I recently attended the 17th Annual National Summit on Healthcare Marketing Strategies conference in Orlando, Florida. If you thought healthcare marketing was tough in the past, it is becoming more technical, more strategic, and faster paced than ever before. One thing was clear at this Healthcare Marketing Strategies Summit–if your healthcare organization has not incorporated social media and an interactive marketing strategy to attract and retain patients, you need to get on board now, according to key speakers at the conference.
Marketing specialists have a big job to do. Many options are available to them to promote their organizations while satisfying ACO requirements, c-suite expectations, promoting wellness, and proving tangible returns from marketing campaigns. All this while effectively serving the patients in their communities. This complex task was address during the conference in two predominate themes: “Attract and Engage” and “Technology and Touch.”
Online tools and technology can attract and engage patients but “human touch” is necessary to retain and enhance the patient experience. A hot topic at the conference was utilizing online risk assessments on hospital web sites for high yield ROI, promoting community wellness and creating calls to action. But what do hospitals do with the information collected from these high yield tools?
Some organizations are utilizing call centers to follow-up with patients who completed a risk assessment and had a high or moderately high risk. Patients have not reported feeling that their privacy was invaded. Patients who got the call or the letter reported feeling cared for and were grateful to have an opportunity to discuss their results and next steps. It is not surprising that 80% of Americans get their health information on-line, but what is interesting is that 64% of hospitals in the United States dedicate less than 25% of their budget to social media or interactive strategies. We now know that using the latest technology such as the risk assessment tools can enable hospitals to identify high risk patients they may have never known about. The call or letter, that “human touch,” truly engaged the patient and created a lasting, positive impression.
It is time for hospitals to understand the importance of utilizing technology, social media and interactive marketing strategies as a major part of the marketing plans. These types of discussions at the conference made me excited about the direction healthcare marketing is headed in. If the future of healthcare includes a way for patients to access their health information easily, quickly and accurately (technology) AND includes human interaction (touch), this is good news for the patient, and the hospitals.
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