Undisputedly, the healthcare industry is evolving but providing patient-centered care will always remain the industry’s core concern. The IOM (Institute of Medicine) defines patient-centered care as: “Providing care that is respectful of, and responsive to, individual patient preferences, needs and values, and ensuring that patient values guide all clinical decisions. Healthcare marketers should take note when developing brand strategies.
Every day, we’re seeing changes in the way care is delivered, new treatments, and new technological advancements that are redefining the patient experience. Value-based performance is pushing hospitals and providers to achieve many more financial objectives, with improving the “patient experience” being an extremely important measure of success.
As health systems transition to value-based care, changes have lead to shifts in consumer behavior. Consumers are more involved than ever when it comes to making healthcare decisions and they have higher expectations. They have growing demands for value, transparency, and experience. Healthcare marketer’s role in improving the patient experience is more important than ever. Without a positive patient experience, you can’t build brand loyalty. While marketers are not directly involved in providing patient care, applying market and consumer insight to develop consumer-centric brand strategies is an integral part of improving the overall experience.
Two things marketers need to consider to improve patient experience.
1. Use what you know about your patients to create experiences people appreciate.
The key to improving a consumer’s healthcare experience is knowing what the consumer wants and needs from their experience. This seems like a given, but it’s often overlooked in the healthcare industry. It’s critical to conduct research and have an infrastructure in place to capture feedback of patients and families throughout the healthcare journey. Health systems can also tap into social media, online reviews and other resources for added insight. At different stages in consumer’s life, the expectations and priorities vary significantly. Healthcare marketers need to dissect the various consumer segments to better understand consumer preferences and expectations.
2. Consider all the steps in the customer journey as opportunities for improvement.
Patient journey mapping puts marketers in the patient’s shoes and can help uncover opportunities for improvement. Healthcare consumer journeys can vary drastically based on the overall level of care or service needed, but the majority of them begin online. The digital experience precedes the physical experiences for an increasing number of consumers. Consumers are seeking everything from a physician recommendation to quality ratings and pricing information. Ensuring your website content is relevant, informative and engaging is key. Establishing trust with consumers is equally important and this can be increased by using an authentic tone and humanizing the care team throughout all stages of the customer journey.