Medical practice leaders that want to stay ahead of their competition know how to market their practice.
Healthcare marketing has continued to be a trend with a rising focus on patient awareness and engagement. According to ReferralMD, a physician referral service, in the days of Google, patients are now more likely to research and browse health information online before making any decisions. This is a prime opportunity for practices to create content that helps them get found online, and increase their prominence in their community.
According to Becker's Hospital Review, the "2018 Healthcare Marketing Trends Playbook," analyzed statistics to predict the eight trends healthcare marketers should be taking notice of this year:
- Patient satisfaction will play a large role in reimbursement. CMS continues to base a larger portion of reimbursement on HCAHPS scores.
- Healthcare marketers must enhance employee culture. More executives are moving into roles as heads of culture (at hospitals), as issues with hospital employees can plague hospitals with low satisfaction marks.
- Sponsored content is beating traditional display ads. Ad-blocking software is one reason sponsored content is outperforming display advertising. In addition, consumers are drawn to more educational than promotional ads.
- Health-related video content is in demand. There is a hole in the market for qualified physicians to provide health information through videos without offering clinical advice.
- Web apps are bridging gaps between desktop and mobile devices. Healthcare companies thinking about building a mobile app should ensure the app can be used on multiple platforms.
- Patient portals need an upgrade. Most patient portals were launched to achieve meaningful use reimbursements from CMS; however, many were not created to improve patient engagement.
- Gaining value from data remains a daunting task. Healthcare companies looking to use data strategically may need to learn new software.
- Wellness initiatives are on the rise. While healthcare companies are creating content about wellness, next year, hospitals will need to hone in their focus on wellness by working with market participants.
According to an article by Managed Care Executive, there are a number of other factors that healthcare marketers should watch. One third of Americans say healthcare is the biggest financial burden they face, which has created an out-of-pocket ecosystem. The article warns healthcare marketers not to underestimate consumers’ willingness to comparison shop if it means they can save money.
Also, healthcare marketers should focus on retaining and making current customers, or patients, happy. According to a ReferralMD article, practices should improve and invest in their patient portals to provide a more sophisticated and user-friendly experience for their patients.
All in all, by capitalizing on trends, responding to patient needs, and adding value to patient’s lives you can become a trusted source and a partner. Modern healthcare marketing is about connecting with people, and focusing more firmly on what customers want.