Incorporating Patient Experience Into Healthcare Marketing

"The way that hospitals can successfully grow their service lines, and possibly grow their enterprises, is by offering fundamentally better experiences, which should translate into marketing," says Matt Hall, founder and CEO of Human Care Systems, a healthcare marketing agency.

Matt Hall is founder and CEO of Human Care Systems.The healthcare market is increasingly competitive, forcing hospitals and health systems to find creative new ways to attract patients and referring physicians. Coinciding with the industry's recognition of the importance of patient experience, there should be a shift in how health systems market their services, according to Mr. Hall. By centering marketing on patient experience, hospitals and health systems can create a reinforcing cycle, in which hospitals market a positive experience and deliver the experience, which reinforces the marketing.

"Hospital marketing should be integrally tied to the whole patient experience," he says. "The critical investments should be about better engagement, better self management and better experience for the patient. That kind of marketing drives both near-term results of catching patients' attention and long-term results of having them decide to use the hospital as well as telling their family and friends about it."

Patient experience needs to span not only a patient's stay at a hospital, but also at least 30 days afterward to prevent readmissions, according to Mr. Hall. Engaging with patients via phone, email or other means post-discharge can help patients adhere to healthy behaviors that will limit the likelihood of their readmission.

Understanding human behavior can help hospitals effectively engage patients in healthy behaviors, such as adherence to medication, Mr. Hall says. Human Care Systems applies behavioral science to medical decisions to help hospitals manage patients' experience and provide better quality of care. "You have to think about the whole strategic solution for the patient and how that can map back to marketing," he says.

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