Healthcare marketing insights: Trajectory study results

Trajectory Uncovers How Women Feel About Their Primary Physician Relationships

The qualitative survey among Trajectory’s proprietary database of HerView™ participants sheds light on how women feel about their primary care physician relationships. How do they characterize the care they’re receiving today; and what other factors play into their opinions?

Five key findings reveal the changing nature of this relationship, and are important for physician practices, healthcare marketers and healthcare leadership. For many patients, primary care physicians are the front line of the healthcare system or hospital experience and are therefore a key driver of brand perception, loyalty and growth.

So, how do women feel about their primary care physicians? Highlights include:

1. Survey participants know that their physicians have many patients to see each day. But from the patient’s point-of-view, the system has created a “get us in, get us out” mentality. And with this, “personal touch” can sometimes take a back seat.

2. They feel doctors do a good job of taking care of their physical ailments. But given the situation described above, patients’ emotional needs are lagging. And this impacts the perception of your practice, group, hospital or health system.

3. These women feel that there’s a lack of true collaboration between their primary care physicians and extended care teams (e.g. specialists, nutritionists, etc.). For many, the concept of a Medical Home, with their primary physician as the hub, doesn’t yet exist.

4. Perceptions relate to the entire office visit experience, i.e. “we either have to wait months for an appointment”, or “wait longer than we should in a crowded waiting room with few amenities.” The cited other businesses that enrich the waiting experience (for less real important needs) and wonder why physician’s offices can’t adapt similar practices.

5. Concierge medicine, while more expensive, offers many advantages. This is particularly true for women who are pressed for time juggling career and family. Care is more personalized, on their schedule, and affords opportunity for real dialogue.

So what are the implications of these findings:

1. Blueprint each step of the end-to-end patient experience (from the patient perspective). Eliminate those that don’t add value. Find ways to “streamline” other steps to add more value. And find innovate ways to create new value for patients.

2. Hire specialists to oversee marketing and patient experience – those who can work together to operationalize a customer-centric approach to the business so that the physicians can focus solely on the clinical (and personal) aspects of care.

3. Offer a patient portal to allow patients to interact with staff prior to their visit and to streamline the process, e.g. filling out paperwork and scheduling. Patients gain peace of mind and staff can be more personal and welcoming.

4. Change your mindset from caring for (captive) patients to customers – who are receiving higher quality customer service from other kinds of companies with whom they interact in their daily lives. Remember that great experiences (and poor ones) are talked about, shared and actively lead to (or negate) referrals.

5. Poll your patients. Seek to understand their feelings and opinions. Simply having them be satisfied is not a good place for you (or them) to be. Actively listen and act, so you can foster longer-term relationships and enhance your overall brand value.

If you’d like to learn more, or to discuss further, please email me at eb@trajectory4brands.com.

Eric Brody

Eric Brody is President of Trajectory, a brand and marketing firm specializing in creating momentum for businesses across the health + wellness continuum. The common threads are consumers who want to get well, stay well and play well, and brands that fulfill these aspirations and goals.

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