Until recently, hospitals operated mostly on a fee-for-service approach, meaning that their goal was to deliver the greatest number of services to the greatest number of people. Now, in response to changing markets and customer preferences, hospitals are transitioning to value-based models.
In value-based healthcare models, hospitals are rewarded for helping keep people healthy and for improving the health of those who have chronic conditions in evidence-based, cost-effective ways.
In a fee-for-service model, patient treatment is often siloed — each department independently addresses the symptoms that fall under their care umbrella. Value-based care, on the other hand, focuses on 360-degree patient health, connecting departments to improve overall health long-term. Best practices in value-based care include optimizing patient time, experience, and data, as well as payer resources.
There are many potential benefits of value-based care for both providers and patients, including:
- Decreased medical costs, especially for those with chronic conditions
- Increased patient satisfaction and engagement
- Bundled payments that cover full care cycles
- Prices reflecting patient outcomes
- Healthier overall populations
Healthcare marketing teams play an important role in helping organizations smoothly transition to a value-based care model. Let’s look at four specific tactics:
1. Create Clinical Propensity Models to Identify Audiences
Propensity models are statistical analyses used to identify the most likely prospects for targeted healthcare marketing. There are numerous patient variables that go into creating clinical propensity models, such as diagnostics, visit history, demographics, socioeconomics, and lifestyle choices. Using a statistical approach that considers many variables at the same time, patterns, insights, and outliers are revealed that inform strategic marketing campaigns.
To support value-based efforts, clinical propensity models can be used to identify target populations.
For example, use clinical propensity models to identify patients whose behaviors, clinical histories, and demographics increase their likelihood of developing chronic conditions, such as type-2 diabetes. Propensity models pick up on risk factors, like poor diets, family histories, and lack of exercise, and place patients into segmented population groups.
In a value-based care model, propensity models identify the targeted populations you need to reach out to in order to boost clinical conversions aimed at improving health outcomes and reducing rates of chronic disease. Once you have identified your target audiences, you can begin creating treatment programs designed to improve their health, such as educational workshops and sessions, to use if/when the individual further engages. For the above example looking at type-2 diabetes, such programs could revolve around nutrition and monitoring glucose levels.
2. Personalize Interactions
Since value-based care models reward organizations with greater patient satisfaction numbers, it’s more important than ever to create excellent patient experiences throughout the care continuum. An effective way to accomplish this is with personalized marketing outreach, which results in an email open rate of 18.8 percent, compared to 13.1 percent for emails without any personalization.
Combining audience targeting with personalization is a recipe for a successful patient engagement. When communicating with your target audiences, make sure to use their name and to reach out to them via preferred communication channels, whether that be email, social media, direct mail, phone, or another channel. When possible and appropriate, reference individualized aspects like medical conditions, locations, and previous engagement.
To inform personalization and improved patient experiences, you need a robust, data-driven approach for creating and delivering personalized outreach. First, employ a healthcare CRM (HCRM) to collect, store, and analyze patient data. An HCRM weaves together patient information from various sources to create comprehensive, 360-degree patient views. With these in hand, you can understand patients more fully, including what kind of personalization will appeal to them. In conjunction with HCRM, use a marketing automation platform to deliver your HCRM-informed personalized messages, keeping your organization and value-based initiatives top of mind for patients.
3. Focus on Quality Content
Content is at the core of any healthcare digital marketing strategy; great content connects with customers and draws them to your organization. In their 2018 Healthcare Marketing Trends Playbook, Smith & Jones found that there is an increasing demand for health-related content, particularly videos featuring health information from qualified physicians. Additionally, they found that sponsored content, such as blog posts or short videos, are outperforming traditional display ads, thanks to ad-blocking software and customer preference for educational content. These types of content align nicely with the value-based care initiatives of improving patient education and satisfaction.
To resonate with audiences and support value-based care initiatives, create channel-specific videos and educational-style content. Ensure a seamless, omni-channel experience, by keeping messaging and appearance consistent across all forms of content and content-hosting platforms.
4. Establish Lifelong Patient Relationships
A central component of value-based care is improving overall patient health. To support this initiative, focus marketing efforts around improving retention rates. One way to do this is by creating journey maps that outline the ideal customer experience to identify areas where patients may be losing touch with the health system. This is also extremely important from a revenue perspective, as leakage causes the average practice to lose significant revenue—missed appointments alone costs health systems more than $150 billion each year.
To mitigate gaps in the care experience, you need to offer engagement opportunities at points when patients are at risk of losing contact with your healthcare organization; strategic engagement, such as appointment reminder emails or reminded care calls, brings patients back into your organization’s community, improving retention rates and therefore patient health over the long term. You should ensure the engagement opportunities you offer are personalized with HCRM data, are sent out routinely via a marketing automation tool and/or a marketing call center, and are educational in nature. Also, include strong calls-to-action to make it easy for patients to further their engagement with your health system.
Value-based care is reshaping how healthcare organizations treat patients, charge for services, and measure success. This model is all about putting patients first, so integrate the same philosophy into your marketing efforts.
To support the transition to value-based care, marketing departments need to adapt their tactics by focusing on data-informed targeting, personalization, content development, and retention throughout the patient journey. From the first touch point to ongoing engagement with long-term customers, marketing plays a key role in the patient journey. Doing so successfully not only improves the health of your served populations, but it generates savings through efficiency and increased revenue by acquiring and retaining patients for life.