After attending this year’s Healthcare Internet Conference (HCIC) in Las Vegas, the impact that COVID-19 pandemic has had on healthcare organizations is clear — especially in how digital engagement with patient-consumers has changed now and perhaps permanently.
Consumer Preference for Virtual Ease Is Here to Stay
Across the digital landscape, from the way consumers consumed media and entertainment via brands like Netflix, ordered products from Amazon, or made reservations to restaurants with tools like OpenTable, experiences that were once unique and niche are now the consumer digital experience expectation. And this counts for healthcare, too.
Having online scheduling for making appointments or virtual visits is now a baseline expectation. Your consumer-patient also wants:
- Guidance to the right level of care and services via curated experiences, such as online care navigators, enhanced “Find a Doctor” experiences, and symptom checkers.
- To know before they schedule an appointment if their insurance will be accepted or what the out-of-pocket costs will be.
- To “meet” and experience your healthcare provider and teams through provider reviews, video, outcomes data, or patient testimonials.
- Personalized experiences derived from digital insights that predictively offer up services or experiences your consumer-patient desires, creating the unique experiences that consumers now can get when opening up a streaming app on their TV.
Meeting the Consumer Where They Are May Be Different Than You Think
To cut above the din of digital marketing and advertising, getting in front of the consumers you want means optimizing your messaging or marketing efforts in your go-to channels (e.g., YouTube, Facebook, Instagram) and venturing into newer channels where healthcare marketing hasn’t reached out much before, such as TikTok or Google Question Hub.
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The old adage of “meeting the consumer where they are” is perhaps even more critical today than it ever was before.
Glaring Healthcare Disparity Can No Longer Go Unnoticed or Unchecked
I co-presented at HCIC with my colleagues, Perficient Director, Jenny Berryman Horne, and Project Manager and Pride ERG President at Henry Ford Medical Group, Jacob Sierocki. Titled “Lessons from the Pandemic: Engaging with Diverse Audiences,” our session focused on healthcare disparities for Black, Asian and Latino/Latinx Americans, millennials, Generation X, aging adults and the LGBTQ+ communities.
I was happy to see several other presentations at the conference focused on engaging with those often underserved or marginalized communities, including rural and economically disadvantaged people.
As we shared in our HCIC presentation, making sure these communities hear your organization’s message of inclusion is not only key to ensuring their health and well-being both during the pandemic and after, but it’s also an opportunity for long-term engagement with groups whose voices and perspectives are often overlooked in healthcare marketing efforts.
From consideration while building your user personas, to creating more segmentation in your consumer-patient journeys, to creation of content or digital marketing that targets these groups, you’ll want to consider the unique motivators and barriers to care that these groups experience. Only then can you truly create digital experiences that will resonate with them.
At Perficient, we build the digital solutions for many of the themes explored above while thinking about the new challenges and opportunities on the healthcare horizon. Learn more about what our healthcare experts can offer you.