Why Hospitals Need Smarter Patient Acquisition and Retention

This is the first post in a three-part series discussing healthcare landscape challenges and the need to engage patients across their healthcare journey (not just within the four walls of the system), extend patient lifetime value, and increase patient acquisition and retention. Read the second post to learn how using personalized, multi-channel campaigns helps achieve the goal of patients for life, and check out the third post to learn how healthcare organizations can extend patient lifetime value through physician loyalty.

patient and physician relationship

When we meet with healthcare leaders across the country, many convey a sense of urgency and need for transformation, digital and otherwise. These organizations face new challenges, and consumers have more purchasing power and higher expectations.

Single-tactic, traditional marketing efforts they’ve relied on for years no longer are enough; they need to develop more effective, targeted multi-channel campaigns to maximize budget and drive business results.

In order to successfully compete, they are adopting a data-driven approach to growth and gaining new visibility into marketing performance and provider network utilization.

Let’s evaluate the 3 reasons why hospitals are innovating their growth strategies to drive patient acquisition and retention:

1. New Competitors in a Changing Healthcare Landscape

The healthcare consumer of today has choices. Yesterday’s consumer may have simply asked their primary care physician for a referral; today’s consumer is also considering physician/provider reviews online, price comparisons, and shopping around for the best care and patient experience. In short, they’re more selective than ever about where to seek specialty, routine, and urgent care.

In addition, traditional health systems are facing new competition as consumer brands with incredible brand power and loyalty, like Amazon, CVS, and Walgreens, are increasing their healthcare offerings. This is creating a new dynamic; heightening the need to provide a superior patient experience, develop stronger relationships with patients, and seek out strategic ways to grow.

To achieve these objectives, health systems are leveraging technologies that deliver actionable intelligence to find, guide, and keep patients for life. With better information, such as robust consumer profiles and detailed market insight, marketers are empowered with the best information to achieve their defined goals.

Acquire and retain patients for life

2. Investment in Patient Retention Yields ROI

Loyalty drives profitability—the more patients you retain, the more revenue they’ll bring in over the course of their lifetime. Depending on the research, it can cost 5 to 25 times more to attract a new customer than retain an existing one. Additionally, some industry research has shown that a 5 percent increase in customer retention produces a 25 percent increase in profit.

However, there are challenges: loyalty to healthcare providers is declining. Consumers are willing to switch providers if they aren’t getting high-quality care and experience. Forty-three percent of Millennials, the largest group of consumers, are likely to switch providers in the next few years. More than half (54 percent) switched already in the past 2-3 years.

One of the ways healthcare leaders are approaching this challenge is by increasing patient engagement opportunities—enriching the patient experience by adding convenience, leveraging healthcare CRM technology to personalize and target, and using data and analytics to guide their efforts. They are evaluating the entire patient journey – including digital, traditional, and hospital call center interactions – to identify areas to connect with customers and optimize the patient experience.

3. Executives Demanding Accountability and Results

More than ever before, healthcare executives are looking for results from their marketing spend and expect measurable ROI. Marketers are challenged to not only show indisputable value in terms of high-value service line growth and extended patient lifetime value, but also to deliver a favorable payer mix from campaigns.

In order to find and keep the right patients, advanced health analytics are needed to execute integrated precision marketing campaigns. Predictive and propensity models help define and segment hyper-targeted audiences across digital and traditional channels, like email and direct mail.

Final Thoughts

Providing high-quality healthcare is only one part of the equation for today’s healthcare leaders.

Nowadays, customers demand a higher level of service and convenience from their providers, from their first touchpoint to forming an ongoing relationship. Gaining deeper insights into their organization, consumers, and marketplace through the use of data and advanced analytics is the first step toward optimized growth, smarter patient acquisition and retention, and extended patient lifetime value.

In the next post of our three-part series, we’ll take a deeper dive into how healthcare marketers can leverage personalized, multi-channel campaigns to nurture and engage patient relationships. In our third post, we’ll explore how physician loyalty extends patient lifetime value.

Acquire and retain patients for life

Jessica Friedeman

Jessica Friedeman

Jessica Friedeman serves Evariant as Vice President, Product Marketing. Leveraging over a decade of experience in the healthcare industry, Jessica provides product, strategy and industry support so as to deliver solutions that maximize client’s marketing and organizational strategy. Jessica additionally served Evariant as Vice President, Solutions Engineering, lending technical support to the sales process. Prior to Evariant, she served as Director, Solutions Support at Truven Health Analytics (now IBM Watson Health), where she was responsible for ensuring the successful positioning and growth of the Marketing & Planning business lines.