Smith & Jones shares many of the trends that will be essential to healthcare marketing in the coming year.
It’s a new year, and healthcare marketing is more important than ever. The effects of the ongoing pandemic have caused confusion, fear and fatigue among patients, consumers, and health care workers. The way healthcare is delivered has changed dramatically over the past two years. These changes must be addressed by healthcare marketers to create a stronger relationship with patients and consumers in their organization.
Smith & Jones shares seven trends that will be essential to healthcare marketing in the coming year.
1. Treating Fatigue
Burnout is not a new phenomenon for health care workers. Before the pandemic, staff shortages and fatigue of nurses and doctors were a concern. This has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has put pressure on health care workers and the health care system as a whole.
Smith & Jones suggests that healthcare organizations engage and work with employees to address and find solutions to their everyday frustrations. Taking steps to address burnout will help your workforce and potentially help retain it.
2. Addressing inequality
Fatigue wasn’t the only thing that came to the fore due to the pandemic. Another factor was the focus on social determinants of health (SDOH) and health equity. Several studies have been released on health disparities and disparities in racial and ethnic mortality rates from COVID-19.
Smith & Jones suggests building trust with underserved communities in your organization by adopting programs to meet their needs. It is also important to help educate and support underserved populations in your organization. Leverage partnerships to address issues such as vaccine hesitancy. Recruit a more diverse workforce that reflects the communities your organization serves.
The adoption of telemedicine and virtual care has boomed during the pandemic. Previously, telemedicine was not widely used, but due to relaxed restrictions, clinical healthcare workers were able to meet patients via video chat and phone calls to set appointments that did not require meeting the patient in person. The use of this technology is promising sustained momentum, with CMS expanding the surge for telehealth and remote patient monitoring.
Smith & Jones suggests that healthcare organizations should ensure that all of their patients understand that telemedicine is an option for their care. Through the use of communication methods such as an organization’s website, social media, email communications, and targeted advertising, healthcare organizations can educate consumers and patients. Moving forward by scheduling an online appointment, medical records, and lab results are surefire ways to increase the virtual patient experience.
4. Healthy consumption
Healthcare is becoming more and more consumer focused because of the competition that is popping up all over the place. Now, hospitals and health systems compete not only with hospitals and other health systems, but with retail companies such as Amazon and drug retail stores, as well as independent urgent care centers, and virtual on-demand care companies.
Smith & Jones suggests that organizations lean towards email marketing strategies and “consumer-centric, data-driven content” to build rapport and brand relationship with patients and local consumers. Focusing on increasing the virtual patient experience can also help keep patients coming to your organization rather than diverting them to your competitors.
5. Addressing Fear and Uncertainty
The pandemic has brought a lot of fear and anxiety in the population as a whole. This fear and anxiety can also be translated into patients’ feelings about going to a medical organization during an epidemic. During the first surge, patients were asked to stay home unless it was an emergency. Now, organizations are trying to urge patients to return and pursue check-ups and other preventable measures that were initially postponed.
Smith & Jones suggests that healthcare organizations should be upfront about their COVID-19 precautions; Announcing secure check-ins, sharing airflow improvements and deep cleaning systems, and any other steps your organization is taking to ensure patient safety. If they have not already done so, healthcare organizations should also “uncomplicate” operations and simplify patient instructions.
6. Create First Party Data
First-party data is the data your organization collects about your audience based on behaviors on your organization’s website or app, according to Smith & Jones.
Websites such as Google or mobile software such as Android and IOS only share certain information with advertisers and organizations. By collecting the data yourself, health care organizations can get a lot of information about their patients and consumers.
Smith & Jones suggests website registration, rewards and loyalty programs, as well as lead generation forms to begin collecting that data.
7. Building and maintaining trust
Needless to say, but patient and consumer trust is vital to the success of a healthcare organization. By building and maintaining the trust of your patients and community, patients will come to you above other institutions.
Smith & Jones suggests that it’s time to double down on confidence-building methods. Create a community with empathetic messages. Support the community through personal and virtual educational resources. using social media to give consumers a look behind the curtain; Share the stories of patients and the personal side of the staff who go above and beyond. Make sure your messages are kept up to date with essential COVID-19 information and other information patients may be looking for.
Melanie Blackman is the Strategy Editor at HealthLeaders, the HCPro brand.