, and more restrictive provider networks, consumers are waking up to when and how they seek medical services. In other words, Joe Q. Public is starting to care about hospitals. Continue reading
The word “value” can mean many things in healthcare. We hear about “value-based purchasing” (designed to increase the overall quality of care) or “value” as it relates to patient outcomes relative to cost of care (a payer-centric focus). In both of these examples, consumers are assumed to be beneficiaries of these system-driven efforts.
Yet, a third definition of value is garnering greater attention among health systems; value is consumer-defined. Instead of assuming a passive role, consumers are adopting a proactive approach when making healthcare decisions. Why? The increasing prevalence of high-deductible health plans (HDHP) puts a spotlight on out-of-pocket costs. When consumers spend money, they look for value.
Understanding how consumers assign value to their care is now a critical component of managing a successful health system. The simple question is, “How do consumers define value?” The simplicity of the question belies the nuances involved in learning how consumers assign value. Healthcare concepts like quality, price, advanced technology, reputation, and compassionate care drive perceptions of value. How consumers perceive these concepts is often different from how healthcare experts do.
As someone who works with hospitals and health systems, I’m fascinated by the increasing interplay between smartphones and healthcare. Turns out, doctors are just like the rest of us: they take their smartphones everywhere and look for apps to make their personal and professional lives more convenient.
At the same time, physician practices, hospitals and health systems are working aggressively to install electronic medical record (EMR) systems. A clinically-integrated EMR system is fundamental to value-based care, and hospitals are spending millions on equipment and software to lay the groundwork for this transition. As with any new system, extensive training and integration is needed. Can you imagine the frustration an IT executive feels when showing off a new system and, instead of being showered with praise, the medical staff simply asks, “Is there an app for that?”