Historically, patients would see a family doctor and stick with that physician out of loyalty, familiarity, and maintaining multi-generational relationships. Unfortunately, that model is quickly becoming a thing of the past. Today’s patients are opting for choosing physicians based on online reviews, which is leading to healthcare consumerism.
In our modern, digital-everything society, consumers are taking an active role in purchasing healthcare services and they expect the same level of quality service as they do when shopping for a computer or television.
As more and more people switch to “buying healthcare” based on customer experience and convenience, it is more important than ever that healthcare organizations deliberately design quality-focused patient experiences.
To help healthcare organizations grow their consumer patient bases and retain existing patients, we have put together our top six tips for effective healthcare marketing.
Many healthcare organizations are implementing telehealth to support the increasing demands of patient satisfaction. No longer is telehealth considered a convenient luxury; now patients are tapping their watches and silently demanding telehealth services be made available to them.
Research shows that telehealth interactions are expected to grow in the U.S. at a compounding annual growth rate of 27.5% – reaching $9.35 billion by 2021.
Adding telemedicine services can simultaneously increase your revenue with existing patients while allowing you to reach new demographics that are looking for telemedicine providers.
According to the Census Bureau, there are over 80 million millennials in the United States driving the national trend toward healthcare consumerism. Soon, this population will make up a large portion of healthcare consumers who are wanting a more user-friendly, tech-enabled experience with their healthcare.
Moreover, millennials are now considered the largest growing patient population and will represent the majority of your patients within a couple of years.
Telehealth over office visits, the demand will only increase with this growing demographic. Providing a HIPAA-compliant video-rich telehealth platform will allow for the highest convenience and the highest engagement while also being the lowest cost solution to implement.
In addition to catering to millennial preferences for technology, for some, technology is a necessary conduit to care. With 65 million people living in a “primary care desert,” geography poses a challenge for patients residing in rural communities.
Telehealth expands a healthcare system’s virtual walls to provide better quality care to the community at large, regardless of the patient’s location. Furthermore, a telehealth solution reduces challenges such as lack of transportation, poor communication, and accessibility to specialists.
Telehealth solutions provide hospitals, group practitioners, and single physician offices the ability to deliver convenient and quality healthcare with flexible billing options – all from the comfort of the patient’s home.
Healthcare organizations – both large and small – that embrace new technology such as telehealth will have a chance at capturing a larger portion of these millennial and geographically distanced audiences for their business. For more information on how to implement a telehealth solution within your current healthcare operation, contact us today.
Video is becoming the medium of choice when consuming content. A report released by HubSpot shows that about 45% of people spend more than one hour a day watching videos.
In the healthcare industry, videos are driving increased patient engagement as individuals turn to the internet in an attempt to diagnose themselves. More times than not, this hunt for information results in a doctor’s appointment.
Therefore, if healthcare providers want to attract more patients, they must create relevant high-quality content that answers patients’ medical questions and place it where it is most likely to be found: online.
One way healthcare providers can implement video in their marketing is, rather than posting a written blog to their social media platform or website, to create a short video. To simplify the content creation process, spend an afternoon filming a series of Q&A-style sessions in which your organization’s physicians answer frequently asked or general medical questions.
You can also create a health education series or provide tips and tricks to healthy living. Creating and publishing these videos will also increase social media engagement, giving patients the opportunity to get correct answers to important health questions while strengthening your brand recognition.
Search engines and social media platforms are vital components of how people find healthcare providers. In particular, your online reviews are one of the most important factors that make up your online presence.
Research has found that people trust online reviews almost as much as feedback from friends and family. Your online reviews can highlight many positive aspects of your healthcare organization, such as quality of care, smooth billing transactions, or the ease and convenience of booking an appointment.
Therefore, it is important to control your online reputation and prevent it from ever spinning out of control.
Providing patients with satisfaction surveys can not only provide valuable feedback for your organization but also effectively manage your online reputation by allowing you to catch and rectify poor patient experiences before they are published online.
Negative reviews can discourage patients from seeking out your services and reflect poorly on your healthcare organization. Be sure to develop processes to address negative reviews and prevent those issues from occurring again.
Negative reviews can also provide insight into broken systems within your organization. For instance, a common frustration among patients is the billing process. The patient may not understand the terminology, overly complicated billing procedures, or the period of time it takes to receive the final bill.
To address this issue, it is important to review your RCM strategy to ensure your technology is current, your staff is properly trained, and your organization is providing clear and open communication with your patients.
Patient experience involves every interaction the consumer has with your healthcare organization, whether in person or online. You want to provide answers to questions quickly. If you fail to do so, the patient will move on to your competition.
Ensure your website is easy to navigate, loads quickly, is mobile-friendly, includes patient-focused content in both written and video form, and features a variety of easy-to-find ways to interact with your organization. Common, patient-friendly tools to provide on your website include offering:
• Online booking of appointments
• Telehealth video appointments
• Text reminders
• Customer service chatbots for quick questions and responses
Providing these additional options also factors into Google’s ranking algorithms. If your site is confusing or causes site visitors to “bounce” away (aka, leave quickly) from your website, Google will not rank your site well and you risk being overshadowed by a competitor with a more user-friendly website.
Social media has changed the way we “do life.” It has become a powerful tool in how individuals consume information, purchase products, select services, interact with friends and family, and connect with different groups of people.
In fact, according to recent research, about 42% of the population worldwide uses social media on a daily basis. This breaks down to about 48.2% of baby boomers, 77.5% of Gen Xers, and 90.4% of millennials – all of whom are potential patients for your healthcare organization.
Healthcare providers need to embrace and use social media platforms as an educational tool to share healthcare information such as important health-related issues, trending health concerns, and groundbreaking treatments or technologies.
Using a variety of tactics – such as publishing content regularly, interacting with your audience by commenting, liking, and sharing posts, using and following relevant hashtags, and boosting your most popular posts – will maximize your reach.
Social media is an effective method of staying in front of potentially new and existing patients, strengthening the relationship your organization has with the community, and building brand creditability. Social media is also a natural and easy platform for posting video, allowing you to deliver the right content to the right people in the right place.
As America as a whole leans more toward healthcare consumerism, organizations must incorporate consumer-friendly tactics to maintain their current patient populations and to attract new patients.
If your healthcare organization is struggling to keep up with emerging healthcare marketing trends, get in touch with us. At John Lynch & Associates, we help organizations by advancing healthcare and strengthening your organization to thrive now and into the future.
Join hundreds of industry leaders and get our perspective on critical issues healthcare organizations face in a demanding environment, delivered to your inbox.