The Financial and Emotional Upside of Marketing to Caregivers

The Financial and Emotional Upside of Marketing to CaregiversHealthcare marketers may be talking to the people who use their products—but are they talking to the people who buy their products? It’s an important distinction, and in many cases, these two stakeholders may not be the same.

In a recent self-funded study, the healthcare research team at Market Strategies International-Morpace honed in on how caregivers interact with healthcare services and products in relation to the loved one they care for. The results are striking in their implications for healthcare marketers. Nearly one-third (29%) of the adult population is responsible for caring for another adult with a debilitating medical condition. Of this group, 52% buy over the counter (OTC) medications for their loved one and in many cases without their loved one’s input—which begs the question, why aren’t more healthcare marketers actively trying to connect with caregivers?

Role in Deciding Which OTC Medication to Buy Continue reading

My Mom, a Caregiver: Portrait of an Overlooked Hero

How the Healthcare Industry Is Failing 29% of the US Population  
My Mom-a Caregiver-Portrait of a Hidden Hero

If you’re like me, you have firsthand experience watching someone you love care for the health of another person. I watched my mother care for her husband of 50 years, who battled cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Every day for nearly 12 years she made sure he was eating right, taking his medications, attending health-related appointments, and purchasing the healthcare products he needed for the day-to-day management of his conditions.

Like many caregivers, my mother was also caring for another family member at the same time. Her father needed help as he dealt with a variety of ailments as he slid into his 90s, and she had to make sure he was getting proper nutrition, accessing wound care, keeping his body active and mobile, and addressing his vision issues. Additionally, while she cared for the two men who meant the world to her, she managed to work part-time and maintain relationships with the rest of her family and friends. She is the matriarch of our family and appeared to handle the stress effortlessly. However, I recently discovered after a heart-felt conversation with her that it was not as effortless as she made it appear. Continue reading

Will Uber Health and Lyft Concierge Change Healthcare?

Will Uber Health and Lyft Concierge Change Healthcare?This year Uber and Lyft formally entered the healthcare market to offer rideshare services to nonemergency patients for transportation to scheduled doctor appointments. Patient no-shows are a prevalent problem in the US, with an estimated 3.6 million Americans reportedly missing their scheduled doctor appointments due to transportation issues each year. Rideshare services may particularly benefit older Americans, Medicaid patients and those with chronic diseases to help keep appointments and get care. Uber and Lyft have identified a wide-open opportunity that could significantly improve their business and simultaneously reduce healthcare costs and improve quality care. Continue reading

Amazon Is At It Again: Disrupting Healthcare and Pharma

Amazon Is at It Again: Disrupting Healthcare and PharmaAmazon 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?
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What’s a Health System? It Turns Out Most Consumers Don’t Know

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

Five Ways to Improve Survey Response Rates Among Physicians

Five Ways to Improve Survey Response Rates Among PhysiciansWhen 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
  • Gatekeepers

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:

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Strengthening the Patient/Provider Relationship

Strengthening the Patient/Provider Relationship

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.

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New Research: Pharmaceutical Companies are Overlooking a Key Audience

Pharmaceutical Companies are Overlooking a Key Audience

I never used to pay attention to anything in the healthcare industry. As someone young and healthy with no medical conditions, I rarely went to the doctor and ignored drug commercials. That all changed when I met my husband. After we had been dating for a while, he let me know that he had been diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis (commonly referred to as UC) when he was 20 years old, and it was not well controlled. My mindset quickly shifted, and I took on the role of a caregiver to someone with a chronic illness. Suddenly everything about the pharma industry fascinated me. I quickly went to find all the information I could on the internet, but it turns out there aren’t a ton of resources available to caregivers for this non-life threatening illness. It was frustrating, to say the least. The lack of resources directed toward caregivers of people with UC seemed to delegitimize their role as caregivers, like they are not even a part of medical decisions.

Luckily for my husband and me, my new-found fascination with the world of pharmaceuticals led me to Market Strategies, where all of my healthcare market research colleagues had seemingly endless knowledge about how to find deep information on diseases and current treatments, as well as treatments in development. I did some independent research on UC and discovered there were better options for my husband than what he was currently prescribed. With my encouragement, he found a more open-minded doctor who prescribed a new medication I had suggested. This new medication was a self-injectable. My husband is brave in a lot of ways, but shots are not his favorite thing. For this new medication to work, I would have to administer the shots. I went with him for his initial loading dose at the doctor’s. My presence at the medical office was viewed as normal, it seems a lot of patients are accompanied by caregivers. The nurse showed me how to inject the medicine and gave us some material from the drug manufacturer.

However, once we got home, it was clear that the manufacturer did not consider the possibility that someone other than the patient would be reading the materials or administering the injection. They did not acknowledge the role of a caregiver at all, which made me feel a little strange as I’m a big influence when it comes to my husband’s medical care. Even after reading the patient-facing materials, I still feel a little bit nervous when I give him his shot, even a year later. That part may come as a surprise to my husband, as I get the feeling he’s pretty confident in my ability. He has to be.

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I Love My Doctor!

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.

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Where should I go for care?

Understanding How Consumers Make Healthcare Decisions   

Where should I go for care?

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?”

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