One of the topics that hospital and health system leadership has on the plate for 2016 and the foreseeable future is a brand, consumerism and engagement. Though ranking lower than other concerns, it’s never the less requires critical business issues understanding with appropriately designed responses for survival in a retail consumer-driven medical market.
Let’s look at healthcare consumer and patient engagement first this week.
Healthcare consumer or patient engagement is a complex undertaking that cannot be in the pigeon-hole bucket of a simple answer or technological solution. There is no one size fits all. But there are three buckets to look at the engagement efforts to put a useful frame of reference of what is needed.
I think the illustration below conceptualizes the interrelatedness of the challenge. The complexity of the situation arises given that at any one time, the individual will occupy a different place in the model and moves freely from one to the next and vies verse, requiring different types and levels of engagement,
Some may argue that provider loyalty does not necessarily fit in the model. I would argue that from a marketing view related to ACOs, medical homes, network referral and utilization of services, risk and value-based contracts, that engagement failure to produce brand loyalty has significant financial consequences. Also for one’s consideration, is that today it is possible for a healthcare consumer to put together their network of care and for the most part never step foot on a provider inpatient or outpatient service.
Engagement is a one-on-one relationship building exercise that is continuous regardless of the healthcare consumer or patient’s place in the model.
And as written before, in today’s consumer-focused retail medical market an individual is only a patient one-third of the time one receives treatment or ongoing care. Pre and post treatment, they are back to being a healthcare consumer where one can build lasting and enduring provider brand loyalty. And that my friend comes from highly efficient and effective engagement efforts that meet the engagement needs of the individual.
The literature for years now shows the value of an engaged patient which is more compliant in treatment plans, is more highly satisfied, less likely to sue and even when the medical outcome is not optimal, still feel that they have quality medical experience.
I would postulate that in a retail medical market engagement with the external healthcare consumer is just as important as a single focus on internal engagement by the provider.
There is no one size fits all technological solution, techniques or messaging to the approach to the issue of consumer and patient engagement. It will take multiple solutions and methods based on the need of the healthcare consumer market or individual.
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