Too often healthcare organizations approach patient portals as “an I.T. initiative.” Clearly I.T. needs to be involved – they are responsible for technology purchases and for meeting Meaningful Use criteria. But if the marketing department isn’t involved in the portal selection and implementation, the hospital will miss out on huge opportunities.
This is the topic of an article I recently wrote for Healthcare Marketing Report. As the article isn’t available without a subscription, I wanted to share some key points here (HMR is a great publication though, and I encourage you to subscribe).
Patient portals offer healthcare marketers a rare opportunity; the chance to get back to real marketing. Think back to the classic definition of what marketing is – the four P’s – Product, Price, Promotion and Place. Healthcare marketers are deeply involved in Promotion, but how often do you get to direct where your services are delivered or set what they cost? Marketers in healthcare rarely even have the opportunity to determine what services will be delivered.
But these are exactly the opportunities provided by patient portals.
Portals provide a platform through which new services can be delivered. Heck, the portal is a service your organization will be providing to patients. It changes the way you work with patients and can meaningfully change the long-term relationship you have with them.
In other words, patient portals offer you a great opportunity to differentiate your organization. How often do you get to drive that sort of initiative?
This is your chance to be more strategic. To do this, however, your organization can’t just approach patient portals simply to check off a box on a Meaningful Use list. If done properly, patient portals can create exceptional experiences for your patients – they improve patient acquisitions, drive patient loyalty, improve patient communications and improve care delivery.
And those are all topics marketing owns.
I’d love to hear more on this topic – feel free to post feedback and discuss who owns portal initiatives in your organization and why. And if you do subscribe to Healthcare Marketing Report, be sure to read the January issue for more on my thoughts.