The healthcare industry has experienced a massive amount of change in the last several years. The pandemic created a seismic shift in how patients expect healthcare to be delivered, with a huge expansion of the availability and acceptance of virtual care and other digital tools. Today’s consumers are generally more digital-oriented and their expectations for fully connected, personalized, and empathetic experiences have reached new heights. Healthcare is not exempt from these expectations, in fact, they’re amplified by the importance of receiving the highest quality of care available — selecting a provider can literally be a life-changing moment.
All of this has drastically changed the approach and the tools used by healthcare marketers. They are committed to providing the critical components that are required to enhance access to care, provide empathetic experiences, and ultimately build the foundation for a patient-first approach that exceeds all expectations. At the same time, they’re still responsible for driving increased patient acquisition and retention.
We recently met with Chris Pace, Chief Digital Marketing Officer at Banner Health to discuss what patient-first marketing means and how healthcare marketers can achieve it. Here are five action items that all healthcare marketers need to take in order to provide a modern and empathetic experience for their patients. You can watch the full webinar here.
1. Make Technology the Strategy
Patients are demanding digital access to care during every stage of their healthcare journey. From making their first appointment to ordering meals that meet their dietary needs while in the hospital, they expect every moment to be simple, seamless, and connected. It takes more to accomplish this than launching a few apps and opening up scheduling on your website. Patient expectations for connected care are pushing massive digital transformation efforts at every healthcare organization, and the time to act on this demand was, well, yesterday.
According to an Accenture Digital Health Technology Vision Survey, 81% of healthcare executives say the pace of digital transformation is accelerating. Some have even postulated that if you haven’t started your digital transformation efforts, it’s too late. Here’s what Chris Pace at Banner Health has to say about that.
While technology must be a the core of your patient-first strategy, it’s not a magical cure-all serum that will solve all of your problems. See what Chris has to say about using technology to enable your strategy in this clip.
It takes time, disciplined change management, and buy-in from every part of your healthcare organization to implement and execute on tech solutions for healthcare marketing, but the payoff can be immense.
2. Provide a Consumer-like Patient Experience
The highly personalized experiences that people expect from everyday interactions with consumer brands are now influencing their expectations when making healthcare decisions. Old-school one-size-fits-all approaches to healthcare marketing and providing access to care no longer fly with today’s patients.
Consumer demand for smart, personalized, and convenient experiences was amplified during the pandemic — after having anything and everything delivered with a few taps of the screen for two-plus years, it’s only reasonable. That’s why a digital-first approach is now so critical to providing a patient-first experience.
Here’s what Invoca’s Senior Director of Growth Marketing Jennifer Bassik had to say about the experiences patients are now demanding.
One of the primary challenges of providing this consumer-like experience in healthcare delivering it at scale. Just choosing what kind of appointment you need can be very complex, and so is presenting that to the patient. Watch this video to see how Chris approached the problem at Banner health.
3. Empower Choice for Patients
Today’s digitally-savvy healthcare consumers are more likely to make decisions based on their own online research. According to recent research, more than half of consumers surveyed reported using the internet to find and select a new primary care provider and they’re more than twice as likely to use digital sources than a doctor’s referral to choose a primary care doctor. This means that healthcare providers need to empower patients to choose by using technology to make sure that they can find you. Watch this video to see how Banner Health is expanding its online visibility.
From SEO to reputation management to keeping provider pages up to date, you have to optimize every channel where potential patients might be looking for you in order to accelerate acquisition. To accomplish this, you have to listen carefully to what your patients are saying. Here’s how Banner Health views the feedback loop that enables them to optimize for ever-changing patient needs.
4. Invest in Human to Human Connections
So we’ve said “digital-first” several times already, but it should be noted that does not mean “digital-only.” The number one rule of the patient-first experience is to always meet the patient where they are, not where’s most convenient or cost-effective for your organization. Given the personal nature of healthcare, it should come as no surprise that human-to-human connections are extremely important. According to the Invoca Buyer Experience Benchmark Report, 67% of people looking for a healthcare provider will call at some point before making an appointment. This means that healthcare provider contact center agents are at the frontline of care, and you need to provide them with the right technology to provide empathetic and personalized experiences.
5. Enable Empathy with Unified Data
We all know what empathy means, but things get a little fuzzy when thinking about how to enable empathy at scale. When there are millions of potential touchpoints and conversations occurring with tens of thousands of patients, how can you help every part of the organization that interacts with them provide a more empathetic experience?
As Chris said in the previous video, it all starts with the democratization of data across the healthcare organization. Listen to what he has to say about using unified data to enable more empathetic experiences at scale in this video.
The long and short of it is that when everyone has access to the same tools and insights, they can all work together to provide superior patient care, increase access, and assure better outcomes for everyone.