According to Google, 5% of all online searches are health-related. Nearly 90% of patients look up information on the web before they schedule an appointment. This internet-driven hunt for healthcare content has changed the way patients and providers connect. To some extent, it has even led to some of the most common marketing challenges in healthcare.
However, online search is also a way to connect with potential patients. By taking advantage of new technologies, you can draw in and retain patients while providing them with a higher quality of care. With that in mind, let’s take a look at how we can help you overcome common marketing challenges to help your organization flourish.
What is Healthcare Marketing?
Healthcare marketing is an interdisciplinary approach to attracting patients to a healthcare organization. It involves developing, communicating, and implementing marketing strategies for these organizations.
It aims to promote healthcare services but also empowers patients through education. Marketing techniques in this industry need to be customer-centered and scientifically sound to attract a diverse audience and help them improve their physical and mental well-being.
Related: Emerging Technology in Health Care: 10 Innovations that Are Changing the Industry
Common Healthcare Marketing Challenges
Changing Patient Expectations
Healthcare practices must meet patient expectations, even as they change. These expectations influence how patients choose and interact with practitioners, even if doctors don’t necessarily agree.
For example, many consumers look at online reviews when choosing a practice. However, some doctors are resentful of the influence these reviews have. Either way, healthcare providers must meet the expectations reflected in these reviews, such as being a good communicator and having clear operational processes in place.
HIPAA and Marketing
HIPAA has a critical impact on every aspect of healthcare in the US, especially when it comes to marketing. HIPAA compliance means that the healthcare industry cannot use certain strategies that may be common in other sectors. For example, healthcare organizations may not use re-marketing ads to protect confidential patient information.
In addition, healthcare marketers need to be careful of their messaging. It is vital to avoid making false claims or even inflating a product's or service's possible results. Not only is this dishonest and breaks down patient trust, but it is also a direct breach of HIPAA compliance.
Public Perception of Healthcare
Unfortunately, many people have a negative perception of the healthcare industry. Health insurance issues have pulled marketing challenges into the spotlight.
Consumers constantly see medication advertisements, which have a lot of fine print. This has made them skeptical of healthcare services, especially when they are marketed. Healthcare organizations need to build trust to overcome this negative perception.
Related: Health Literacy: Improve Patient Satisfaction
Limited Budget for Marketing
Many budgets for healthcare organizations are not focused on marketing. Clinics and other small practices don’t prioritize it. Meanwhile, larger hospitals tend to focus on reaching out to donors as opposed to potential patients.
Some hospitals and other practices may also have an "if you build it, they will come" mentality towards marketing. After all, they provide essential services to the surrounding community.
Because of this, marketers may need to work harder to prove that their marketing efforts have a worthwhile ROI.
Overcoming Marketing Challenges in Healthcare
Utilize an AI Chatbot to Provide All Hours Care
Patients may be reluctant to call their provider at off-hours if they are unsure about the severity of their issue. This could lead to a trip to the emergency room or them waiting it out at home, thus, putting their health at risk due to delayed treatment. AI chatbots can provide services at any hour, increasing the likelihood that patients get the timely care they need.
AI Chatbots cannot provide a doctor’s care, which means their role should not be to diagnose or treat patients. Instead, they can allow patients to find the necessary information at all hours. This will enable them to determine their care options and the next steps they should take.
Healthcare organizations can set up our Clearstep chatbot to serve as a virtual triage point for patients. This will point them in the right direction and help them get the level of care they need without waiting to be triaged by a clinical staff member.
Our chatbot can match patients’ needs with the best services for them. This means looking across the provider network to choose which care choice is correct at that moment.
Want to learn how to stretch your marketing budget? Learn more about Clearstep and get in touch!
Heightened PHI Protection
When working with patient health information, all data must be secure at all points. If an organization chooses to use an AI chatbot, it will collect information that will fall under HIPAA regulation. It is critical to select chatbot services that can adequately protect patient health information.
Our Clearstep technology encrypts all data in transit and at rest. In addition, all identifying user data is stored separately from medical data. This reduces the risk of exposing or linking data that should not be connected.
Conduct a Patient Outreach & Education Campaign
Healthcare organizations need to rebuild trust with patients. Patient outreach and educational campaigns are some of the most effective ways to do this across a large audience.
Organizations can start by producing educational content that will promote healthy living and their practices. If possible, an organization could even host classes for the community about topics that impact local people.
Providers should also work on engaging with the community on social media and in real life. This can help you get recognition as an actual person they can communicate personally and trust.
Related: Patient Engagement in Healthcare: How Can I Improve It?
Consider AI Technology to Reduce Costs to Increase Marketing Budget
Every patient that comes into a clinic uses staff and other resources. If the patient is not at the place of care that they should be, they will be redirected to another location, where they will incur further costs.
AI technology like Clearstep ensures patients are seen at the correct level of care they need, reducing unnecessary expenses. In addition, an organization will save money due to its ability to reallocate staff resources from triage to other tasks.
Clearstep can also help increase retention and even generate leads. Our patient services chatbot allows you to create automated workflows that can take care of the most common patient requests. If people are seeking care, they can easily book at your organization. Current patients will also find it easy to schedule the care they need, check insurance eligibility, and more. Therefore, increasing the chances that they stay within your provider network.
Ready to make life easier for your patients and providers? Schedule a demo with Clearstep today!
Marketing can be tricky for any organization, and it becomes even more difficult for those in the healthcare industry. Common marketing challenges in healthcare include HIPAA compliance, public perception and expectations, and limited budgets.
By building trust and utilizing modern tools like Clearstep's AI chatbot, your healthcare organization can get a leg up in their marketing strategy.