Recently, Aaron Clifford, Senior Vice President of Marketing for Binary Fountain, shared some thoughts on the Healthcare Internet Conference (known to nearly all as the HCIC), which convened in Austin in late October.
Aaron reports that judging by what he saw and heard at HCIC, the patient journey is rapidly becoming the digital patient experience. This journey doesn’t begin in the emergency department or in the physician’s waiting room, it begins on a digital device, either a computer or more likely, a mobile device. One presentation included the amazing statistic that people now average 3.6 hours per day getting information on a mobile device, versus 2.5 on a laptop or desktop computer.
In the near-term future of healthcare marketing, says Aaron, significant emphasis will be on what content should be presented to healthcare consumers, especially at the beginning of their digital journey. When they first land on a provider’s or physician’s site, will they be able to quickly find their way to what they need?
Artificial Intelligence will play a greater role in this patient journey, growing more important with time. A general session called Preparing for 2020: Owning the Patient Journey and Owning Your Data featured Brian Cusack, Health Systems Industry Director for Google. Brian discussed the fact most patient experiences and touch points – whether researching a physician, making appointments or pursuing post-care follow-up, occur outside the doctor’s office or the healthcare facility. Aaron reports that Brian discussed ways that marketers can connect digital with physical data at every stage of the patient journey, and how that data can be used in patient acquisition.
Search functions and taxonomy are vital to the patient journey, and a session on physician directory information featuring KYRUUS showed how to improve the provider database in a way that maps symptom to condition to physician specialty to treatment.
Assisting the site visitor is essential, and several sessions focused on how to do this, says Aaron. One on chatbots showed how interactive sessions can gather health data, provide the patient with relevant information and offer a smooth and accurate way to register a patient or set appointments. There was even a prediction that, a mere five years from now, chat sessions could replace many web sites as a utility for interacting with patients.
Transparency is a trend that will continue, Aaron observes. At present, both quality and pricing transparency lag behind the patients’ desire for information. Still, the majority of providers don’t display reviews.
It’s clear from information presented at HCIC that marketers must understand and adapt to the things that motivate patient choice.
A general session presentation by the author and multi-industry consultant Jay Baer offered powerful ideas from many industries outside healthcare on the ROI of content, and how to reap the most by marketing, reusing and promoting content.
Aaron also described the innovative approach offered by UbiCare to help keep patients on track to follow through on surgery appointments. Physicians and providers can provide tailored preparation instructions to help avoid costly same-day cancellations. Aaron reports the presentation offered useful ROI points on surgeries saved, operating room and staff scheduling, and patient experience.
One important insight Aaron drew from HCIC is this: healthcare must do more with less with reimbursements declining and the patient population and demand for care increasing.
PODCAST BONUS: At HCIC Aaron was a panelist, along Tony Huth, EVP and Co-Founder of Medicom Health, and Peter Alperin, VP at Doximity, on a Touchpoint podcast recorded before a live audience. With hosts Chris Boyer and Reed Smith, the panel explored the digital experience for both patients and physicians, discussed trends in online reputation management and ways that hospitals and physicians can leverage outside vendors for greater success. The show included a lively conversation on who drives the digital transformation in healthcare, with questions and insights from audience members. You can listen to the hour-long podcast here.
About the Author
Zargham help healthcare organizations better understand their healthcare consumer challenges and needs, in order to efficiently manage and improve patient satisfaction.