Engagement is the New Branding: 2021 Health Care Marketing Trends Report

Engagement is the New Branding: 2021 Health Care Marketing Trends Report

As we face another year of planning inside a global pandemic there is one (and only one) trend that we believe needs to be front and center for health care marketers—patient-consumer engagement. 

Join us as we back up the bold statement that engagement is the new branding. 

Learn how to apply these four go-to patient engagement strategies and tactics throughout 2021: 

1. Leverage “digital dialogue”—creating two-way conversations with your audiences, which leads to brand trust and service utilization

2. Own the “trusted health news source” positioning—patient-consumers are seeking health information with health care brands like never before

3. Create “personalized messaging”—the pandemic revealed the different wants, needs and perspectives of health audiences—so personalize your content to be hyper-relevant and hyper-engaging

4. Restore the morale of burned out front-line workers and distrustful patient-consumers through “mission mindset”—leverage your organization’s mission to uplift and engage key audiences

 

Download Trends Report

Hailey Sault Campfire Panelists:

  • Marsha Hystead, Partner and CCO
  • Joe Gunderson, Director of Visual Identity
  • Denise Burgess, Senior Writer

Moderator: Stephen Moegling, SVP of Growth

Health Care Marketing Trends: Chapters in this Campfire

00:00 Introductions—getting ahead of the curve in 2021.

04:46 2021 Global Trend: Engagement is the New Branding—consumers will reward health care organizations that engage them by keeping up with the demand for content.

06:17 High Expectations for Engagement—core health care audiences have grown up with engagement.

08:59 Hot-Button Engagement Topics—patient-consumers want to hear about topics that don’t fall into classic branding categories.

10:12 Brand Loyalty Battleground—disengagement is the first step to provider switching; 31% of patients are considering switching.

11:24 2021 Sub-Trend: Engaging through Personalized Messaging—there is no single narrative that will connect with every patient audience.

12:00 Personalized Messaging in Action—using patient journey mapping and personas.

17:01 Audience QuickPoll—what services are the hardest when it comes to re-engaging your patients’ return to care?

18:26 2021 Sub-Trend: Engaging through Enhanced Digital Dialogue—consumers want health care systems to engage in conversations that can lead to shared understanding and positive actions.

19:33 Digital Dialogue in Action—polls, town halls, webinars, Zoom meetings, digital video, Instagram, programmatic video. 

24:51 2021 Sub-Trend: Engaging through your Mission—engage skeptical consumers and build resilience for burned out health care workers by leaning into your mission.

26:17 Mission Mindset in Action—reintroduce health care heroes to your community as the one-year anniversary of their fight against COVID-19 arrives.

30:35 Audience QuickPoll—Are you more or less optimistic about your future than you were in the fall of 2020?

32:17 2021 Sub-Trend: Engaging as a Trusted Health News Source—the opportunity for your brand to position itself as your community’s health media organization.

33:15 Patient-Consumer Insights—90% of health care decision makers indicate that they want regular information from their provider right now.

34:10 Trusted News Source in Action—tactics for using consumers’ #1 trusted source of information—your providers.

42:37 Recap

44:21 S’Mores Break—One thing each panelist believes you should take away from this webinar.

Join Us for Our Next Campfire Session

Hailey Sault is a health care marketing agency that creates human connection for brands. For more patients and appointments. More engagement and advocacy. More memorability and market share.

We host these Campfire Sessions to discuss the issues and opportunities facing health care marketers. These are webinars without boring slides, bullet points, and sales pitches—just great insights shared by and for our marketing colleagues. We hope you’ll join us around the virtual Campfire.

[PAST CAMPFIRES]

Download the 2021 Trends Report

2021 Health Care Marketing Predictions

2021 Health Care Marketing Predictions

One of Hailey Sault’s core values is to be fearless. That’s why in a year that is starting out to be anything but predictable, we’re kicking off this whole first month of 2021 with health care marketing predictions and trends. This Campfire Session lays the groundwork for what lies ahead for health care marketing—and what to do to get ahead of the curve. At the end of the month, we’ll share our Engage 2021 Trends Report in a special Campfire Session and make it available for you to download. Our report takes a deeper dive into one global trend we predict will guide health care through 2021 and includes four strategies and tactics you can put to use.

