Universal Standards That Meet Your Healthcare Consumers’ Expectations

At a recent industry conference that I attended, one of the speaker sessions focused on how ideas from the retail sector might be applicable to that industry. It was just one example of a number of articles, blogs and other sources I have seen in the last 12 months that have taken the same concept of ideas from one industry being transferrable to another.

The reality is that many industries are facing the same forces of change – everything from disruptive technologies; the expanding role of digital and social media as a dominant channel fed by the pervasiveness of smartphones; millennials and their attitudes and expectations shaping what customer experience looks like; and the growing sophistication of customer experience expectations for consumers in general.

It stands to reason then, that there is a growing convergence towards a universal set of consumer expectations and standards that all industries must face.

Beneficial and User-Friendly Technology

Increasingly mobile apps to aid users in product selection/price and customer satisfaction comparison.

Healthcare Implication

According to Mashable, the online resources most frequently accessed for health related information are: WebMD (56 percent), Wikipedia (31 percent), health magazine websites (29 percent), Facebook (17 percent), YouTube (15 percent), blog or multiple blogs (13 percent), patient communities (12 percent), Twitter (six percent), and none of the above (27 percent).

Healthcare Consequence

Created opportunities for third parties to become the go-to resources for consumers and physicians looking for healthcare information online.

According to Pew Research, 72 percent of internet users say they looked online for health information of one kind or another within the past year. This includes searches related to serious conditions, general information searches, and searches for minor health problems. In fact the third most popular activity that people do online – right behind checking email and using a search engine – is looking for answers to health questions.

Focus on Customer Experience

Healthcare Implication

As a cause and effect example of customer experience, a recent study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine – which compared how 4,800 U.S. hospitals rated on Facebook’s five-star scale with their 30-day readmission rates found that the average Facebook rating was higher for hospitals with lower-than-average readmission rates, while hospitals with the highest readmission rates received fewer stars from Facebook users.

Healthcare Consequence

The Medicare-required, Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey asks patients about such things as communication with doctors, communication with nurses, responsiveness of hospital staff, and communication about medicines. In addition to consumer access to this online survey on a provider’s quality of care; there are very real financial impacts of Medicare reimbursements being contingent upon a healthcare organization’s results on the survey.

Leveraging Big Data and Analytics

Anticipate, personalize and provide better and more relevant offers.

Healthcare Implication

A recent Econsultancy and Ogilvy CommonHealth report – Organizing Healthcare Marketing in the Digital Age – discovered, a majority are unprepared to deal with or leverage emerging data sources or to collect high volumes of data at speed.

Healthcare Consequence

Lost opportunity to leverage knowledge as reflected by the study results:

  • 66 percent healthcare organizations are unprepared to develop patient insight from emerging data sources (i.e., wearables, etc.) and integrating into marketing programs
  • 53 percent are unprepared for collecting and managing large volumes of data quickly
  • 44 percent are unprepared for developing insight from existing data sources (CRM, medical databases, etc.) and integrating into marketing programs

Social Media

Key selection or vetting vehicle for who consumers choose to deal with.

Healthcare Implication

Social media has greatly impacted how health care providers need to engage with patients online. Consider these statistics:

  • Online reviews are a driver of whether a patient will select your services. In fact, six out of 10 patients use online patient reviews before selecting a physician.
  • More than 40 percent of consumers say that information found via social media affects the way they deal with their health. (Source: Mediabistro)
  • 41 percent of people said social media would affect their choice of a specific doctor, hospital, or medical facility. (Source: Demi & Cooper Advertising and DC Interactive Group)
  • 40 percent of people polled said information found on social media affects how they coped with a chronic condition, their view of diet and exercise, and their selection of a physician. (Source: HealthCare Finance News)

Healthcare Consequence

The statistics speak for themselves: consumers, patients and caregivers use and rely on social media for healthcare decisions. How healthcare providers strategically use social media will directly determine their success and financial results. Ultimately, healthcare marketing and brand success is more and more dependent on making social media “sticky” and owning your digital reputation.

Customers in other industries get to vote with their wallets. If they don’t like the service at a restaurant, they don’t go back. If they have a bad experience ordering online from one company, they’ll just use another company the next time. Until recently, the healthcare industry hasn’t had that same type of cause and effect pressure; but things are changing and the impacts and survival or healthcare organizations is dependent on their acceptance and strategy to address this universal set of consumer expectation and standards.

How well is your healthcare organization working to meet customer expectations? What can you be doing better? Let us know in the comments below and subscribe to receive the latest Shikatani Lacroix insights in your inbox.