47% of the people who looked up a physician online felt differently about that doctor after viewing their profile, according to HealthWorks Collective. Having accurate and robust physician profiles has never been more important. Consumers want to know everything they can about providers who may be taking care of them. Given that, it is crucial that hospitals are ensuring providers’ profiles are accurate. If hospitals do not take a proactive approach to managing profiles, many online sites will “create” them on the fly and the information is typically incorrect.
Before looking ahead sometimes it’s important to learn from the past. Taking a look at the popular topics from webinars, blog posts and tweets from the past year provides a snap shot at past trends. Content marketing, social media and search engine optimization continue to be hot topics for healthcare marketers. Geonetric will be here throughout 2014 to keep you informed through our GeoVoices blog, free monthly webinars, eHealth Spotlight eNewsletter, eHealth articles, white papers, eBooks and on Twitter.
Who actually likes to fill out a form? What if that form is five to eight pages long? Would you finish it?
Online forms are created to gather information from a site visitor. It can be anything from a contact us form to a pre-registration form. Getting this information should be easy and seamless. Unfortunately, a lot of hospital websites out there throw an eight page form at the potential patient. Many site visitors will not even get to the last page to submit the form and either end up calling, or worse yet, go somewhere else for the same service you provide. We don’t want this to happen to you!
Having spent my week at SHSMD schmoozing with the biggest gathering of healthcare strategy, planning, communications, marketing and PR professionals that the Society has ever had, the current state of our industry can be summed up in a single word:
We’ve been on the cusp of major industry shifts for a few years now, but for all of the discussions and debate, no one is really sure what our industry is going to look like three years from now.
This week saw the biggest step to date in terms of actual implementation of the ACA (AKA Obamacare) and we’re still playing a guessing game to determine what its real meaning to our service mix and financial picture will really be. Obamacare applies leverage to the edges of the healthcare system, but doesn’t dictate what the care delivery system will look like or how it will work.
Using online Voice of the Customer (VoC) panels help improve consumer satisfaction by fostering collaboration with a customer through online surveys and communities to uncover sentiment, satisfaction and loyalty. As healthcare marketers we are no stranger to focusing on the entire consumer experience, not just one piece of the pie. With quite a few healthcare organizations moving towards expansive, integrated delivery networks, it’s no surprise that continually measuring consumer interactions have become increasingly important.
What stood out most to me at SHSMD’s Annual Conference was the focus on improving consumer satisfaction. The topic of how to improve the consumer experience was repeatedly incorporated into the sub-text of each conference breakout session conversation during lunch, one-on-one conversation and client dinners. Companies with consistently high customer satisfaction like Amazon.com, Marriot International and Southwest Airlines view great service as a continual challenge.
I’ve been a Dan Buettner fan for several years now. The “Blue Zones” author has started a movement to make us healthier, not one at a time, but by creating communities which make us healthier. In fact, my community in Iowa is going through a Blue Zone transformation right now!
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
First off, what are Blue Zones? Buettner began his career as a reporter. The Blue Zones project began as a feature article for National Geographic. Visit a handful of Blue Zone communities around the world and identify the features that cause the members of these communities to live longer with fewer chronic diseases and other health issues.
The one question I hear most often from healthcare Web professionals is “How are we doing compared to everyone else”?
During a general session at the Healthcare Marketing Strategies National Summit this week, Thomas Goetz told a great story about engaging health consumers.
It’s the story of Jean Nidetch, a 1960’s housewife who battles with her weight for many years. There’s new research at the time indicating that the best way to lose weight is to eat fewer calories and become more active. While this is common knowledge today, in the 1960’s this was a revelation.
This new information is so important, in fact, that the New York Department of Health decides to take this new information directly to the public through a series of community meetings and Mrs. Nidetch attends.
Last week we held our 8th annual eHealth Symposium. Clients from all over the country came to Iowa to work together on pushing the boundaries of healthcare marketing. With a jam-packed agenda of topics ranging from the latest website design trends to agile marketing methods to newsjacking, clients left with brains full of new ideas, knowledge and relationships:
— Matt McKinney (@MattMcKNC) April 25, 2013
Clients also received a healthy dose of Iowa hospitality, which consists of overwhelming friendliness, and over-the-top food:
Taking a lot of inspiration, ideas and knowledge back from #geolive. With all the great food, probably also bringing back 5 lbs.
