With the increasing time pressures on providers the amount of time to connect with patients continues to decline. Consequently, the opportunity to build relationships and retain patients is often stripped down to the basics, greeting patients by name, knowing something about their personal lives, where they work, how many children they have, with bonus points for knowing their names. All of that is important and can be incorporated into the first 5 minutes of a patient visit. Beyond that, however, providers are limited to the specifics of the visit, the details of the symptoms, diagnosis and treatment, before it is time to move on to the next patient. Extending the patient/physician discussion outside the visit to increase connection is what engagement marketing is all about. In today’s physician-patient care environment an engagement marketing strategy offers multiple channels for doing just that. A blog with healthcare content, social media tips, regular eNewsletters all go a long way to connecting with patients beyond the isolated impressions of infrequent clinic visits. Here are three keys to developing and managing an effective engagement marketing strategy:
Provide the patient education you would like to do if you had the time. Patients not only want to understand their conditions but how and why the treatment options you offer will help. They also want to know what the downsides might be. Be sure to keep things on the patient experience level. For example, clinical research studies objectively state side effects as 10 percent experienced nausea, 5 percent experienced headaches. Putting that experience in terms of the patients’ perspective is key to connecting with them and helping them understand their treatments.
Patients want to know how to get and stay healthy. Provide them not just health tips, but with the success stories of people like them who have changed to healthier habits. Personal stories about how they did it is an effective way to connect patients with each other and also with your practice.
Patients are looking for quality and value – you hear that all the time, but what does it mean? As reported by HealthLeaders, a recent University of Utah Health survey asked 5,031 patients, 687 physicians and 538 employers to prioritize quality, cost and service. Not surprisingly, 88 percent of physicians prioritize quality, defining it as efficiency, effectiveness, safety and outcomes. Patients however, ranked convenience, accessibility, and cost as being critically important in their healthcare decisions. Consequently, putting your patient education content in terms that address convenience, accessibility and cost is more likely to connect with patients. In short, keeping patient perspective in mind as the basis of your engagement strategy and content development is the key to connecting with and building relationships with patients that will result in higher retention rates.
If you are developing or implementing a content marketing strategy, Medical Digest Publications produces customized content that connects with your patients or referring providers. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 206 499 3479.