It’s really quite simple. When we asked patients told us:

  1. Treat me with respect and compassion.
  2. Take time to help me understand my options.
  3. Help me figure out how to pay for this!

In today’s world, patients find compassionate care, and the willingness of their physician to spend time with them–both exceptional and appealing.

After  many years of working in health care marketing, we have produced endless communication around the latest technology, national rankings, and awards. As you know, this is a fairly common request from CEOs. Yet, in our most recent research, “Why Patients Switch, 2017,” we once again discovered that people just want to be treated like a human being, listened to, and given options. Of course, they expect you to have excellent doctors, the latest technology and quality rankings. What they need and what they want are two very different things.

Check out a few verbatim answers from our research respondents to this question:

“What does quality health care look like to you?”

People believe health care is becoming less affordable and less accessible. More importantly, they feel health care is the least transparent financial decision they’ll ever make.

Another discovery that creeped up in this new research, in fact all the way to #1 choice driver: “Why can’t I get some kind of idea what this care is going to cost?” Of course, patients want health care to cost less, but more importantly, they want to have some indication of cost, and then assistance in making a plan to pay for it.

28% of respondents say they would switch providers if someone else offered a free consultation to review their health insurance plan and help them understand what they could expect to pay out-of-pocket for a procedure or health care. More than 1 in 4!

I would venture a guess that many of your organizations already offer this service. Of course you have billing services departments–you just haven’t told anyone about it! Who does a marketing campaign about cost or billing?! But we cannot emphasize enough, you should do a campaign about cost and billing. It is clearly what patients want.

You can get these and many other great insights in the 2017 patient research. Additionally, download the free Guide for Cost Transparency.

So to summarize, patients will remain loyal to your organization if they receive compassionate care and get some coaching on how to pay for it. It’s really not too much to ask, is it?



In business for over 40 years, Hailey Sault specializes in health care and cause-related marketing communications. Its aim is to improve lives and create a healthier world. Its clients include challenger hospitals and health care facilities, as well as nonprofits leading the transformation of health and health care in America.


For further information, contact Marsha Hystead, partner & chief creative officer, Hailey Sault, at (218) 728-3653 or