How Spectrum Health Lakeland built a digital presence, helped physicians attract new patients


Hospitals and health systems looking to boost revenue and increase patient volume after the COVID-19 pandemic should consider online opportunities to engage with patients and make their physicians more accessible.

St. Joseph, Mich.-based Spectrum Health Lakeland launched a digital acquisition program in 2015 to promote 150 of their physicians to commercially insured patients by tapping's consumer platform.

During an On Demand webinar hosted by Becker's Hospital Review and sponsored by Healthgrades, Megan Yore, chief marketing and communications officer at Spectrum Health Lakeland, and Mike Marvin, group vice president of Healthgrades, discussed how Spectrum Health Lakeland rapidly implemented Healthgrades' marketing platform and achieved a significant return on investment for patient acquisition.

Standing out in the "consumer search funnel"

As consumers take a more hands-on approach to shopping for healthcare, hospitals and health systems must meet their marketing expectations online. The challenge for digital marketing teams is staying relevant in the "consumer search funnel," as patients now do their due diligence searching across the web for the right healthcare providers that fit their insurance and medical needs. 

"The value of Healthgrades for organizations like Spectrum Health Lakeland is that we represent the bottom of that funnel," Mr. Marvin said. "We bring in the need-based consumer who knows what medical condition they have and understands the symptoms they're experiencing and is now looking for the right person for treatment."

Building an online presence

With the Healthgrades solution, Spectrum Health Lakeland helped its physicians establish an online reputation among consumers. The enhanced physician profiles set the health system's physicians apart from other providers by distinguishing which organizations physicians belong to while listing their specialties and consumer-based star ratings.

"This was at a time before search and ratings were as prevalent in people's minds, so convincing the physicians that this was the right way to go was a bit challenging, but they eventually got on board and then really adopted and understood the value of the ratings system and the enhanced profiles," Ms. Yore said.

Because they are derived from consumer experiences rather than clinical scores, the star ratings are important for showcasing the value of Spectrum Health Lakeland's physicians to future patients.

Swift launch leads to high ROI

Spectrum Health Lakeland launched Healthgrades' program within about 30 days of establishing the partnership. The quick launch yielded a fast ROI and generated results almost immediately.

Healthgrades does not require EMR or IT integrations on the health system's end, which allows for a swift implementation period of about three to four weeks, according to Mr. Marvin. This aspect may be especially helpful for hospitals and health systems coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic because it allows them to activate a digital marketing program in a short time frame.

To view the full webinar, click here.

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