What effect will the connected Patient have on our healthcare marketing strategy?
Much more hearing healthcare information is available today than at any time in our history. The introduction of the baby boomer generation to our target market is only going to accelerate the information exchange. We have to consider that freely available online information will include outcomes and reviews of professionals. It will bring ever greater transparency to our profession. The challenge for us is not only how can we market in that environment. But also can we somehow leverage that information and change to our benefit? Think about the following scenario,
You have fitted a Patient with a low end system because that is all they were willing to Purchase. Despite desperately trying to manage their expectations, they are unhappy with the instruments performance down the pub on a manic Saturday night. The Patient is a connected or networked Patient. What do you think the Patient is saying about you in social media circles.
Welcome to the age of disruptive technology
Our future Patients are people who have real curiosity about their health conditions. They expect to have an active role in making decisions relating to their healthcare. They expect and actively demand clear and in-depth information relating to their healthcare treatment. These people are active on the internet, using social media to connect to their network. They read blogs, web sites, and seek out others like them to learn and exchange information. They read and study about health in general and their health condition or conditions specifically.
They ask questions, lots of questions, they will actively seek out alternatives. They look at healthcare providers from a quality standpoint and will certainly make judgments based on reviews of providers and outcomes information. They will be the most active Patients we have ever had to deal with, they will want to know what is the benefit for them for doing business with you?
So how will we adapt our healthcare marketing to reach and attract these people?
Your brand, your brand promise and brand communication is all important to this type of Patient. You need to ensure that you talk about the patient experience and their outcomes. These Patients are sophisticated with a good understanding of both their health condition and marketing. Don’t insult this patient with healthcare marketing that is in anyway fluff, that is all about you or is in anyway condescending.
Ensure you use Patient testimonials, use written, audio and video testimonials. Do not fake any of them, do not edit them to jettison the difficult points. All communication needs to be personalized talking to the Patient not at them. Use all available communication channels, consider apps, email, social media, your web site, text messaging, etc..
So how are we to deal with this Patient, connect to them? We need to communicate with them where they live, online in all the channels they frequent. We need to manage our Patients effectively, we need to encourage them to review us, to add testimonials, to discuss their outcomes with our services. We also need to carefully look at our existing healthcare marketing strategy.
I have heard it said that the age of the healthcare consumer is upon us, healthcare providers from other disciplines have begun to recognise this. Perhaps we should as well.