Watch our Campfire Session, 2021 Health Care Marketing Predictions. Or read below for key takeaways from our webinar event!

On 01/15/2021, Stephen was joined by two seasoned health care marketing pros.

  • Theresa Jacobellis, President & CEO, PrescRXptive Communications. Host, Healthcare Confidential podcast.
  • Chris Boyer, Principal & Senior Digital Strategist @chrisboyer LLC. Founder and Show Host, touch point media. 

2021 health care marketing predictions were made surrounding:

  • Health care consumerism
  • The health infodemic 
  • Crisis planning

Health Care Consumerism: an old trend with some new twists

Consumerism has been a trend that is not new to health care; however, there are factors that are going to accelerate this trend in 2021.

Theresa’s health care consumerism predictions 

  • The word concierge is something health care will need to become familiar with because society is becoming more and more demanding of personalized services and no field is more personal than health care.
  • Patients want communications and services from health care that are targeted to their needs—that show providers are aware of who they are as individuals.
  • Patients will be willing to reach into their pocket a little bit if that is necessary and pay a little more to receive personalized services.
  • The number one thing providers should be doing is focusing on customer service.

Chris’s health care consumerism predictions

  • Consumerism in health care can be seen in Amazon getting into the health care space, as well as Walmart Health coming in with its retail location. 
  • CVS, Walgreens and Walmart will be significant players in health care when vaccination opens up to the public.
  • There are “shoppable services” in health care, especially with price transparency becoming effective on January 1.
  • Services that are very much in the consumer mindset include testing, urgent care services, imaging services and other lower acuity services.
  • Transparency and shoppable services are a trend that will evolve in the coming years.
  • Telemedicine will remain with us. The pandemic has shifted our opinions as consumers to doing things online. 
  • Not only are we consumers, but we are now digital consumers. Digital consumerism will be the future.
  •  Patient experience will become the imperative in this consumeristic space

The more we can understand what our patients want and where the friction points are in their experience, the better we can be at making our relationship with them more meaningful.

Stephen’s health care consumerism predictions

  • “One-size-fits-all” messaging will decline in favor of personalized marketing strategies. The pandemic revealed the disparate mindsets, feelings and needs of health care consumers.
  • As a result, health care brands will “up” their personalized marketing game—with the goal of increasing patient-consumer engagement.
See what's working

The Health Infodemic: our second pandemic

We are seeing misinformation spread much more quickly on social media than good information.

Theresa’s health infodemic predictions

  • This is a battle that marketers need to dive into because as communicators it is incumbent upon us to create and provide vetted, credible information that helps consumers make good decisions about their health.
  • Social media is the “Wild, Wild West” and this is becoming a bigger problem. Marketers need to think about how our marketing messages can also be vehicles for good information.

Chris’s health infodemic predictions

  • In the interest of serving their patients and communities in a better way, hospitals and health systems are square in the middle of the battle against misinformation. Especially when it comes to information about COVID, wearing masks, safety and vaccines. 
  • Providers are the most trusted source of health information for patients right now, above all other sources, including the traditional news media.
  • There has to be movement from everyone including us in a grassroots way as health care marketers, as well as government and big tech, to address the infodemic problem.
  • This is our opportunity to step up to fill the messaging void. We have to be proactive with our messages and be the first voice out there with credible information.

Stephen’s health infodemic predictions

  • In a time of high consumer skepticism, health systems will leverage the ability to be seen as the local, trusted source of health information. 
  • Health systems will create more opportunities for patient-consumers to learn more and engage in “hot button” issues like COVID, the vaccines and safety protocols. Given the confusion created by the “health infodemic,” health systems will invest in tools like video and live chats to offer two-way dialogues with patient-consumers to help disseminate and address the concerns, fears and skepticism. 

Crisis Planning: it’s been an all-year, all-the-time ordeal

We are in constant crisis planning mode because of the shifting nature of the pandemic and it has sapped the energy out of all of us.

Chris’s crisis planning predictions

  • We thought in 2020 we would pivot into vaccine communication, but now we’re seeing vaccine communication as a health care crisis planning effort as well because of misinformation and the complexity surrounding the problem.
  • We have to become more strategic with our crisis communication planning. We need to build in systems and processes for it so we can be more nimble and information can cascade to those who need it. One idea may be to build a page on our website to house all new information as it happens and direct our patients to that resource page.

