“The health system of the future will be consumer-centric, wellness oriented, care everywhere and digitally connected.” The American Hospital Association’s Center for Health Innovation September 2019 report on digital innovation articulates that vision for participatory health, where the current health care delivery model driven by providers will be replaced with a consumer-driven model. 

The foundation of such a health system is patient engagement and activation. Understanding that patients are not simply the passive objects, or purchasers, of a health system’s services but are active, participatory partners in the pursuit of better health.

Hospitals and health systems are beginning to dip their toes into the consumerism waters. More and more are hiring chief experience officers, and many have patient portals or mobile apps to communicate with patients outside of the hospital’s four walls. But, institutions that think they are empowering and engaging patients to be partners in care simply by deploying a patient portal or mobile app or some other consumerism tool or feature are making the mistake of thinking technology without strategy is sufficient. The result is use of a technology tool du jour with little meaningful impact on care outcomes. 

In health care, much more is stake than in other industries where consumer-focused technologies have become commonplace. Industries such as online retail, hospitality and banking. The goals of patient engagement are partnership and empowerment to achieve better health outcomes. The goals are not loyalty, convenience and satisfaction, although those are important components. A consumer can engage with his or her bank almost entirely and satisfactorily without connecting with a banking professional. In many ways, eliminating the human interaction is almost the point of online and mobile banking. The same cannot be said about health care.

Rethinking and redesigning the patient experience must begin with a recognition that health care is different. While today’s health care consumers indeed expect convenience and information and services on demand and form brand loyalty based on perception and experience, their expectations do not end there. They also expect to be cared for, respected, valued and treated as individuals and to be made well.

Thoughtful and intentional patient engagement strategy, therefore, must bring together hospital marketing, communications, operations and clinical teams and ask the question, “what do our patients need in order to become healthier and more engaged in their care?” It also involves measurement and analytics. Are patients indeed becoming healthier? Have readmissions declined? Are we improving treatment plan compliance?

The contemporary tactics and tools of consumerism – personalization, digital targeting, convenience, data-driven behavior insights – have an important role to play in patient engagement strategy. But, the patient, not the technology, must have the starring role.Amrit Kirpalani is the CEO of Dallas-based NectarOM, an omnichannel personalization company that works with health care organizations to create a 360-degree view of their patients to grow their loyalty and satisfaction and improve health care outcomes.

NectarOM Health Automates Patient Outreach and Engagement to Better Manage Post- Discharge Care and Reduce Readmissions 

Oct. 2, 2019 (Dallas, Texas) – 230 Texas hospitals will see their Medicare payments reduced by up to 3 percent for 2020 as a penalty for having an excess number of patients return to the hospital following treatment. Despite a decade of improvement, hospitals’ ability to continue reducing avoidable readmissions requires new investment in technology solutions. 

With increasing focus on consumerism in health care, hospital leaders are looking more at technology systems that have worked in other industries to enhance customer loyalty and retention and improve the customer experience. NectarOM, a leader in customer engagement technology in the retail and hospitality industries has entered the health care space with large organizations like United Health Group to help hospitals and physician groups holistically engage patients in their care not only to grow patient satisfaction but to improve health care outcomes, such as reducing avoidable readmissions. 

“NectarOM Health helps hospitals proactively engage patients in better managing their post-discharge care to avoid unnecessary hospital readmissions,” said Amrit Kirpalani, president/CEO of NectarOM. “With the NectarOM platform, hospitals can automate the delivery of personalized content, such as appointment reminders, and help patients refill prescriptions or find resources to support their recovery and healing.” 

Patient engagement strategies increasingly are seen as the key to improving care quality and outcomes. Patients who indicated on HCAHPS surveys that they were not engaged in their own care were 34 percent more likely to be readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of discharge, according to a study published in Patient Experience. Another study published in the International Journal of Integrated Care found that post-discharge, more than half of patients are unable remember their follow-up appointment dates, and nearly two-thirds cannot recall dosages or names of new medications. 

The NectarOM patient engagement platform gives hospitals the ability to leverage the power of technology to deliver actionable, relevant and personalized content to patients so that they keep follow-up appointments, adhere to care guidelines, understand physician instructions, and get help when they need it. “Navigating the health care system can be a challenge for patients recovering from a major procedure,” said Kirpalani. “Having a support system is essential. The NectarOM Health patient engagement platform gives hospitals the ability to be a part of that support system.” 

