COVID-19 safety and prevention protocols normalized advances like virtual visits that otherwise would have taken years to gain acceptance. Consumers and healthcare organizations alike benefitted. They’re clamoring for more.
Patients are now seeking — no, demanding — more information, choices and value from healthcare organizations. This shift brings implications for marketing. And, we are here for it.
Read on for 3 tips that can help your organization make the most of consumerism’s impact on healthcare.
What Does Healthcare Consumerism Mean for Marketers?
It requires adopting best practices from other industries but with a few tweaks. Let’s start with some of the basic healthcare consumerism principles:
- Telehealth is a must: Some consumers do not want to go to a physical location unless they absolutely have to. This is true even now when many people are vaccinated.
- Give people options: Appointment times. Treatments. Price. You name it. Consumers can tailor experiences in other industries. Healthcare shouldn’t be different.
- Data is good: Provider recommendations and insurance requirements are not the only factors driving care-seeking behaviors. Consumers base their decisions off a variety of inputs, including convenience and ratings from fellow patients.
- Value is relative: For a complex problem or chronic disease, many will pay up for providers who are recognized for delivering high-quality care. A study published in Health Affairs suggested patients are willing to pay more out of pocket for total joint replacements at a hospital with a higher star rating than at an average hospital. Meanwhile, some patients associate value with factors that have nothing to do with cost, such as providers who get to know patients as individuals and build lasting relationships. (Read on to see more examples in Tip #3 below.)
Step Up Your Marketing Game: 3 Tips Based on Consumerism
Consumerism in marketing is all about building out content and online capabilities that make it easier for users to interact with your brand on their terms.
Here’s how to do it:
Tip 1: Shine a spotlight on telehealth offerings
Now that telehealth is mainstream, your marketing efforts should be more intentional. It’s no longer enough to say, “We offer virtual visits.” Telehealth is so much more. And you’ll achieve greater adoption if you market your services properly.
Consider these techniques for marketing your telehealth services:
- Create a digital front door for your telehealth services, the way University of Utah Health
- List the medical specialties that offer virtual visits. Johns Hopkins’ virtual visit page is an excellent example.
- Send virtual visit reminders and surveys after appointments, just like you probably do for in-person visits.
Create content that speaks to users seeking a variety of telehealth services, which may include:
- Virtual visits
- Remote patient monitoring
- Patient portal
Let patients know what you offer and how to access it. Consider asking for feedback so you can continually improve your offerings. Read our eBook: 7 Best Practices for Long-term Telehealth Marketing Success.
Tip 2: Put the information consumers want at their fingertips
A consumerism-forward approach considers the information people need to make good care decisions — and makes it easy to find. Let’s say a user needs a colonoscopy. They want to know more about providers, price and location without having to make phone calls.
Knowing that consumers have lots of choices, you can help your organization stand out by optimizing key areas of your website:
Enhance provider profiles: Typical profiles mention a provider’s specialty and training. But consumers want to know the person behind the headshot. Expand profiles with bios, guest blog posts, patient satisfaction data and short videos. Use our guide to write the best physician profiles.
Display pricing information: Are colonoscopy prices easy to find? Or is your hospital meeting federal price transparency mandates with lengthy lists buried within hospital-specific pages? With higher out-of-pocket costs becoming the norm, so too is inquiring about elective procedure pricing.
Don’t make consumers root around for this information. Consider linking to pricing information from web pages that mention elective procedures.Don’t make consumers root around for pricing details on healthcare websites. Consider linking to pricing info from web pages that mention elective procedures. #hcmktg Click To Tweet
Promote consumer-friendly perks: Your organization likely has consumer-friendly perks that only your current patients know about. Do you offer same-day appointments? Can people make or modify appointments online? Are test results typically available in your patient portal within one day? Do you have early morning or evening hours?
These are precisely the kinds of offerings that could convert website visitors to new patients. Find out which perks are in high demand and highlight them in your web content, blog about them or weave mentions into your social media posts.Your organization likely has consumer-friendly perks that only your current patients know about. Find out which perks are in high demand & highlight them in your web content. #hcmktg Click To Tweet
Tip #3: Remember that value isn’t always monetary
Everyone wants value, but each person’s definition is different. Sure, it’s often about minimizing out-of-pocket costs. But the human factor also plays a significant role in driving patient loyalty.
There could be marketing gold hiding in the values of your organization or simple actions of service line teams. Let consumers know about:
- Specialized services available close to home
- Teams that quickly respond to questions
- Coordination that keeps care moving forward
- Friendly staff who make going to the doctor as pleasant an experience as possible
This post is the third in a 4-part series about healthcare consumerism.
Catch up on all things healthcare consumerism by reading our first two posts:
- Consumerism in Healthcare Isn’t So Different After All
- Your Hospital & Consumerism: 5 Examples (Such as Price Transparency)
And stay tuned for our final post about the role of convenience in healthcare consumerism.