Theresa’s crisis planning predictions

  • This pandemic has given us opportunities to communicate in new ways. We are seeing health systems do more reaching out to their constituencies and stakeholder groups through webinars and emails.
  • This has shown us that crisis communication planning is not just episodic and it’s not just for large health systems and hospitals, it’s for everybody.

Stephen’s crisis planning predictions

  • Because health care has been in “crisis” mode for virtually a year, health systems will implement agile strategic planning models that account for crisis communications while addressing the need for long-term planning and vision.  
  • Health systems will recognize that crisis communications have a significant part to play in addressing the long-term strategic goals for the organization. For example: how we engage patient-consumers in crisis communications now has long-term strategic implications, such as whether or not patient-consumers believe their providers are trusted sources of health information and care delivery. 

KEY TAKEAWAYS from our 2021 health care marketing predictions webinar

1. Health care consumerism is going to accelerate as a trend, especially as price transparency evolves.

2. Consumerism is making patient experience paramount.

3. Social media is the “Wild, Wild West” and it is incumbent upon us to create and provide vetted, credible information that helps consumers make good decisions about their health.

4. Providers are the most trusted source of health information for patients right now. This is our opportunity to step up to fill the messaging void.

5. The pandemic has shown us that crisis planning is not just episodic. We must become more strategic with our crisis planning. 

Contact Theresa or Chris:

Theresa Jacobellis, President & CEO, PrescRXptive Communications. Host, Healthcare Confidential podcast.

https://www.prescrxptivecommunications.com/

https://heliumradio.com/shows/healthcare-confidential/

https://www.linkedin.com/in/theresajacobellis/

Chris Boyer, Principal & Senior Digital Strategist @chrisboyer LLC. Founder and Show Host, touch point media. 

http://www.christopherboyer.com/

https://touchpoint.health/

https://www.linkedin.com/in/chrisboyer/

Join Us for Our Next Campfire Session

Hailey Sault is a health care marketing agency that creates human connection for brands. For more patients and appointments. More engagement and advocacy. More memorability and market share.

We host these Campfire Sessions to discuss the issues and opportunities facing health care marketers. These are webinars without boring slides, bullet points, and sales pitches—just great insights shared by and for our marketing colleagues. We hope you’ll join us around the virtual Campfire.

[PAST CAMPFIRES]

Mankato Recovery Campaign info

What Your Patients Want Right Now

What Your Patients Want Right Now

This just in from Hailey Sault’s latest national research study, released December 10, on what consumers are thinking about and wanting from health systems and providers: The number of patients actively contemplating new providers is staggering. 

The good news: there are things marketers can do to help people right now, while also helping their organizations’ bottom lines in the long run. Feeling too overwhelmed as it is? We understand. But you also need to understand your audience. If you’re as interested in the question, “What do patients want right now?” as we are, you’ll want to check out our latest Campfire. 

Hailey Sault hosts, Mike Seyfer and Stephen Moegling, share the latest results of our consumer research and offer actionable insights for you to get rolling. 

Watch our 45-minute Campfire Session, “What Your Patients Want: Patient Engagement Trends,” that was broadcast live on 12.10.20, for the full effect. An abbreviated recap follows.

Here’s a brief synopsis of what Stephen and Mike cover in the Campfire. 

Topics 

  • Why patient engagement should be a top priority
  • What your patients want to hear from you now
  • When vaccination content is going to be valuable
  • How to measuring engagement in meaningful ways

During the show, our hosts introduce ideas that may be counterintuitive to what some health care marketers are thinking right now. With that mind, Mike took the role of being in the Hot Seat, with Stephen acting as The Skeptic.  

Background

It’s a crazy time to simply provide care. Why should we be paying extra attention to what people think about health care right now? Well, this pandemic crisis will eventually subside. But unless we apply insights on how consumers want health brands to engage with them right now, we risk creating a new crisis for our organizations: patients switching to new providers. 

That point was driven home during a recent Campfire Session with Chris Hemphill of SymphonyRM, who helped us crunch some numbers and explore strategies surrounding patient loyalty and engagement. From there, we set about doing a survey of 700 people in the United States to discover what people were thinking about engaging with, and being engaged by, their health provider. 

Download the research report featured at the Campfire: no opt-in required. We want our colleagues to have the data and insights needed to make informed marketing decisions.