— karamoran (@karamoran) April 24, 2013
As we look to the health system of the future, more self-management will be required, and capturing this information and sharing it with a caregiver will be critical for patient-centered medical home models. So seeing people track their health is a good sign. But 7 in 10? That seems out of step with my personal experience.
Let’s look at what Pew means here. From the Tracking for Health report, they found that people who track a health indicator track their weight, diet or exercise routine (60%), track other indicators like blood pressure, sleep or headaches (33%), or tracking health indicators for a friend or loved one (12%).
We’ve written quite a lot about health reform in its various forms including Meaningful Use, ACOs, ACA, and medical home. But a question that I received this week made me realize that I’ve never written specifically about health reform’s impact on your hospital’s online strategy.
Greater Organization Complexity
Merging, acquiring, and employing docs and the many flavors of business relationship between hospitals, clinics and insurers that are emerging under reform means that your brand is getting pretty complicated. This isn’t just a question about names and logos – your website has suddenly become the front door to a very complex and likely changing mix of doctors and services. Your job is to make it simple for every site visitor to get the information they want. I strongly recommend our webinar on using the Web to support complex organizations to dive into the topic in greater detail.
Another SHSMD Annual Conference has come and gone. The theme this year, “Connections 2012,” was appropriate, as we attempt as an industry to tie our rafts together to better weather the storm on the horizon.
What follows are my big take-aways from the meeting. Whether you were at the meeting in Philadelphia or just followed the conversation on Twitter, I hope you’ll share your thoughts on the conference in the comments section of this post.
Bring your experience to the table, but let go of your preconceptions.
There were a lot of disciplines represented at the conference, and from strategists to marketers to physician’s liaisons, we’re all trying to define what our industry and our own organizations will look like in just a few years’ time. What healthcare gets delivered, where it’s delivered, who does the delivery and, of course, the economics supporting it along the way are all in flux.
It’s the time of transition which promises to be most challenging for our organizations. Dr. Maulik Joshi, PhD, President of HRET, the American Hospital Association’s research foundation, said it best, “We stand with one foot on the dock and the other on the boat.” Healthcare organizations will be under strain as we seek to find new models and structures that work, effectively disassembling and reassembling the airplane while having to keep it in the air throughout the entire process.
Here at Geonetric we’re big fans of Chris Bevolo’s book Joe Public Doesn’t Care About Your Hospital. So I was excited when Ben reached out to Chris in his article Embracing Wellness Online featured in the July/August 2012 issue of Healthcare Strategy Alert! In the article, Ben and Chris explain how too often what hospitals market is sick care not healthcare – and they discuss how much of an opportunity there is for marketing wellness.
It’s always good to know where you stand, and very few things help us with this as much as a third party, independent comparative analysis of how our work ranks against the rest of the industry. A peer-reviewed research article published in the February 2012 issue of the Journal of Healthcare Management attempts to do this very thing…
The researchers reviewed 636 hospital and health system websites and ranked each on Accessibility, Content, Marketing, and Technology metrics. An overall score was then computed for each site.
The results are simply outstanding.
Healthcare organizations tend to have strong brand recognition, but weak brand differentiation. It’s difficult for patients to recognize what makes you different from competitors, or perhaps they simply don’t care. Just as often, for a given service line, there really isn’t much that actually makes an organization truly different.
As I wrote this time last year, “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.”
Healthcare marketers have a particularly tough job with differentiation. Fortunately, there are areas in which you do have control:
- Campaigns, marketing materials, employee communications
- Events (health fairs, foundation galas)
- Social media and other digital outreach
There is a great untapped opportunity to differentiate organizations through the Web. Consumers’ perceptions of healthcare organizations are mostly driven by the experiences they have. Because they are unable to assess clinical competency, their experiences craft their perceptions on healthcare quality.