Readmissions penalties defined a decade in transformation of the U.S. health care system. Introduced as part of the Affordable Care Act, which became law in 2010, the legislation put quality and patient safety at the forefront of hospital operations. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services assesses these financial penalties for hospitals when they have an excess number of hospital readmissions for six 

conditions and procedures: heart attack, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart failure, pneumonia, artery bypass graft surgery, elective total hip and/or total knee replacement. 

For more information on how NectarOM Health works with hospitals to build a patient engagement system and improve health care quality and outcomes and reduce costs, contact Amrit Kirpalani at amrit@nectarom.com or 305/725-7921. 

–30– ABOUT NECTAROM NectarOM is a Dallas-based omnichannel personalization company that works with organizations in retail, hospitality and health care to create a 360-degree view of their consumers to grow their loyalty and satisfaction.

“There is a vital change happening in healthcare….Providers who are ready to respond by creating a strong patient experience are going to win, and those who aren’t will be left behind.” That’s from the recent GE Healthcare/Prophet study of the patient experience.

There’s a few key findings cited in the study that merit repeating and, most importantly, addressing:

  • Consumer-patients are unhappy and frustrated: 81 percent of consumers are unsatisfied with their health care experience, and the happiest consumers are those who interact with the system the least.
  • Hospitals are failing to meaningfully address the patient experience: 75 percent of providers say patient experience is critical to the future success of their organizations. Yet, on the list of hospital CEOs’ top concerns, patient satisfaction doesn’t make the top five.
  • Consumers are expecting different…and better. “The power has shifted to the consumer in nearly every industry —transportation, retail, and financial services. Finally, it is healthcare’s turn.”
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Hospitals and health systems can no longer keep operating as if the consumer revolution doesn’t apply to them. The key to survival and to thriving in a health care market where consumers have many more choices than even just a decade ago is investment in a holistic patient engagement strategy.

Fortunately, hospitals can benefit from the early work already done and perfected in the retail and hospitality industries to automate the delivery of personalized content to create a more meaningful brand experience. They don’t have to reinvent the wheel.

With a robust marketing personalization platform, hospitals can deliver an omnichannel patient experience through multiple touchpoints. It’s what consumers already are used to and expect. The consumer revolution is well underway. Read more about how NectarOM can position your hospital for success or request a demo of our platform.

A recent Becker’s Hospital Review article challenges the practice of putting responsibility for patient experience under the purview and responsibility of a single department or individual. Historically, hospitals have focused on satisfaction with a clinical experience solely as measured by HCAHPS scores. Some task marketing departments with improving experience by focusing on brand image. More recently, bigger hospitals and health systems are assigning chief experience officers the responsibility of improving the larger experience—a combination of clinical care satisfaction and brand perception—of both patients and caregivers.  

But, as the Becker’s author notes, “the question of responsibility, of who owns the patient experience, must be answered with reference to a robust partnership among everyone involved—including clinicians, experience departments and marketers.”  

The key to this shared ownership is a holistic patient engagement strategy.  

Such a strategy understands that in many ways, today’s health care consumers are different from those of the past. They expect convenience and information and services on demand. They are accustomed to personalized, customized marketing content. They consult multiple sources – friends, family, online sites – for health care information. They form brand loyalty based on perception and experience. 

But, in many ways, they are the same. They want their health care providers to care for and about them as individuals. They want to be healed and their fears alleviated. They want to be respected and understood. They want straightforward, understandable information.  

What health care consumers want is personalized care and service – before they become a patient, during their care experience and after. They want information and experiences that speak to them….to their values, needs and concerns.  

A robust, technology-enabled patient engagement strategy ties together these two halves of today’s health care consumer. It uses the contemporary tactics and tools of consumerism – personalization, digital targeting, convenience, data-driven behavior insights – to achieve the timeless goal of patient-centered care. 

And it ties together the multiple, diverse departments and individuals within a hospital to share the patient engagement commitment. 

For more information on how NectarOM Health can work with your hospital to implement a patient engagement strategy to enhance patient experience across channels and settings, contact Amrit Kirpalani or request a demo. 

How to improve patient acquisition and retention for your medical practice or healthcare facility.

The healthcare industry has been going through a massive change. With the dramatic shift in health insurance policies and consumer behaviors, patients are stepping up to take better control of their healthcare choices.

In addition to this, as more patients are covering a larger portion of their healthcare bills, providers need to put more efforts into marketing directly to consumers.

Here are the latest healthcare marketing strategies to help you meet the fast-evolving patient expectations while improving patient acquisition and retention.