See what's working

Key takeaways 

Here’s a taste of the findings we shared at the Campfire. 

1. Why make engagement a priority? 

Consumers are still scared, concerned and, it turns out, increasingly disengaged from their providers. Less than 50% of consumers believe their providers have engaged with them since the pandemic. When consumers feel disengaged from health brands, they begin looking for new providers. 

As a marketing and public relations focus, patient engagement has typically been considered a soft metric, handled less informally or with less rigorous goals and intent, Mike notes. But the longer you wait to have an engagement strategy, the greater the risk of churn.

That is, as COVID rages on, your risk of patient out-migration, or “churn,” during COVID increases in equal proportion to the lack of engagement they experience. Driving up patient engagement so that you can reduce churn is key to ensuring future revenue.

Depending on your market and COVID-19 case counts, your organization might not have capacity to develop new patient acquisition strategies. But 31% of consumers are thinking about switching providers. And of those consumers who feel “disengaged,” 46% are likely considering making a provider switch.

2. What do patients want to hear from you?

People want excellence, but they also want to feel compassion, and experience transparency. 

A resonant engagement strategy will strike a balance between compassionate care and COVID information. Compassionate care is a big trigger for patients choosing to switch. At the same time, they want new COVID information, especially regarding testing, from a local trusted source.

Messaging matters. In the study, the words “compassion” and “care” showed up in 20 percent of open-ended responses. Learn more. 

3. How to measure engagement more meaningfully?

What are the preferred communications channels that consumers want you to use to engage them?  The study showed that people value personalized channels, including these top three preferred methods of engaging with health care providers: 

  • Phone 
  • Email 
  • Texting 

While scoring lower as primary channels, these channels shouldn’t be ignored as consumer engagement metrics: 

  • Website metrics 
  • Digital marketing metrics 
  • Organic social media metrics

You can still measure based on your owned media channels, and continue to improve the patient experience of using them. In fact, the largest percent of study respondents said they’d respond to engagement efforts by going to a website and subscribing to get more information. 

Email offers a particularly notable “workhorse” for reaching out and engaging with patients, Mike and Stephen note at the Campfire. Beyond sharing public health information, organizations can use email to target audiences who need specific service line care, while creating connection points with your owned digital channels.

4. When is vaccination content going to be valuable? 

Right now. During the S’Mores Break at the end of the Campfire, we discussed a recent Transcend Strategy Group study, and noted how interest in vaccination information has made its way into our research for the first time. People want to know when, how and where they can get vaccinated. There will be a race in your community to provide vaccines, and those who communicate the details around it effectively may gain new patients.

Join our next Campfire

We started the Campfire webinars in the early days of COVID-19 so colleagues could discuss the issues and opportunities impacting health care marketers. That was when we thought COVID-19 would be “here today, gone tomorrow.” Clearly, there’s still a lot to discuss. Join us and your colleagues for an upcoming session soon. 

Click the link below to view past Campfires and to be notified of future Campfires.

Warm up your health care marketing

Mankato Recovery Campaign info

Vaccines, “COVID Brain,” and the Path Back to Care

Vaccines, “COVID Brain,” and the Path Back to Care

The new COVID vaccines are medical miracles. But are your patients ready to take them? Overcoming fears and building engagement will be key in convincing the diverse populations you serve to roll up their sleeves for the good of their own health, as well as the health of those in their community. Misinformation, myths, distrust, doubt, resistance and political polarization are only a few of the many challenges that need to be overcome on the road back to normal. We discussed them all.

Watch our Campfire Session, Vaccines, “COVID Brain,” and the Path Back to Care. Or read below for key takeaways from our webinar event!

On 12/17/2020, Stephen, Mike and I were joined by: 

  • Three-peat Campfire participant Lisa McCluskey, MBA, Vice President, Marketing Communications, CHI Memorial 
  • Newcomer, Rob Klein, Klein & Partners, health care marketing research and brand management specialist.

We discussed:

  • Vaccine rollout strategies
  • New research about the public’s perceptions of the vaccine
  • Engaging health care consumers who are fatigued and afraid 
  • What we do now determines what happens next 

Lisa’s COVID Vaccine Communication Playbook

Lisa told us what was happening at CHI Memorial, in Tennessee. As of the publishing of this blog, Tennessee is the number one COVID hotspot per capita in the country. She explained how her organization was coping and how it was able to care for patients (COVID and non-COVID) effectively even at 90 percent capacity.

