9 Strategies To Improve Patient Engagement

9 Digital Patient Engagement & Hospital Marketing Strategies to Improve Patient Acquisition and Retention

Consumers have integrated technology deeply into their personal lives. The healthcare consumer (i.e., the patient) is increasingly expecting the same, especially as they transition from online shopping experiences to their healthcare information search.

It is crucial that providers today understand how patients are leveraging the web. Innovative providers are already using consumer digital marketing techniques (common outside healthcare) to raise brand awareness, acquire new patients, and increase patient engagement.

Nine consumer digital marketing techniques proven successful with leading providers:

1. Search engine optimization (SEO)
Determines how websites rank in web searches through engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo. According to Becker’s Hospital Review, 97% of web users are seeking health care information online and 80% of those click on the top 3 links that come up.

2. Quicklinks
Quicklinks toolbar drives immediate consumer action after landing on a provider home page. Topics for this section often include “find a Physician, online chat, bill pay, location information, event and class registration and general contact information.”

3. Contact info
Have referral phone number and other important info on all pages in order to reduce friction for patients needing to contact the provider.

4. Clear call-to-action
Implement clear call-to-actions on site pages to drive a desired outcome. These should be attention-grabbing reminders such as “need to understand you bill?” that links to a financial support phone number.

5. Become a knowledge resource
Leverage your website by making it a destination for content searches. 66% of users looking for health information online are looking for disease or current condition related knowledge. Post content such as wellness tips, videos, blogs, and much more to make the site valuable and in turn drive SEO.

6. Use social media
Consumers ages 18-24 trust social information and are also potential lifetime customers. Invest in having a social presence.

7. Segmentation
Segment customers so that social content is unique and engaging for the right audience. Diabetes patients do not want to follow a twitter feed filled with cancer news…

8. Online support groups
Take support groups online to create more contact points. Private social media such as Facebook groups and Google hangouts allows providers and care groups to go beyond weekly meetings.

9. Power of the “two-way street”
The true power of digital marketing is not it’s reach but that it is two-ways: use consumer feedback and respond accordingly. “[Online] is where conversations are moving, where they’re [the public] talking about you, and if you don’t participate, you are cut off from the discussion,” said Ed Bennett, who manages web operations at the University of Maryland Medical System.

The market is more competitive than ever for providers. Visionary hospitals are using consuming digital marketing to attract and retain patients.

To see the full article in Becker’s Hospital Review see here.