4 latest marketing trends in the healthcare industry

The key to attracting more patients to your medical practice or healthcare facility is to deliver an outstanding patient experience. Here’s what successful healthcare marketers are doing to succeed:

1. A patient-centric online portal

Consumers are now accustomed to managing their relationships with retailers and service providers via a robust online platform.

You need to offer a sophisticated, secure, and user-friendly patient portal that can handle most of the day-to-day patient interactions, such as paying bills, making appointments, checking test results, ordering prescription renewals, obtaining medical histories, and even conducting virtual consultations.

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2. A search-engine optimized website

Consumers are now more comfortable with using online searches to look for a medical facility or a healthcare provider.

Your website needs to be optimized for local SEO so it’ll show up in the “local pack” at the top of the search result pages when users search for “_________ near me.” You can also build backlinks and drive more traffic by getting online reviews on Google and third-party websites.

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As digital assistants such as Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant are gaining popularity, more than 50% of searches will be voice-based by 2020 — your website content needs to be optimized for voice search. You can do this by focusing on long-tail key terms, using patients’ language, and providing local information.

3. Real-time patient support and interaction

With the latest customer support technologies, consumers are used to getting their questions answered and problems resolved in real time.

Providing best-in-class support is the key to improving your patient acquisition and retention rate. Make sure patients can contact your team via multiple channels such as email, text, phone, social media, and live chat.

In addition to this, don’t just interact with your patients only when there’s a problem! You can use the same channels to increase their engagement with your brand by sharing valuable content and gathering feedback.

4. Marketing automation and personalization

Consumers expect relevant content, information, and offers from their service providers. You can use marketing automation and segmentation strategies to deliver a highly personalized experience that meets patient expectations, increases engagement, and improves retention.

A robust marketing personalization platform allows you to deliver an omnichannel patient experience through multiple touchpoints, such as email, social media, text messages, printed materials, and so on to provide the most relevant and helpful content so you stay top of mind.

Hyper-personalization will drive the future of healthcare marketing. Request a demo to see how you can use our robust customer data management system to unlock the power of this marketing strategy.

How personalization technologies are helping medical practices improve patient acquisition and retention.

The healthcare industry has become increasingly decentralized and consumer-centric, thanks to shifting patient expectations and insurance policies.

As people are taking a more active role in managing their health and wellbeing, they want their healthcare providers to do more than just making a diagnosis and writing a prescription.

Today’s savvy patients are used to receiving highly personalized services from businesses and they expect the same from their healthcare providers.

Here’s why personalization is the future of healthcare marketing:

1. Deliver a holistic patient experience

Healthcare isn’t a one-off transaction with a single seller. Patient experiences often involve interactions with multiple providers and facilities over time, as well as support for personal and emotional issues.

A personalization strategy, driven by a customer data management platform, allows healthcare providers to access all the patient data at a single location. They can gain a comprehensive understanding of each patient’s history and deliver a holistic experience that includes customized recommendations most relevant to each patient.

Not to mention, personalized interactions will help you build long-term and trusting relationships with your patients and improve the quality of care.

2. Improve patient acquisition and retention

Personalization technologies can help you acquire and retain more patients by delivering the right message in the right place at the right time to the right audience.

For example, you can send highly-targeted content to patients with specific conditions and reminders for checkups or vaccinations. This will help you stay top of mind, build trust, increase patient engagement, and get more patients to return to your practice for continuous care.

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When supported by a robust customer data management solution that provides a single customer view, your team can access each patient’s history and preferences in real time to improve efficiency and quality of care while reducing errors and frustrations.

For instance, by seeing all of a patient’s conditions and treatments in one place, you can help them better navigate their health insurance coverage. As you add value by personalizing patient interactions, you’ll also improve patient retention.

3. Increase patient satisfaction and word-of-mouth referrals

Personalization technologies help a medical team care for the patients more compassionately by developing personal relationships with them.

Such technologies also streamline the patient experience, making it more convenient and less time-consuming to visit a medical practice.

Patients will have more positive interactions with your practice, be more motivated to continue their care, and follow through with their treatments. This will lead to better outcomes and higher patient satisfaction.

Last but not least, most people still look for personal recommendations while choosing a healthcare provider. When you offer a highly personalized experience that improves treatment results and patient satisfaction, you’re more likely to get word-of-mouth referrals, which is often the best way to market your service.

Apply marketing personalization to augment patient experience and improve patient retention.