Then she laid out the comprehensive vaccine communication plan CHI has in place, which we immediately dubbed “Lisa’s Vaccine Communication Playbook.” 

For those who didn’t take notes, highlights include:

  • Continuing to commit to being the trusted source of information about all things COVID.
  • Dispelling myths on an ongoing (24 hour a day, 7 day a week) basis.
  • Being comfortable in communicating in probabilities—letting people know this is what we know today and that may change tomorrow. 
  • Implementing a vaccine webpage to act as an information hub.
  • Producing COVID information and COVID vaccine videos for staff. 
  • Using staff questions to produce a “frequently asked questions” video for the general public featuring its vice president of medical affairs.
  • Keeping an ear to the ground and watching social media for chatter to determine what the public is thinking and wants to know. 
  • Sending email blasts, direct emails and texts to patients providing answers to frequently asked questions, as well as targeting patients on Facebook.
  • Posting FAQ videos in the comment section of local news outlet’s social media channels resulting in an ask to do a weekly live TV series.
  • Providing FAQ flyers to clinics and providers to share with patients.
  • Daily COVID updates for staff and physicians.
  • Providing an email where the public can ask questions, which are answered ASAP.
  • Using all channels to direct people back to the CHI Memorial COVID vaccine page.

Rob’s National Consumer Perception Research

Rob had just completed national research on the public’s perception of the COVID vaccine and we were lucky enough to be the first to hear his key findings. 

He started by telling us,

“This is not going to be an easy smooth road where everybody is lining up at once and wants to have a vaccine. We are going to have to work harder than we thought.”

Some of the data Rob shared included:

Only 39% of those surveyed said, “I’m very likely to get a vaccine.” 

That means 6 out of 10 American adults are not so sure that they are going to get the vaccine.

What’s most concerning about this is the demographic differences. These differences are important because they will impact messaging. A one-size-fits-all message is not going to work:

  • Men are significantly more likely than women to say that they are very likely to get a vaccine.
  • The likelihood to get a vaccine goes up with age. Gen-Z and millennials report that they are less likely to have a vaccine when it becomes available to them than baby boomers and the silent generation.
  • African American people are significantly less likely to get a vaccine. Only 19% said they were very likely to get the vaccine when it becomes available.
  • Many people indicated that they wanted to wait to see what happens to others. They are afraid of side effects.
  • People think the vaccine was rushed. The words “rushed” and “warp speed” are stuck in their brains.

“It is on us [health care] and the federal government to make sure everyone feels included and respected and that their concerns are addressed,” said Rob. “We have to reach people where they are and address their concerns. The empathy we have to show human beings has never been more important than right now.”

See what's working

Politics and the Vaccine

Rob told us the most disappointing results of his research indicate that there is a huge difference in the likelihood to get the vaccine based on political affiliation.

The lesson Rob says he hopes are taken away from this are:

“Words can heal and unite. Words can divide and hurt. There has been a division here that is not needed. We’re all in this together against this bug. The fact that the biggest significant difference between getting the vaccine and not is political affiliation—that shouldn’t have been.”

Research Finds that Primary Care Providers are the #1 Influencing Factor in Whether People Will Vaccinate or Not

  • Your physicians are the face and voice of your brand.
  • Give them talking points. 
  • Coach them as to how to talk with patients individually, knowing each patient has  different concerns and unique needs, depending on their sex, age or ethnicity.
  • People want to know what shot their primary care physician is getting.

What is COVID Brain?

A term coined by Rob to describe our patient’s mindset right now. People’s cognitive reasoning is affected by their fears and their anxiety level.  

Both Lisa and Rob addressed the fact that as people see others getting the vaccine and not suffering side effects they will most likely become more willing to roll their sleeves up for a vaccine as well.

Lisa explained that CHI has used their videos to: 

  1. Address side effects and dispel rumors that the vaccine was rushed or that it messes with a person’s genetic code. 
  2. Message in a manner that is conversational and understandable.

“The more we can put out there about how the vaccine works in layman’s language, the more it helps people to make the decision to vaccinate,” says Lisa. 

You can see CHI’s videos here.

