In conducting primary research and analyzing secondary research trends with healthcare/hospital marketing clients it’s clear that there is a disconnect between the way patients want to engage with their healthcare providers and the way they feel they are currently capable of engaging with these entities. You can’t work in healthcare and not hear terms like ‘better outcomes data’ or ‘evidence-based standards,’ but patients can rarely consume those data in personally meaningful ways in order to make true comparisons. Deloitte’s Center for Health Solutions discusses this issue in their 2012 Issue Brief:
“…evidence-based standards of care that are understandable and actionable to consumers need to be made available to simplify and enable consumers to engage directly…Consumers wish to engage the health system directly and purchase health services with the same energy and rationality they use when selecting cars and homes. But they are resigned to believe it is too complicated to act accordingly.”
Accountable Care and the increased focus on Population Health mean a lot of administrative and organizational upheaval. But–because I’m a glass-is-half-full-gal–it should result in improved patient-facing (read needs-based) communication. And, while some service lines or disease/condition states are more naturally situated for this change, as marketers we must continually work to put ourselves in our customer’s shoes. Real-life marketing messages like the examples below (not clients BTW) are spot on and illustrate what it looks like when you put in the time with your customers, listen to them and reflect your understanding of them in your communications. If you’re a healthcare marketer, would your patients say that about your communications?