The healthcare industry is becoming increasingly competitive while patients expect interactions with a provider to resemble other consumer experiences.

In order to stand out from your competition, as well as to attract and retain more patients, your medical practice needs to deliver an excellent patient experience that makes receiving care from you convenient and seamless.

With the aid of advanced marketing technologies, many businesses are now delivering personalized user experiences that have helped them increase customer acquisition and retention.

These strategies can be applied to the healthcare industry as well and here’s how you can augment your patient experience:

1. Personalized website content

Sharing helpful and relevant content with your audience and patients can help build trust and relationships. In addition, users are more likely to return to and engage with your website if they can find what they need easily.

You can program your website to show customized information and make content recommendations to the visitors based on a variety of criteria. For example, the search terms they use, the links they click on, the pages they have visited, or in the case of registered users, their medical histories and preferences.

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2. Customized patient portal

More and more consumers prefer to manage their relationships with service providers online via a self-service portal. A customizable patient portal can help you deliver a seamless experience that’ll improve patient retention, reduce errors, and lower administrative cost.

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Deliver a fast and convenient experience by incorporating each user’s medical history, preferences, and other personal data into the patient portal experience. Posting reminders and offering the ability to schedule an appointment, pay invoices using saved payment information, and order prescription refills are a few examples of this.

3. Targeted email marketing

Marketing automation and email personalization have been proven to generate an ROI of as high as 400% when combined with proper segmentation and content targeting strategies.

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By sharing targeted content that’s most relevant to each recipient, you can stay top of mind and nurture relationships with your audience. Such content can include information on specific medical conditions, event announcements, and seasonal resources.

You can also improve patient retention or re-engage lapsed patients by sending out reminders for regular checkups or vaccination visits and make it easy for users to set up an appointment through your online portal.

4. Omnichannel patient support

Consumers want to interact with businesses through their preferred touchpoints and be able to “pick up where they left off” if they switch channels in a middle of an interaction.

They also expect such interactions to take their histories and preferences into account so they can receive personalized content, recommendations, and solutions.

By using a customer data management platform, you can set up a single customer view to facilitate patient communications and ensure that your team is accessing the latest information in real-time to provide the best support possible to improve patient satisfaction.

4 keys to increasing patient acquisition and retention with personalized content and offers.

Personalization has become one of the most effective marketing strategies for any business to improve customer acquisition and retention by increasing audience engagement and building relationships

It’s no different in the healthcare industry. In fact, with an overwhelming amount of health-related information available, it is now more important than ever to deliver content and services that are helpful and relevant to your patients.

Here are some essential steps to designing a personalization marketing strategy for your healthcare practice:

1. Create personas and map out the buyer’s journey

The first step to successful personalized marketing is understanding your audience by creating a series of buyer personas

These personas help you identify your patients’ priorities, the questions they have, the language they use, and their main concerns so you can design communications that speak to them. You can leverage this information for creating your content, designing your offers, and setting up your promotional strategies.

You also need to understand where your patients are in their decision-making process; for instance  they could be researching a medical condition, looking for a provider, or ready to schedule a visit. You can deliver the most relevant content and offer at the right time.

2.  Design targeted content and offers

When you have gained a clear understanding of your patients, identified where they get their information, and segmented your audience according to a variety of criteria, such as health conditions, you can then design targeted content and offers to deliver an individualized experience in the right place and at the right time.

Distribute the information and offers through multiple channels, such as personalized website content, emails, phone, printed materials, and social media, based on the patients’ preferences and past interactions with your content to maximize engagement and conversion.

3. Communicate the privacy policy

In a survey, 49% of consumers don’t mind businesses having a certain amount of their information so they can receive content and offers that are more relevant.

However, healthcare services involve more private and personal information than a typical retail business so there’s a fine line to tread when you use patient information to deliver personalized content.

To reinforce trust and patient relationships while distributing targeted content, you need to clearly communicate your privacy policy and how you utilize patient information before adding your patients’ information to your CRM system.

4. Analyze the data to understand user behaviors

There’s no one-size-fits-all personalization strategy and there’s only one way to find out what really works for your market and your practice, and that’s by analyzing the data to understand how your patients interact with your content and respond to your offers.

To effectively implement a marketing personalization strategy, collect patient information, and analyze the data to fine-tune your marketing communications, you need a robust customer data management system that provides you with a single customer view and offers content recommendations.

Request a demo to talk to our personalization expert and see how Nectarom can help you deliver a personalized patient experience.