What We Do Now Determines What Happens Next 

“We never stopped marketing and advertising,” says Lisa. “We always had an underpinning of safety messaging going as well.”

Lisa pointed out that the need continues to:

  • Support new providers. 
  • Support programs such as oncology and vascular services.
  • Make sure patients receive the services they need before they become too sick.

“Even though the vaccine is out there it will be late spring or early summer before it gets to the consumer,” says Lisa. “We still need to make sure that patients know how we are safely operating. So that safety underpinning will continue as we drive people to get their mammograms and encourage people to keep their doctor’s appointments.” 

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Your patients are looking to you to be their trusted COVID and COVID vaccine authority.
  • Be that trusted authority by implementing some of the strategies covered in Lisa’s COVID Vaccination Playbook.
  • Your primary care physicians are your best messengers.
  • Research shows that this is not going to be an easy smooth road where everybody is lining up at once and wants to have a vaccine. We are going to have to work harder than we thought. 
  • We must reach people where they are and address their concerns. 
  • The empathy we have to show human beings has never been more important than right now.
  • What we do now will determine what comes next.

Join Us for Our Next Campfire Session

We host these Campfire Sessions to discuss the issues and opportunities facing health care marketers. These are webinars without boring slides, bullet points, and sales pitches—just great insights shared by and for our marketing colleagues. We hope you’ll join us around the virtual Campfire.

[PAST CAMPFIRES]

Mankato Recovery Campaign info

Why Your Patients May Be Leaving Your Brand. (And What To Do About It)

Why Your Patients May Be Leaving Your Brand. (And What To Do About It)

Since 2014, Hailey Sault has conducted several research projects surrounding patient choice. With each study, our results indicate that patients are more willing to switch providers based on a set of defined characteristics. This year, if trends hold, around 28 percent of patient populations may be looking for a new provider.

During this COVID time, we’ve also been polling patients around the country about  what they want to hear and how often they want to hear from their providers. Overwhelmingly, they’ve told us that they are hungry for content and guidance right now and are looking to their health care providers to provide it.  

Our newest polling project is centered around patient engagement and we are excited to share those results with you in the near future.

Watch our Campfire Session, Why Your Patients May Be Leaving Your Brand (And What To Do About It). Or read below for key takeaways from our webinar event!

On 11/19/2020, Mike and I welcomed Chris Hemphill, Director–Client AI/Ops SymphonyRM, who helped us crunch some numbers and explore strategies surrounding patient loyalty and engagement.

We discussed:

  • Patient “churn”—exiting the health system—and how to predict it
  • Common reasons for patient churn
  • Revenue implications
  • Patient retention and engagement strategies

For context, here’s a little background on Chris

Chris works in the areas of data science and analytics for SymphonyRM. He explained that his company is focused on using AI and predictive modeling to inform patient engagement and move patient relationships forward. 

Chris also explained:

“It’s not just about predictions and data science. It’s how we all work together to make those things actionable, to develop creative and to develop outreach that ultimately influences behaviors.

I think the era we’re entering now is less about the technology and more about how do we use those things to drive engagement and further relationships.”

Defining patient churn and its revenue implications

  • “If you boil it down,” says Chris, “patient churn is really about predictability, a likelihood that someone is going to leave and no longer be engaged with your organization.”
  • With definable characteristics you can start to identify what is a patient’s churn risk.
  • Chris took us through the potential revenue implications of patient churn in a 12-month period, focusing on tiers that included patients who are: loyal, engaged, a risk, fading, and finally, disengaged.
  • His model included the churn risk for each patient category ranging from a four percent risk for those who are loyal to a 93 percent risk for those who are disengaged.
  • A quote from one of his colleagues is appropriate here: “Your existing patients are your competitors’ new patients.”

How do you decide who is engaged and who is at risk?

  • Many organizations use 24 months of inactivity as an indicator that their consumer has churned.
  • “The problem with that,” says Chris, “is that if you’re waiting until that period is terminated to start recapturing consumers, it is far too late.”
  • Chris has seen more aggressive organizations use an 18-month time period before efforts begin, but says the same concept holds true—it may be too late.
  • Instead, Chris recommends a more personalized approach to deciding who is at risk and engaging those individuals in a timely manner. The idea is to use data to identify frequency of use for an individual, as well as when that individual may become a churn risk.
  • Mike added that the idea of getting to something that is personalized is very difficult for organizations. “It comes down to time, resources and technologies,” says Mike.
  • A discussion took place about the fact we’ve known from research that patients want communication from their provider and that they trust that communication. 
  • Chris cited research by SymphonyRM that found patients are around 1.7 times more likely to click through to an email message if the sender is their physician as opposed to the health care organization.
See what's working

Predicting churn

1. Chris brought us through relationships that individuals have with brands, including contractual and non-contractual relationships, as well as discrete (something happening on a fixed basis) vs. continuous (something that can happen at any time) relationships.

