As a hospital or health system, you know the value of patient engagement.
You understand that it’s crucial for improving the overall patient experience and health outcomes for people of all socio-economic classes.
But are you up-to-date with the latest patient engagement strategies?
In this blog post, I’ll share ten targeted marketing campaigns to help you increase patient engagement.
But first, a primer on why this is a savvy investment for any hospital or health system.
What Is Patient Engagement?
According to the National Library of Medicine, patient engagement involves developing and fostering a collaborative patient-provider relationship to actively engage healthcare consumers in their decisions.
It has application in value-based care, patient population health, accountable care organizations (ACOs), and health management organizations (HMOs). It is often used as a lever for establishing more meaningful patient-provider relationships, empowering patients to take better care of themselves, and influencing increased consumer loyalty.
Why Is Patient Engagement in Healthcare Important?
Spurred by the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, patient engagement trends have significantly influenced the healthcare landscape by introducing various provisions to improve the quality and accessibility of healthcare services. It has also empowered more healthcare consumers to demonstrate increased engagement and active participation in decision-making to ensure they receive the treatment they feel best meets their needs.
While patient engagement strategies are vital for all demographics, they hold particular significance for older, non-English speaking, and low-income populations.
Here’s a look at each demographic is more detail:
- Older generations
Older generations often face one or more complicated healthcare challenges, requiring tailored marketing approaches that resonate with their preferences, address their specific needs, and help them navigate our complex and often confusing health systems.
- Non-English speaking communities
Non-English speaking communities require targeted outreach efforts that bridge language barriers and build trust, ensuring they receive adequate care without feeling marginalized.
- Low-income populations
Low-income populations are more likely to encounter financial constraints that affect their access to healthcare resources, making it imperative for marketing strategies to inform and empower them to utilize available services.
By encouraging higher levels of patient engagement across the board, healthcare providers empower healthcare consumers to
- take a more active role in their health,
- better understand their medical conditions,
- participate in treatment decisions,
- adhere to treatment plans,
- and make healthier lifestyle choices.
Leveraging the benefits of patient engagement often lead to improved patient satisfaction, better health outcomes, and more effective healthcare delivery.
10 Marketing Strategies to Increase Patient Engagement in Healthcare
As healthcare organizations strive to meet consumer expectations by creating patient-centered care experiences, modern marketing strategies play a crucial role in fostering patient engagement and driving positive health outcomes.
By leveraging these modern patient engagement strategies, your healthcare organization can better understand the importance of patient engagement in healthcare, proactively promote patient-centered healthcare, nurture stronger patient-provider relationships, and empower patients to take charge of their well-being.
These strategies not only help improve patient satisfaction and overall wellness but also work towards reducing costly emergency room visits.
Here are ten modern marketing strategies your healthcare organization can leverage to proactively promote patient-centered care, nurture stronger patient-provider relationships, and empower patients in healthcare decision-making.
- Promote and empower healthy lifestyle choices and preventative health measures Create targeted marketing campaigns and educational materials encouraging healthcare consumers to adopt healthier lifestyle habits (e.g., regular exercise, quality sleep, meditation, a well-balanced diet, etc.) to prevent or improve chronic health conditions. This strategy should also tie in the value and importance of preventative health measures like regular check-ups, screenings, and vaccinations.
- Make healthcare accessible
Access to care is a barrier for many rural and underserved populations. These areas often struggle with limited healthcare options, availability, and the time and distance required for travel. Though access to care is easier in suburban and urban areas, it can be complex and confusing for healthcare consumers to navigate—especially for older and non-English speaking populations.
Support each of these audiences with clear information about access to care on your website, email, social media, direct mail pieces, and right in your office. Common access issues include
- Hours of operation
- Provider availability
- Geographic proximity
- Public transportation
- Accepted health insurance
- Payment options
- Languages spoken
- Telehealth options
- Nurse navigators
- In-office signage and wayfinding systems
- In-home visits
- Invest in patient education
Empower healthcare consumers to make informed healthcare decisions and actively participate in their healthcare journey with comprehensive and easy-to-understand educational materials about their specific health conditions, risks, causes, and treatment options. Identify and share this information across preferred communication channels (e.g., website, social media, email, printed marketing materials, portal messaging, etc.).
- Encourage patient feedback
Use surveys and email nurturing campaigns to invite healthcare consumers to provide feedback about their healthcare experience. These help bolster patient engagement and increase patient satisfaction. Responding to this feedback is equally important for building positive patient-provider relationships. Ensure systems are in place to answer honestly, transparently, and in a timely manner.
While we do recommend providing easy access to and promoting frequently asked questions, they should never be used as a replacement for an authentic, human response.
- Nurture consumers via timely communications
Timely and relevant communication helps build stronger patient-provider relationships and keeps healthcare consumers engaged with your healthcare organization. Ensure your healthcare consumers feel heard, supported, understood, and empowered through regular opt-in email, newsletter, direct mail, opt-in text message, and social media communications. One effective way to enhance your patient engagement strategies in healthcare may be timing a cadence of communications between vital members of their care team.
- Prioritize internal communications
Encourage employees and clinicians to increase internal communications to foster a consistent, and positive patient care experience. Clear and open communication channels between departments help retain staff, foster a positive workplace culture, and address internal issues before they become outward-facing. These all work together to enhance patient satisfaction and improve health outcomes.
- Automate patient engagement
Enable personalized communication strategies like appointment setting, medication reminders, and access to health information to focus on automating and improving patient engagement opportunities. Technology solutions like patient portals, mobile apps, or online chat can also help streamline these processes.
- Segment patient populations
Optimize patient engagement in healthcare by creating custom communication and targeted marketing campaigns for different patient populations. Ensure your messaging is relevant, meaningful, and engaging. Here are a few common demographics to consider
- Age range
- Health condition
- Health history
- Insurance information
- Start engagement before a patient visit
Don’t wait until check-in to engage with healthcare consumers. Invest in pre-visit relationship-building tactics like intake forms, clinical reminders, appointment reminders, and follow-up communications. Allowing healthcare consumers to fill out paperwork at home and sharing pre-visit reminders creates a positive first impression, promotes patient satisfaction, and sets the tone for their upcoming appointment.
- Engage throughout the visit and following the visit
Transactional provider-patient relationships are a roadblock to high-quality healthcare and patient engagement. When patients connect with their providers through personalized interactions, they are more likely to be transparent about their health, follow specified treatment plans, and adopt healthy lifestyle changes. Following up after the visit with post-care summaries, lab results, care instructions, or additional resources builds upon the patient-provider relationship and encourages ongoing patient engagement in their care.
As you learn how to increase patient engagement in healthcare through targeted marketing campaigns, be sure to follow all applicable laws and regulations (e.g., the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act or HIPAA) to protect patient privacy and confidentiality.
Improve patient satisfaction, support better health outcomes for all healthcare consumers, and grow your business with these integrated marketing and patient engagement strategies.
If you need help getting started with a healthcare marketing plan & strategy, we can help.