How to Ensure Your Health IT Marketing Program Beats the Odds and Makes an Impact

As healthcare providers work to improve and expand services, and reduce costs, technology is opening doors.  Big data for cancer research.  Telehealth visits for rural patients.  Predictive analytics that identify patients most likely to be readmitted.  Wearables that provide continuous information well beyond the walls of the healthcare facility.

The business of healthcare is also changing, moving from fee for service to pay for performance.  We recently surveyed healthcare decision makers, finding sixty-six percent of healthcare providers now review IT purchases against their ability to support accountable care.  That’s something we need to keep in mind as we develop product and solution messaging.

Equally important, healthcare consumer expectations are changing – and there is new competition to attract and keep patients happy.  This means improving care outcomes and the patient care experience.

Based on our recent survey, three things will help health IT marketing programs rise to the top:

Understand Who’s at the Table

The health IT decision making process is changing and there are more players at the table than ever before.  The IT executives we surveyed said they are involved in IT decisions 92% of the time.  But, the non-IT execs disagreed, reporting IT is involved 78% of the time.  More than half agreed that IT purchasing is influenced by more stakeholder groups than two years ago.  In addition to clinicians, these new decision makers include legal/compliance teams, risk managers, and the C-suite.

New players and personas mean that marketers must become fluent in new “business languages.”  Each decision maker has a slightly different business priority and perspective, driving the need for even greater micro-targeting.

The Customer Experience Officer and the Chief Data Officer have very different perspectives and requirements, yet might be weighing in on the decision process for a new business intelligence solution.  While we’re speaking to more and more varied audiences – we can’t speak to everyone at once.

Focus on the Players That Matter Most – Your Customer’s Customers

Both IT and non-IT healthcare provider decision makers said improving the patient experience is a top tech goal for 2016.

And, to support their efforts, almost a quarter (23 percent) said they have a Chief Experience Officer today.  As that number grows, these leaders will bring different perspectives, many coming from consumer-focused industries outside of healthcare, such as hospitality.

Their goals will be to make healthcare more “customer” friendly – better access to information, better data on past procedure success, insight into wait times, etc.

Know When To Show ‘Em

Armed with these statistics on the state of the union for healthcare providers, what are the next steps?

Social media and research come to the forefront as best tactics for getting the attention of healthcare executives.

Sixty-eight percent of non-IT and 44% of IT execs say social media has become more important in the past two years in terms of work-related knowledge and research.  And, 89% of providers name third-party research as a vendor offer that would get their attention.

For marketers, this means new opportunities as we rethink messaging and tactics to ensure we are addressing this broader community.

Interestingly, when we asked healthcare providers what IT vendors/marketers are doing wrong and how we can improve, their response was to listen better so we understand their goals.

As the roles are in flux and responsibilities in transition (Chief Data Officers, Chief Experience Officers, Chief Digital Officers, etc.), it’s more important than ever to listen to our customers and understand their unique needs and priorities.

To learn more about how healthcare IT decisions and decision makers are changing, download our full report:  Time to Double Down:  How to Beat the Odds in a New Era of Health IT Marketing –

Nicole Burdette, 11mark
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