In a previous post, I posed the question — “Are Patients Really Just Customers?” Well, no. However, healthcare organizations can benefit greatly by applying marketing discipline to new patient outreach campaigns:
- Identify the Key Influencers
- Relationship Management via Marketing Communications
- Identify Your Target, Craft Your Message, Define Your Measures
- Closing the Loop – Integrating Key Touch-Points with the Patient – Integrating Data Sources
- Evaluate Your Effectiveness, and Refine Your Actions with Analytics
- Progressing Along the Maturity Model
I’ve already covered the first three principles, now I will show how you can close the loop on those marketing efforts, to better understand where your patients are coming from.
Closing the Loop – Integrating Key Touch-Points with the Patient – Integrating Data Sources
Start by identifying the diverse and numerous touch-points you already have with the patient.
A key to launching and managing the effectiveness of your campaigns is embedding the capacity to “close the loop” on the patient’s actions and capturing the key influences on those actions. Your call center scripts can incorporate context-specific prompts (as appropriate) during visit scheduling dialogues to determine, “How did you come to choose [our facility] for your care?” Registration desks and clinic intake surveys can ask seamlessly and discreetly about the factors that lead patients to a specific facility or service, or the source of the referral. Direct referrals under managed care plan policies and directives can further automate the tie back to specific outreach and education programs.
Use the response data to tune your message – reaching the right audience, at the right time, with the right message.
Evaluate Your Effectiveness, and Refine Your Actions with Analytics
Is this program and approach having the desired impact? What is our data telling us? How should we adapt our outreach efforts?
The key element to closing the loop on marketing effectiveness is assembling the data to help you understand what is working, and what is not. Your analytics environment needs to answer these key questions:
- How many new patients have we seen: at our primary hospital(s); at our local clinics; through our ambulatory and/or primary care and/or specialty groups? What is the trending of this patient volume over time?
- Which marketing programs and campaigns have we run targeting these entities (e.g. physicians, communities, geographies, parent groups, schools, managed care groups, employers); over what time periods; and including what specific activities? To which of these campaigns can we attribute our patient volumes? What evidence do we have to suggest this relationship?
- What patterns do we see in referrals, and in their response to our marketing programs? Which activities are most frequently associated with a referral coming from:
- a first-time referral from a physician (new to the area, or long-time resident): inside an affiliated physician group; inside an independent physician group; a primary care physician; a specialist
- a physician who has referred patients previously; or
- a family member of the patient; a community member (e.g. teacher, clergy, neighbor) of the patient?
- Which media elements have been most frequently, or infrequently, associated with successful, or unsuccessful, results? Which sequence or co-occurrence of activities or campaign elements has been most frequently, or infrequently, associated with successful, or unsuccessful, results?
- From which geographies are we seeing these various patients and referrals coming? What marketing programs have we run in these geographies, targeting these patient or physician populations? What else do we know about these targeted populations?
- What is the ROI of these programs and/or campaigns? Which have been most “effective” (greatest number of targeted results: new patients, new referrals, repeat referrals) or “efficient” (best results for dollars and effort expended)?
Progressing Along the Maturity Model
How do we get started? How do we measure progress?
Organizations will “grow” along a maturity scale in their application of relationship management as a key component in their marketing communication and outreach efforts. “Think big, but start small” is a viable approach.
The XRM platforms available today are incrementally deployable, enabling “Out of the Box” implementation using core capabilities and minimal direct integration with other transactional systems across your enterprise. Building your marketing analytics capability on a stable and scalable technology platform will facilitate an orderly evolution, progressively extending the data collection capabilities at the various points of contact with patients (and other key constituencies); ultimately leading to a more integrated approach to the measurement and management of marketing effectiveness, and a direct tie to the desired behaviors of patients and providers.