It is no secret that technology has become a massive factor in our everyday lives. A 2013 Pew Research Center Report states that “72% of internet users said they looked online for health information within the past year.” Why aren’t our hospital organization’s marketing strategies reflecting these changes? Without efficient medical office management software, healthcare marketing can feel like a never-ending field of obstacles with new advancements and services happening daily. As we progress, patients are no longer just patients but consumers too. Innovate strategies that focus on creating a pleasant and efficient patient experience across the board (web and in-person) to not only draw in new patients but also serve loyal patients.
As the healthcare industry continues to dive into the digital realm, reevaluate how your hospital organization serves their patients from digital all the way to your waiting room:
Know Your Target Audience
Panorama Orthopedics & Spine Center director of marketing and business development, Michele Bergh explains the importance of understanding your target market within the digital realm and real life. A well-defined user profile will enable your healthcare organization to efficiently create marketing materials (both digital and print) that best reflect your patients. Before immersing your team in strategy development, utilize a medical office management software to get to know your patients’ wants and needs.
This stage of research is also a time to discover what competitors are doing and ask the question of what issues may need to be addressed. Do not shy away from asking patients themselves for feedback on your current state, then adjusting your plan accordingly.
Create a Well Thought Out Strategy
The development of your marketing strategy should be centered around the company’s goals and measures of success. In a webinar by Marketware, CEO and creative director of Gold Medical Marketing, Daniel Goldberg, explains that all marketing efforts should be focused on bringing patients back to your hospital organization’s website. He then goes on to address two of the greatest challenges marketing teams face within their efforts: 1) Which channels to utilize, 2) Tracking of Results.
Your strategy will highly reflect your organization’s goals, so ensure that goals are specific and data-driven. Your marketing strategy should answer the questions of whether or not the user can accomplish their healthcare goal and if the user or patient had the best possible experience navigating your website or visiting your organization.
Demonstrate Thought Leadership
There is a clear benefit to innovative marketing; implementing a strategic marketing plan can throw you on the board above your competitors that are slow to adopt. Your plan should aim to reflect and influence goals without forgetting strategic innovation. Engaging content creation will reach the most people within each of your marketing touchpoints.
A less traditional form of innovation would be to create an app or webpages dedicated toward the care of your patients. According to The UX Blog, “More than ninety percent of people partake in personal healthcare engagement in their own home and communities.” Michele Bergh, Panorama Orthopedics, added “Identify Your Condition” and “Find a Doctor” modules to their website in addition to physician profiles. Through implementing an app or even a blog dedicated to helping your patients, your organization can partake in time not spent in treatment rooms.
Get Rid of Unpleasant Wait Times
Unpleasant wait times can occur in the waiting room or online. Patients visiting your healthcare organization are most likely not visiting under pleasant circumstances. In 2016, almost 80% of all network traffic comes from a mobile device. A user decides to stay on a site within 10 seconds of visiting; if your website is not optimized for mobile devices, it can be difficult to attract and keep patients. Websites should be easy and quick to navigate on both mobile and desktop while waiting rooms should be thoughtful and clean.
The Mobile Universe – Mobile / Desktop
*Source: Daniel Goldberg; Gold Medical Marketing
Steelcase Hospital demonstrated thought leadership through the redesign of their waiting room. They added charging stations at patients’ seats, rearranged seating based on data, and provided new means of entertainment. Steelcase Hospital further demonstrated their wish to serve patients through providing a liaison between treatment rooms and the waiting room to update patients on their appointments. This redesign impressed patients beyond measure.
Utilize a Medical Office Management Software to Test your Strategy
All marketing efforts should involve a medical office management software to track the number of patients and ROI for each campaign. To gain the most insight on new and returning patients, track patients from three months to a year. Then, consistently ask for feedback from customers, physicians, and people involved in your healthcare organization at all levels. An efficient way of testing your strategy is to create a focus group revolving around the user experience within your organization. Is your website easy to navigate? Are people able to find what they are looking for quickly and at ease? Is your waiting room increasing satisfaction through new forms of entertainment and other innovations? Or, is it making patients more irritable? Do your website and waiting room reflect the goals of your organization?
The role of a healthcare marketer can become increasingly overwhelming. However, with a strategic plan that reflects old traditions with new technologies, it does not have to be. As healthcare organizations become more involved in technology, view this as a new opportunity to be innovative in your design strategy and increase patient satisfaction.