Hospitals across the country are trying to find ways to improve the patient experience, in service lines like bariatrics to maternity. Traditional marketing strategies for hospitals have been rather broad, typically involving a single mobile app, website, or social presence as a means for communication. The question becomes how do you market to various patients groups, and what are the benefits? In this blog, I’ll share 3 reasons why your health system should have a service line marketing strategy.
Millennials are entering the healthcare system in record numbers
Millennials are entering the healthcare system in record numbers, and with that comes a different set of expectations from generations past. Patients are comparing your services to that of the private sector – from the airline industry, ride-sharing services, to check-in at the salon. While big public companies are investing billions in trying to reach these niche consumers, health systems are simply trying to find ways to compete most times with fewer resources.
Take mobile apps, for example. With mobile being the backbone for improving these experiences, forward-thinking organizations that decide to act now by trying something different are winning over patients, and doing it for less than you might think. I personally know a coworker who recently chose one hospital over another for the simple fact that their pregnancy experience was far better for new parents because an app was available. In a competitive market, these first time patients are taking notes. By providing a great first experience, you could be unlocking lifelong revenue and loyalty.
Patients know that your services exist, but it’s how they are being promoted when compared to other alternatives that matter. How satisfied are patients that undergo knee replacement surgery (for example)? Is their experience worthy of being talked about in social circles?
One size does not fit all
Whether it is your OB/GYN service line or bariatrics, the one-size-fits all strategy is becoming more outdated. From a technology perspective, simply having a general mobile application with a page or two on pregnancy services just isn’t cutting it anymore. Limited marketing resources have been the reason for inaction by many hospitals, but technology is making it more cost-effective than ever. Studies have shown that it can be up to twenty-five times more expensive to attract a new customer than to retain a current one. I’d argue the same applies to patients – which is why a strategy for keeping them engaged is critical.
To help hospitals get the most out of their technology and marketing budgets, we’ve been helping hospitals make mobile apps easier to launch for service lines like:
- Respiratory Care
- ER/Urgent Care
The benefit is that one health system can completely build out separate solutions for different service lines using one platform. To learn more about our blueprints program, click here.
Understand your target audience
If you think about how you might market one service line vs another, consider the demographic you are trying to reach. One thing South Shore Hospital in Massachusetts found was that millennial parents actually prefer consuming information in a mobile app (which is obviously not surprising). Considering the alternative is a binder filled with pages (that often ends up on someone’s car floorboard), a mobile app definitely sounds like the more attractive option.
They are now only printing these packets on-demand, and are saving thousands in annual printing costs. To learn more about their current mobile strategy, click here to check out the case study.
Mobile app adoption in South Shore’s OB/GYN service line did not take long, considering millennials are outpacing previous generations in new births each year. One misconception out there we hear from hospitals is that most of their patients are older, and therefore mobile isn’t seen as practical. The reality is that the tide is turning, with patients beginning to expect these solutions.
Increased patient satisfaction
Improved patient satisfaction scores continue to benefit hospitals that focus on very specific target audiences. Don’t get me wrong, lead generation and brand awareness campaigns are still important for healthcare marketers. However, deploying apps to patient groups is a strategy that we are seeing the results of. In addition to improved HCAHPS scores, hospitals are saving money in printing costs among other benefits.
By being intentional in thinking about how to best serve one patient group vs another, you can address specific challenges on a case-by-case basis. One example is the lack of wait time transparency for patients in the emergency room. In this case, some hospitals are deciding to deploy ER and Urgent Care Apps that stream estimated wait times to patients that find themselves in this setting.
Other use cases we’ve seen are apps that are recommended to potential bariatric surgery candidates, for example. Using a simple mobile app, candidates are able to view information about the surgery itself at your hospital, what to expect, how long recovery is, and what to do in preparation. Giving patient groups more of these resources before, during, and after care is a key part of keeping them educated with information you approve and can stand by.
There are dozens of use cases we’re seeing from service line leaders across the country that are making a difference in the lives of patients. To learn more and how to get started, request a consultation today.