If the last thirty-six months have taught us anything, it’s that innovation is one of the most important determinants of success since the beginning of the pandemic. In today’s competitive healthcare landscape, organizations must not only focus on delivering high-quality care, but also on engaging with patients and their families in meaningful, human-centered ways. Healthcare organizations that adopt patient-centric and human-centered design and marketing strategies create meaningful experiences for patients, foster a more personalized connection with them, and maximize opportunities for engagement. This is the DNA of a thriving healthcare marketing team.
The case for being patient-centric.
Patient-centricity is a rapidly emerging trend in healthcare, defined by an organization’s approach to the development, delivery, and assessment of its products and services with a focus on meeting the needs and expectations of its patients. Truly patient-centric organizations consider the total experience of their patients, including the patient’s physical environment, the degree to which they interact with their providers, and the quality and timeliness of the care they receive.
This same approach allows people to be treated as individuals with specific needs, and to be met where they live every day. Unfortunately, too many healthcare marketers are putting good money after bad through outmoded promotion of new physicians, newly acquired technologies, or old brand paradigms across “integrated” channels.
Instead, your teams should be focused on solving tomorrow’s issues today. In 2022, U.S. consumers spent more than $300 billion on goods and services they consider important to improving their health, including direct patient care, and health and wellness services.
The ROI for patient-centric models is clear. A recent McKinsey survey demonstrated that satisfied patients who use patient-centric models report having 36 percent fewer visits. More importantly, they are 28 percent less likely to switch providers, and are five to six times more likely to use other services from the same provider. Retention and growth are both driven by more patient-centric approaches.
Ultimately, marketers who begin thinking differently about this year’s challenges—finding a way to envision what and how patients will engage their brands differently than they do today—will find the competitive advantage.
Integrating human-centered design
Ok, let’s say that you agree, or are at least interested in finding new solutions to old problems. That’s terrific. Now, your team just needs the skills to get there.
Human-centered design is the creative problem-solving approach emphasizing the needs, values, and preferences of the people affected by your health system. Rather than relying solely on traditional survey methods or focus groups, this design approach involves actively engaging with patients and their families in a collaborative and iterative process that focuses on understanding user needs and creating tailored solutions. This type of design integrates qualitative user research and data-driven analysis to ensure that the product or service meets the needs, wants, and concerns of the intended users.
Historically speaking, most health system marketers place an emphasis on promoting a service, technology or new provider as the catalyst for growth. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re thinking about what the consumer (or patient) wants or needs. Moreover, they’re also typically not trying to find a proactive solution to what the prospective patient needs in order to create that critical engagement with their brand.
Combining patient-centricity and human-centered design principles can facilitate the development of effective marketing and engagement programs that are geared toward individuals and their specific needs. To be successful, healthcare marketers must actively seek feedback from patients and their families to better understand what matters most to them and to ensure that their products and services reflect the unique needs and interests of the patient population. The most profound methods include gathering individual patient stories and insights, testing prototypes and experience concepts with patients, and refining marketing strategies based on the feedback received.
Drive performance in 2023
By consolidating patient-centric and human-centered design principles, healthcare organizations can develop effective marketing strategies that build long-term relationships with their patients and create meaningful experiences for them and their families. This approach can catapult your team’s ability to enhance patient satisfaction, increase patient engagement and loyalty, and help your health system better meet its patients’ needs and improve its bottom line!