Q&A: Patient-Centric Marketing

1. What does patient-centric marketing mean?

Patient-centric marketing is outreach that focuses on making patients feel as if doctors and health care professionals are not just people who treat their symptoms, but care about their entire lifestyle and well being. It is a holistic approach to marketing that takes into account the notion of humanizing the experience between patients and health care providers so that patients feel as if their fears, wants and needs are all valued. It includes everything from being completely transparent with what procedures will cost and how they can be paid for, to recommending second opinions. It puts the power of health back into the hands of patients, and allows them to feel comfortable about the entire lifecycle of a procedure, treatment or surgery.

2. How do you build a patient-centric marketing program?

I think the biggest key to developing a patient-centric marketing program is contained in one word: listening.

And by that I mean active listening that solicits the opinions, needs and desires of your patients so that you understand what drives them, what they fear and most importantly, what they don’t feel you are giving them. You can do this through surveys and questionnaires, but find a way to obtain relevant and honest feedback from patients.

Then I think you have to tailor your services to the results of your outreach to patients. Two of the biggest patient complaints are that they don’t understand what a procedure or treatment will entail, and they are unclear about the costs of a procedure and what they will have to pay and why. So what does that really mean to you? It means your patients crave clarity. They want a clear understanding of what you are going to do for them, and exactly how much it will cost out of their pocket. Reverse positions for a second and imagine you’re on the other side of the aisle. You’re at the doctor’s office with some kind of ailment and you want assurances and comfort, but if all you’re hearing is medical jargon, how good will you feel about the experience?

3. What does success look like for you? What KPIs do you measure?

Success with patient-centric marketing is all about retention. How many patients did you lose this year, and do you know why? What were those patients not getting from you? How can you use their departure as a means of improving your services? In addition to retention, you should also keep an eye on referrals. Why? Because patients who feel good about what you’re doing on their behalf will market your practice to others.