Healthcare marketing strategy — the importance of patient experience

Here’s a really important article for healthcare marketing strategy folks from the team at Patient Engagement HIT about the imperative of improving patient experience — Patient Experience Drives Patient Loyalty Over Standard Marketing.

According to healthcare consulting firm Press Ganey in its recent white paper (cited above)…

The research outlined in this paper demonstrates that the most effective way to influence patient loyalty is through the care experience. By gaining a deep understanding of what drives patient experience, systems can align the mission of delivering safe, high-quality, patient-centered care with the business of acquiring and retaining patients.

Selected key findings in the report (here) along with our quick takeaways include:

  • Patient experience (improving patient experience) is five times more likely to influence brand loyalty than other marketing strategies — underscoring the importance of 1) providers working in a cross-functional team fashion to operationalize an improved patient experience and together determine promises to be made; and 2) for a healthcare marketing agency to widen its marketing lens beyond the confines of a campaign to help clients deliver lasting business value.
  • The majority of consumers research a physician on the Internet, even after receiving a referral from a primary care provider —  underscoring the importance of 1) organizations proactively developing and managing their online social presence; and 2) ensuring purposeful healthcare digital marketing that maps to the reality of the patient journey.
  • Consumers specifically seek out and are influenced by patient ratings and reviews — underscoring the importance of 1) building patient feedback mechanisms across multiple platforms; and 2) proactively cultivating patient ratings and reviews across all possible touchpoints.

The Shift To Consumer-Centered Care

The report reflects the overall shift toward more consumer-centered healthcare. But let’s not forget one of the central reason’s why — the heightened expectation around experience is the result of the game-changing moves on the part of Amazon, JetBlue, Apple, ZocDoc, Casper, Oscar Health, et al.

As all of these organizations upped their game/changed the game to better cater to the consumer, all aspects of traditional health care are also expected to (are demanding) change – experience, safety, care quality, and other aspects that will influence a patient’s experience of care. In summary, across all categories people today embrace companies with the customer experiences that best meet their needs. 

I’d also suggest another important takeaway here for those setting healthcare marketing strategy (of which patient experience is a major driver of loyalty). Given that consumer’s expectations aren’t framed by industry boundaries, it’s incumbent on healthcare marketing teams to look beyond those they most directly compete with – to experiential competitors (who might replace you) and perceptual competitors (who are changing customer expectations across categories).

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Trajectory is a healthcare marketing agency combining deep healthcare industry expertise with a fresh perspective to move customers, brands and business upward.  To talk about changing the trajectory of your healthcare marketing, reach out.

Eric Brody

Eric Brody is President of Trajectory, launched in 1999, the specialist health & wellness branding and marketing agency using every moment to move customers, brands and businesses upward. Prior to Trajectory, Eric served as EVP and Management Board member at Interbrand (the world’s most influential brand consultancy). Before Interbrand, he held senior marketing positions at Beiersdorf Inc. and L’Oreal and advertising account management positions at Marschalk and Benton & Bowles.He has also taught as an adjunct professor at Seton Hall’s Graduate School of Communications and has lectured at Wharton Business School and Emory Goizueta School of Business.