2. Non-contractual, continuous relationships, such as health care, are the hardest industries in which to predict churn.

  • There is no hard contract cutoff date
  • No predicted fixed interactions

3. Predicting churn is based on interactions and the predictability of those interactions for the individual. 

  • Someone who interacts in a consistent and maybe less-frequent manner is at a lower risk for churn because an expected pattern of interaction has been established. 
  • Someone who may interact more frequently but then drops off in consistency, or drops off completely, is at higher risk for churn. No expected pattern has been established.

The real cost of losing patients

  • According to Chris, once people move away and develop loyalties to other organizations, it can cost between five to seven times more to engage them and get them back.
  • There is a continued effort by us as marketers to stay ahead of the curve. Chris validated what we know intuitively in marketing, which is: if we don’t have the messages out there and we don’t have the engagement strategies out there, ultimately, we’re not going to get the result we want—whether that’s a retention strategy or a grateful advocate patient strategy. It is a clear win-win when we can be proactive.

Engagement strategies

  • Mike talked about the need right now to focus on the engaged patient. 
  • “In this period of COVID they may not be getting care, yet engagement strategies for this particular group need to remain high. This is the group that we can probably affect most in terms of retention.”
  • What we are seeing coming from our Hailey Sault research is that somewhere in the neighborhood of 93 percent of consumers want to hear from their provider on a very consistent basis right now—once a week to even once a day.
  • Even if the message isn’t “Come in for care,” patients want to hear what their provider knows about COVID in their area. That message can be imparted with the secondary message being, “By the way, if you do come in for care you are going to be safe.”
  • Chris told us that the health care organization does remain the most trusted institution when it comes to health care information, making health care professionals and patient engagement professionals one of the first lines of defense against bad information people are getting from other sources.
  • Chris also explained that at the beginning of the COVID crisis a lot of organizations were conservative with their messaging while others aggressively messaged on even more channels than usual. “Even though people weren’t able to come in for services, they were extremely engaged with the communication.”
  • “It points to when a major crisis like this happens, people start looking to those trusted institutions such as health care,” says Chris.
  • When organizations don’t take an active approach there is a void and that void will be filled somehow, either by patient choice, by the competition or by forces outside of our control. As the ground keeps shifting, we must lean into the idea of engagement.
  • Chris pointed out that some institutions have adopted an “always on” strategy as opposed to going from “one off” to “one off” campaigns that target specific segments of the population. The first broad stroke against disengagement right now may be to consider how to reach as much of the population as possible with personalized communication to scale.
  • A way to accomplish that can be through the creative use of owned channels and content that resonates with where people are right now.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

1. Patient churn is really about predictability, a likelihood that someone is going to leave and no longer be engaged with your organization. 

2. With definable characteristics you can start to identify a patient’s churn risk.

3. The idea is to use data to identify frequency of use for an individual, as well as when that individual may become a churn risk.

4. Health care is one of the hardest industries in which to predict churn.

  • There is no hard contract cutoff date
  • No predicted fixed interactions

5. “Your existing patients are your competitors’ new patients.”

6. Once people move away and develop loyalties to other organizations, it can cost between five to seven times more to engage them and get them back.

7. The engaged patient group is the group that we can probably affect the most in terms of retention. In this period of COVID, engagement strategies for this particular group need to remain high.

Join Us for Our Next Campfire Session

We started the Campfire webinars in the early days of COVID-19 so colleagues could discuss the issues and opportunities impacting health care marketers. That was when we thought COVID-19 would be “here today, gone tomorrow.” Clearly, there’s still a lot to discuss. Join us and your colleagues for an upcoming fun and informative session soon. Click the link below to view past Campfires and to be notified of future Campfires.

[PAST CAMPFIRES]

Mankato Recovery Campaign info