Sunday, February 3, 2013

Is patient engagement really that hard?

It's not, but from what I can tell, organizations aren't making nearly the changes at the pace they need to engage the healthcare consumer. Individuals and families are facing more out-of-pocket expense too as employers shift the cost of care to employees. Ditto everyone else for that matter too, government or private. When people pay more, they pay attention. Attention to the price. Attention to the experience. Attention to you. Attention to your marketing and brand.

Hint- Its more than an outbound call from a nurse or physician extender.

Here are nine patient engagement strategies you need to employ:

1. Integrate your engagement solutions. That means information is delivered seamlessly to patients, so that they can interact with you any way they want, when they want too.

2. Marketing should be using both push and pull messaging. Messaging needs to be relevant to the patient at the point in time that they need it. Personalized, customized, aware of the cultural heritage and influences tailored to them.

3. Patient incentives and motivational techniques will be needed to keep patient engaged. That doesn't mean cash. Look to the gaming industry for gaming technology and gaming prediction, for ways to engage without cash. Be creative. Look outside healthcare for ideas, tools and techniques to engage. After all, patients are people too.

4.Create a sense of community. You have to compete for patients, especially if you are forming an ACO or employing physicians. You need to feed the beast. You have to get into the inner circle of your audiences and become the trusted advisor. It's not just about loyalty. You need to shape patient behaviors to the point where they will recommend you.

5. Know your audience and with who you are speaking too. This is really back-to-basics CRM understanding. Gender, age, integration of risk assessments, culture etc. You cannot engage the patient unless you are intimately knowledgeable about them, their needs and how to tailor the information they need to engage them.

6. Test and measure. This is no time to be reactive. You have to know how to approach patients and engage them, You don't have the answers. The only way to can figure out if it's working is to test and measure in a very methodical way.

7. Fast Failure. We live in a world of technology and you need to run a multifaceted ,highly integrated campaign. With web, text messaging, mobile messaging, QR codes etc, if you structure it appropriately, and this is a big if, and you are testing and measuring, you will know if it's working or not. If your marketing model, is not working, get out. Get out quickly and allocate those resources elsewhere. Failure is successful because you learn from it. Fail fast.

8. Know the influence of the patients culture on behavior to engage them. You need to know who the individual is culturally, their affinity groups, and religious beliefs to name just a few items, beyond gender and age.

9. Time it right and add value. If you health messaging is not resonating with the patient when they receive it, then you have lost them. Communicate relevant messages to a committed patient right before healthcare decisions are made. That means knowing the patient like you have never known them in the past. For example, a patient or healthcare consumer, going to a restaurant to eat, or a supermarket to purchase groceries, means sending them health messages at that time, in order to enable them to make the right food choices. It's not impossible.

Patients are moving from passive healthcare participants to active healthcare participants. That's why you engage them. So when your satisfaction scores drop and you lose those quality payments, you'll wish you started with patient engagement at the very beginning and not as an afterthought.

Michael Krivich is an internationally followed healthcare marketing blogger with over 5,000 monthly pages views in over 52 countries worldwide on Healthcare Marketing Matters. He is founder of the michael J group, a healthcare marketing consultancy dedicated to creating value through strategic marketing for hospitals and health system regardless of payment mechanism, either fee-for-service or value-based to increase market-share, revenue , brand and demonstrate actual return on marketing investment. Michael is a Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives and a Professional Certified Marketer, American Marketing Association. Like us on facebook at the michael J group.


Nabeela Kajani said...

Health care organizations need to take a look at what pharma does to engage consumers.

the busy group said...

CES just put on a digital health summit to address health marketing and technology. I'm amazed more hospitals don't do it.

Ross Taylor said...

Thanks, for the post. Here very well explained the patient engagement strategy details that's must require to employ. I know that's really hard but we need to manage that perfectly. Today, every employee has require a health care facility. Health Market Report