With healthcare systems getting acclimated to new, post-pandemic normals, and digital innovations like AI and wearables on the rise, it’s essential for these organizations to keep tabs on the latest developments and how they may change the landscape. I recently had the privilege of attending the three-day annual conference of the Society for Health Care Strategy & Market Development. These are the top six trends from the conference:
1. Quality = convenience
Driven by technology and an on-demand culture, today’s consumers expect products and services to be available with a click, and the healthcare marketplace is no exception. Ease is becoming as important as quality and compassion to patients, with 94% of them willing to switch providers simply because they offer direct online scheduling. This puts pressure on providers to offer a shorter, more seamless experience, and puts the onus on marketers to highlight convenience benefits.
2. A reckoning for recruitment
Diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging has been a topic of high interest in both our culture and the corporate world in recent years, and the healthcare industry is playing catch-up at a time when they’re still grappling with recruitment and retention challenges. Marketers must consider these factors, not just in talent attraction and internal retention campaigns, but in patient-facing communications as well.
3. Branding is back
After spending the last three years prioritizing service lines to help fill the hole left by COVID, health organizations are now sending branding budgets surging as a way to float all boats, and marketers must be ready to fulfill their wishes.
4. Privacy redefined, again
The focus on privacy and protected health information (PHI) remains paramount, and while most laws haven’t changed yet, interpretations are getting stricter, which the legal profession views as an opportunity. For health organizations, this means auditing and scrubbing their sites, even if it results in a gap in tracking. But it also means staying closely tied to in-house legal and compliance departments, finding new information sources like first-party data—and leveraging electronic health record platforms as an avenue to nurture patients.
5. Technology is making it personal
With the adoption of wearables making personal health information more available than ever and telehealth’s pandemic-fueled rise resetting expectations for one-to-one communication, patients are looking for a more personalized experience than ever before, and marketers are responding by putting the customer back at the center of their campaigns.
6. Retail is starting to steer the ship
As always, patients want easier access and lower costs, and retailers like Walgreens and CVS have found an opportunity with clinics that deliver expedited care and transactional transparency. Health organizations and marketers must follow their lead by focusing on what is driving their patients to retailers—upfront billing, no separate pharmacy and fewer insurance complications. Convenience. Equity. Personalization. Privacy. As the healthcare landscape evolves and consumer preferences shift to these topics and more, so must the thinking of marketers to ensure their brands can thrive.