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The prognosis is in: Health care is in the midst of disruption. The industry is facing uncertainty around the Affordable Care Act, and there's pressure to drive digital transformation and manage costs. Just as intense is the pressure to deliver experiences that meet the expectations of consumers.

In our recent webinar, Diagnosing disruptions: De-risking decisions in health care’s digital age, digital strategy expert Ed Bennett shared his thoughts on the challenges facing health care and how a focus on patient centricity can help address those issues. In his consulting practice, Bennett works with hospital systems, vendors and startups to understand how health care organizations can improve the patient experience and navigate disruption.

A recording of Bennett’s presentation is now available. Here’s a recap of some of his main points.

Focus on patient centricity now

It’s a grim diagnosis: global marketing consultancy Prophet found that 81 percent of consumers aren’t happy with their health care experience. Their expectations are also rising as other sectors such as retail and hospitality raise the bar for customer experience

However, most health care organizations haven’t grasped that not becoming patient-centric could be life threatening. A recent Kaufman Hall report found that only one in 10 hospitals consider consumer expectations important. According to Bennett, the growing gap between patients’ expectations and their actual experience means health care providers must embrace patient centricity to develop trust with consumers.

Create customer-led marketing campaigns

Health care marketers are in a tough spot: They must promote products and services consumers would rather avoid. These products and services are also quite sensitive and personal in nature, so marketers need to ensure that they hit the right tone, message and language.

Bennett said a customer intelligence platform is useful in honing messaging, testing promotional materials and optimizing marketing spending. This gives ongoing input on your strategies and tactics so you can iterate and improve ideas with the same audience.

Use data to improve physician relationships

Collaborating with physicians is sometimes a pain point for health care marketers. Physicians aren’t marketers, and convincing them that one tactic is better than another can be difficult.

Doctors do respect data, however, so researchers and marketers can use information drawn from a customer intelligence platform to influence decision-making and provide stakeholders such as physicians with patient-validated insight.

Improve the patient experience

Health care organizations need to do more in response to consumer pressure to deliver a better experience because tests show they are under-delivering. The research by Prophet found health care providers overestimate the quality of their patient experience by 20 percent.

Many hospitals are changing their course of treatment, so to speak, by forming patient experience teams, which are tasked with identifying and eliminating pain points in the patient journey. To succeed, these teams need a holistic view of all patient touchpoints and a scalable way of harnessing consumer feedback. A customer intelligence platform can help, according to Bennett, because it enables these patient experience teams to pinpoint areas of improvement and to understand the evolving attitudes, behaviors and preferences of patients.

Leverage employee feedback

Employees, especially those who interact directly with patients, are a rich and often-forgotten source of insight. Health care organizations must be able to effectively engage different employee groups and departments to get their ideas. Ongoing dialogue with staff can boost employee morale, which translates to better experiences for patients.

Just like a regular checkup with your doctor, employee engagement should be ongoing. Using a platform such as Vision Critical, companies can supplement annual employee opinion surveys with activities throughout the year.

The cure for better health care marketing

Marketers can learn to take the pulse of patient expectations by learning how other health care organizations are getting a clearer diagnosis. For their own well-being, health care organizations must embrace opportunities to create authentic and enduring patient relationships that reveal critical insight into patient attitudes, opinions, behaviour and preferences.

Diagnosing Disruptions: De-Risking Decisions in Health Care’s Digital Age

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