Healthcare consumerism — the concept of putting healthcare decision-making and purchasing power into the hands of consumers — has changed the way we find and access healthcare. Today, the majority of healthcare consumers begin their journey online. In fact, an estimated 7% of Google’s daily searches are health-related. That’s roughly 70,000 searches every minute.
With more consumers playing an active role in choosing their healthcare services, healthcare marketers are adopting and fine-tuning digital front-door strategies to engage with and create loyal customers. Marketing technology, or martech, is a vital part of this process.
What Is Martech?
Martech has been a game-changer in healthcare marketing for more than a decade. If you’re a marketer, you began using martech the moment you sent your first e-blast, launched a landing page or purchased a pay-per-click ad. Today, martech affects everything from data acquisition and analysis, to content and campaign execution, to overall patient experience.
The Martech Stack in Healthcare
For most healthcare systems, there isn’t a lack of tech. Oftentimes, all of the pieces and tools they need to maintain data and reach their patient audience are already there. If there’s a problem, it’s often the lack of stack. In other words, data is siloed; sales and marketing tools don’t talk to one another; and orchestrating coordinated programs and reporting, if not impossible, is way more difficult than it has to be.
Instead, the goal for healthcare organizations in building their martech stack is greater than the sum of their parts. Where many hospitals are manually matching enterprise-warehoused data with CRM records, they should be enjoying data integrations that tie out acquisitions to marketing activities for a clear ROI. This is a function of getting the right tools, the right alignment and the right processes in place.
Just imagine knowing what marketing initiatives worked, what they did and how much revenue they drove. That’s what a good martech stack can actually help with.
Healthcare CRMs: Understanding Patients From Every Angle
Functioning as both a centralized data hub and a communication and analytics engine, healthcare CRM systems leverage patient, consumer and physician data from disparate sources. This type of martech enables healthcare organizations to manage different data streams — from patient scheduling to analytics — with incredible efficiency.
Healthcare CRM systems provide a 360-degree view of a patient’s information and can weave all of a healthcare organization’s critical data together. This allows the provider to focus on relationship management — from patient activation through the delivery of care.
As the demand for centralized data management continues to grow in the healthcare space, larger CRM providers like Microsoft Dynamics and Salesforce are adapting versions of their systems to the industry. And they’re not the only ones catching on. Industry disruptors like Evariant and Welltok are also partnering with healthcare organizations to increase patient acquisition and retention using niche technologies.
CRM Security: Handle With Care
Responsible for creating, storing and managing private records, healthcare systems are the curators of endless amounts of data. All that data provides a window into each patient’s health history and is instrumental in driving key processes throughout a healthcare organization — from customer service and marketing to the delivery of specialized healthcare services.
However, data this sensitive requires an exceptional level of security — especially if personal health information (PHI) is involved. When evaluating martech tools, it’s important to ensure the right level of security is in place based on the data stored.
With the right CRM system in place, healthcare organizations can avoid penalties for unlawful data storage and the negligent handling of patient information, while still benefiting from a wealth of patient data.
Using Healthcare Martech for Personalization
Patient-centered care is the new normal in today’s highly competitive healthcare industry, which means today’s consumers expect healthcare providers to engage with them proactively and personalize their care experience. And if the provider falls short of meeting these expectations, consumers won’t hesitate to take their business elsewhere.
In the B2B world, it’s common to personalize marketing based on a customer’s purchase history. Not in the healthcare space. Because of HIPAA protection, a patient’s personal health information can’t be used to govern marketing outreach or messaging. Created to safeguard patient privacy, the HIPAA Privacy Rule “gives individuals important controls over whether and how their protected health information is used and disclosed for marketing purposes. With limited exceptions, the rule requires an individual’s written authorization before a use or disclosure of his or her protected information can be made for marketing.”
However, healthcare organizations can use alternative ways to identify and reach patients on a personal level. One solution is to use lead forms and progressive profiling to have consumers volunteer information. For example, to download a treatment guide, someone may need to provide basic information along with a simple drop-down option to describe their stage of researching joint-replacement surgery. This is just the beginning. Using that created contact, the health system can track their engagement with different types of email and web content to discover their interests and needs.
CRMs provide part of the solution as well. By leveraging data from multiple sources, these systems can paint a more complete picture of a healthcare provider’s target audience. Equipped with this insight, providers can then personalize their marketing messaging to address a target patient segment’s pain points and care needs.
Marketing automation provides another key part of that solution. An essential part of a healthcare marketing stack, marketing automation is a suite of tools that help automate repetitive tasks like sending out emails in response to certain user actions. This streamlines various marketing activities and can ultimately improve patient engagement. By automating their patient engagement efforts, providers can deliver messaging that is consistent, timely and, most important, relevant to those receiving it.
Bringing in Your Website
As the virtual home of hospitals and health systems, a website is one of a healthcare organization’s most valuable marketing assets, and the engine powering a good website is its content management system (CMS). With a solid CMS in place, users can efficiently create, manage and modify web content to support and promote any care program or marketing initiative whenever the need arises.
The cornerstone of content marketing, a CMS should have at a minimum:
- Intuitive content editing abilities
- Strong workflow features
- Built-in SEO functionality
- The ability to encrypt sensitive information
- Key capabilities such as tools for incorporating a provider directory and creating personalized content
The Importance of Integration
When evaluating your marketing stack, there are more than just features, functionality and pricing to consider. You also have to account for integration.
It’s important to see each piece of martech as a building block to something bigger — namely, meaningful data that connects your marketing activities to patients and your ROI to marketing activities.
In other words, you’ll want to make sure that all the different pieces of your martech stack, from CRM to CMS to marketing automation, not only work well together but also enable you to tie out data. Integration isn’t just about creating smoother workflows; it’s also about preventing the building of disconnected silos of data that can’t be used or reported as effectively. Without a well-integrated blend of technology and tools, your marketing efforts are destined to fall short of meeting your organization’s — and your patients’ — expectations.
Marketing That Stacks up
Today’s leading healthcare providers are creating martech stacks that are streamlined, increasingly integrated and more powerful than ever. Working in harmony, these technologies are fueling better-connected, more coordinated healthcare marketing across the industry. As a result, healthcare organizations are seeing a more complete picture of their patient engagement and acquisition in real numbers that really help.
Where do you begin building or integrating your martech stack? We can come alongside you at Hileman Group. Contact us today so we can join our expertise to yours.