Amazon already has a deep hook in the book, retail, delivery service, music, video, restaurant and even grocery space. It looks like healthcare is its next big target. Healthcare is a broad arena tangled in complexities. Most consumers struggle with understanding the lingo, getting quality care, managing payments and getting the prescriptions they need without breaking the bank. There are many controversial parts to how our healthcare system works, and Amazon has just tossed its hat into the ring with its announcement of its purchase of online pharmacy PillPack. What does this mean for the pharmacy space and will it impact the larger healthcare system?
The Amazon Threat Boils Down to Trust
Our team at Market Strategies has been anticipating the announcement of Amazon entering the healthcare market, so we conducted a self-funded a study to find out if consumers are open to purchasing healthcare services and prescriptions through nontraditional healthcare companies. We know that consumers have a high level of trust in Amazon, but will this level of trust extend to its healthcare services?
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
When doing healthcare research, physicians are one of the most coveted audiences. The challenges of capturing the attention of physicians are many:
- Increasing off-hour virtual care appointments
- Inundation of information and social media
One of the most common questions we hear clients ask is, “What can we do to improve response rates?” And while there is not one silver bullet, a combination of customized design approaches and best practices do encourage participation among physicians. Based on years of successful studies, Market Strategies recommends a combination of five approaches and designs to boost response rates and achieve a greater representative mix of participants:
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.
Understanding How Consumers Make Healthcare Decisions
It’s day two of my eight-year-old niece’s fever and it won’t break. Before her parents went on vacation, I promised to take care of her. Sure, she wasn’t feeling well, but it was just a fever and we were doing all the right things: Tylenol, rest and fluids. But as day two progressed, she grew more despondent and refused to drink anything. Now what?
We’ve all had to make choices about where to seek care for an unplanned health event, but today we have more choices about where to go.
Whether it’s extended hours, virtual visits or money-back guarantees, choices are transforming care delivery. Understanding how these choices shape decisions will make or break marketing strategies seeking to increase usage. That is why Market Strategies focused its latest self-funded research study on how people choose where to go when someone is sick. What we learned will help answer a question salient in the minds of every health system professional: “How do we maximize the likelihood that consumers will choose us, when deciding where to go for care?”
Ensuring that patients understand, accept and follow recommended treatment plans is the first step towards the best possible outcome—medically for the patient and financially for the healthcare delivery system. Similarly, physicians are in the best position to individualize this treatment plan to one that is optimal for the patient.
Yet all too often patients resist their physician’s recommendation immediately or at the pharmacy, or they initially accept only to abandon treatment later. Why does this happen and what can be done about it?
How we “talk” and interact has changed. Heads down. Headphones on. Thumbs moving. It’s ironic that the more we focus on our small, handheld smartphone, the more we have access to the larger world around us. When sitting on a park bench, we can call loved ones, shop at Amazon, watch Netflix, listen to Spotify and schedule appointments. Indeed, it’s not a stretch to think that most people (especially Millennials) could pretty much operate their whole world on a smartphone.
As part of our continued focus on consumerism in healthcare, Market Strategies monitors and tracks how consumers use technology. In this article, we explore telehealth with an emphasis on virtual healthcare—an attractive option to busy consumers who are now accustomed to getting what they need, the moment they need it. For healthcare consumers, this means convenient, high-quality, immediate access to care for themselves and family members that costs less than traditional office visits.
What we’re learning from our own research is helping healthcare providers, health systems and insurers offer the right tools at the right time to connect consumers with the care they expect.
In the 1951 Disney adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, our protagonist finds herself in a bit of a predicament. Eager to catch the White Rabbit as he scurries off, Alice is too large to squeeze through the door to continue her pursuit. In frustration, she calls out to the doorknob, “I simply must get through!” The doorknob replies, “Sorry, you’re much too big. Simply impassible.” Confused, Alice responds, “You mean impossible?” Doorknob: “No, impassible. Nothing’s impossible.”
Impassible versus impossible. It’s easy to see how Alice was confounded by these two very similar looking and sounding words. However, the dialogue between the doorknob and Alice is more than clever wordplay; it’s sage advice. If a path meets an obstacle, change the perspective and try again. Seemingly impassible problems are opportunities for adaptation, creative thinking and novel solutions.