How marketers can stop paying
lip service to patient experience and start taking action

How marketers can stop paying lip service to patient experience and start taking action

In today’s connected world we all have endless choices and more access to information than ever before. It makes us more discerning, but it can also be overwhelming.

We all flock to brands who do the hard work for us and anticipate our needs. Think of the popularity of Fitbit, for example. Users love how it anticipates when you need to stretch your legs, when to drink water and when to go to sleep.

On the flipside, when a site takes too long to load, a form asks too many questions, or a product seems to have too many features… today we won’t wait; we’ll simply leave.

As we discuss in our2019 Supertrends report experience is predicted to overtake both product and price as the key differentiator for brands. However, while there’s a lot of lip service paid to the ‘patient experience’, there’s not a lot of action.

In fact, every single respondent to a recent PM Society survey “felt there was more pharma could be doing to engage with patients.” It’s clear that there are immense opportunities for forward-thinking brands who innovate in this area. Stand still and it won’t be long before your competitors overtake you.

In today’s connected world we all have endless choices and more access to information than ever before. It makes us more discerning, but it can also be overwhelming.

We all flock to brands who do the hard work for us and anticipate our needs. Think of the popularity of Fitbit, for example. Users love how it anticipates when you need to stretch your legs, when to drink water and when to go to sleep.

On the flipside, when a site takes too long to load, a form asks too many questions, or a product seems to have too many features… today we won’t wait; we’ll simply leave.

"As we discuss in our 2019 Supertrends report customer experience is predicted to overtake both product and price as the key differentiator for brands. However, while there’s a lot of lip service paid to the ‘patient experience’, there’s not a lot of action."

Ricky Conaghan - Creative Director - HATCH

In fact, every single respondent to a recent PM Society survey “felt there was more pharma could be doing to engage with patients.” It’s clear that there are immense opportunities for forward-thinking brands who innovate in this area. Stand still and it won’t be long before your competitors overtake you.

What exactly is the Patient Experience?

The term ‘patient experience’ is the sum of interaction that patients have with the health care system; whether it’s care from frontline staff in hospitals or finding information online.

However, when you boil it down it’s really about what people remember, how they feel and what story they’ll tell others about their healthcare experience. It’s a question of perception.

When the experience aligns with patients' wants, needs, and preferences, their perception will be more positive and ultimately, help build your brand.

To sum up, improving the patient experience means putting the patient at the heart of all you do.

Where do marketing healthcare
departments fit into this?

The work of improving experience needs to come from the top of your organisation and is invariably shaped by culture.

While a lot of this work is out of the remit of product and marketing teams, it drastically limits your results if there’s a misalignment between the promise of your campaigns and the experience itself.

As HealthLeaders put it, when a poor patient experience happens as a result of failure to deliver on a promise...

“Often the problem lies in the marketing department's detachment from operations, which—like it or not—controls the patient experience.”

Therefore we believe it’s important for marketing departments to put the end-user at the centre of their work, drive change internally and become champions of the patient experience.

Key questions every health marketer must ask

It’s important never to make assumptions about the patient’s needs. People will invariably surprise you.

Just as UCB note when they cite a recent study in which...

“Patients and physicians were asked to select the five most important value characteristics in healthcare. A stunning 90% of patients chose different combinations from any combination selected by physicians.”

To improve patient experience, we believe pharma companies have to go back to the basics:

  • Who is the drug, product or service for?

  • Who else do we need to engage and talk to?

  • What problems do these people have?

  • How will the patient benefit from what we’re doing?

  • Specifically, how does our the drug, product or service improve the patient’s life, not just their physical health?

  • How do we want people to feel when they engage with us?
  • How do we want to be perceived?
  • What do we want them to remember?

Answering these fundamental questions forces you to put yourself in the patient’s shoes, to see your products and services in context with their entire lives. This gives you insights you can feed back into the wider organisation and use to create more effective work.

In Conclusion…

The days of patients who are passive in their healthcare are long gone. They no longer sit back and wait, but are proactive in seeking out what they need and shaping their own journey.

They’ll give loyalty to brands who anticipate their needs and personalise the experience. But also those that see them as people and treat the whole person; not just the physical but also the emotional.

It’s absolutely critical to our work as marketers because increasingly, your patient experience will either be one of your biggest differentiators … or one of your biggest weaknesses. It’s something we believe the industry has been paying too much lip service to and can’t afford to keep ignoring.

After all, you can’t expect to matter to patients if you can’t prove that they matter to you in return.

  • What is your organisation doing to improve patient experience?
  • Have your leadership team fully bought in to patient centricity, and does it truly reflect across all touchpoints of the brand?
  • Do you believe that patient experience and patient centricity are synonymous? And if not, why not?

We’d love to hear from you - get in touch and let us know your thoughts on all things patient-focused. For more on meaningful marketing, emerging trends and inspiring innovation, check out our Meaningful Healthcare Marketing Supertrends for 2019

Let's make something
great together!

Is there anything we can help you with?
Get in touch for a quick quote.

Let's make something
great together!

Is there anything we can help you with?
Get in touch for a quick quote.

Hatch, The Grainstore,
Blisworth Hill Farm, Stoke Road,
Blisworth, Northants,
NN7 3DB.
info@thinkhatch.co.uk
+44 (0)1604 879 776