Patient-Centric is So Last Year—Or is It?

While patient-centric marketing may be an overused buzzword, the reality is that patient-centric marketing is more important than ever—but not at the expense of employees.

Employees are #1

It’s been about three years since the world flipped upside down and healthcare workers were expected to jump in and do whatever it took to keep our healthcare world turning. Through ever-changing policies and protocols, closing and reopening of services and increased workloads, some employees have weathered the storm and some have jumped ship.

While recruitment and staffing shortages are the go-to area of HR focus, shifting the focus to your employees and improving employee satisfaction not only reduces turnover (and costly recruiting and temp expenses) but also leads to improved patient satisfaction. It’s logical—unhappy employees lead to unhappy patients. But the inverse is also true: happy employees will lead to improved patient satisfaction.

Your team members are often the first and last touchpoint in every patient interaction. In other words, they are the face of your organization. According to a Harvard Business Review study, each one-star improvement in a company’s Glassdoor rating corresponds to a 1.3-point (out of 100) improvement in patient/customer satisfaction scores. For healthcare specifically, the correlation was even stronger, with each one-star improvement predicting a 3.2-point increase in patient/customer satisfaction.

To be clear, patients aren’t to be forsaken, but ensuring employees are satisfied will make optimizing the patient journey and creating an authentic, appealing brand much easier.

Patients Are a Close Second

As healthcare marketers, it’s easy to fall into patterns of comparing ourselves to the health system down the street, showcasing investments in infrastructure and equipment or placating rock-star physicians. We often focus on our mission as opposed to what our mission means to our patients.

What makes being patient-centric truly difficult is that it’s not about you, your physician or your buildings. It’s putting aside your preferences to make decisions that feel right to your patients, not just to you or your stakeholders. What does your latest technology investment, for example, mean to your patients? A faster diagnosis? Expanded access? With every ad you create, ask yourself “So what?” Why would my child’s teacher care about this? Why would the grocery store clerk care? Speak to them, not to the rationale of the investment to your CFO.

Patients don’t respond to service lines; they respond to solutions for issues that they are struggling with. They respond when you truly understand their barriers to accessing care, or when you can articulate how they can lead the healthiest life possible. Otherwise, your message may get seen but it won’t be remembered.

While patient-centric marketing may be one of the buzziest, overused terms in healthcare marketing, as an industry we still have work to do to put our words into action in practice within our organization. This starts with our staff and extends to how we communicate with and support our communities.

Want to continue the conversation? Contact Angela Harless at [email protected] or 918-938-7912.

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