3 Ways to Improve Your Direct-to-Patient Marketing Campaigns

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Healthcare providers are always looking for new and creative ways to provide patients with the tools and resources to make smarter health-related decisions. Many view patient engagement marketing as a subset of their broader marketing initiatives; in many cases, this “afterthought” approach negatively impacts the results of their marketing campaigns.

To succeed, healthcare providers need to differentiate between broader marketing strategies and patient engagement to deliver the right message to the right audience.

What Is Patient Engagement in Healthcare Marketing?

Patient engagement, also known as patient activation, focuses on providing current and former patients with information and resources to make informed decisions about their health and well-being.

Active patients are more likely to seek out their medical records, learn more about their health conditions and schedule preventative care services. These “activated patients” tend to have more positive health outcomes.

Why Patient Engagement Matters

More than ever, patients expect a collaborative healthcare experience and are willing to explore other options if the services provided at their current care center don’t deliver. Patients demand ready access to their health records, their primary care physicians and health resources. They want to play an active role in their healthcare decisions.

And it’s a good thing, too. Activated patients are three times less likely to have unmet medical needs than patients with low engagement rates.

A 2022 study reinforced several additional benefits of patient engagement, including:

  • Overall improved quality of care.
  • Better healthcare outcomes.
  • Higher patient satisfaction.
  • Lower rates of depression and anxiety.
  • Improved patient compliance.

3 Ways to Improve Patient Activation and Engagement Initiatives

Effective patient engagement brings the clinic to the patient on their terms. While technical and medical literacy are established barriers to activation, it’s possible to mitigate their impact by focusing on three core principles:

  1. Keep it personal
  2. Make it accessible
  3. Make it collaborative

Most patient engagement software or platforms provide useful tools to achieve these objectives. We can help you find the best solution to meet your needs.

1.  Make It Personal

Patients are also consumers. Today’s marketing environment has altered consumer expectations concerning messaging and content, pushing healthcare providers to provide curated content and information that speaks to the needs of each patient. Lean on market research and data from your engagement software to prioritize delivering the right email or notification to the right audience. This is especially important for preventative screening services or patients with elevated risks based on genetic or personal health histories.

2. Make It Accessible

In some cases, where communication takes place is often as important as the messaging itself. Even top-notch patient portals are a waste of resources if they’re difficult for patients to access. Whenever possible, empower patients to elect their chosen method of communication, be it by email, text or a dedicated app on their phone.

3. Make It Collaborative

Engagement should allow – and prioritize – two-way communication between patient and provider. At most practices, the primary care physician is the main point of contact and trust. Put that familiar, friendly face forward; address emails from the PCP, use their headshot appropriately in communications and remind users about digital communication methods to ask questions between visits.

How to Measure Patient Engagement

Evaluating your team’s success depends on gathering regular and reliable data. Patient experience and patient feedback surveys are useful tools for collecting patient perspectives. Those responses should be evaluated alongside behavior measures as well.

Email marketing metrics – Segment patients to a dedicated list and track common email marketing metrics that reflect on the quality of the information provided, such as:

  • Click-through rate (CTR) – The percentage of users who clicked on an embedded link in your inbox as a share of the entire list.
  • Open rate – The percentage of subscribers that opened your email. The healthcare industry average is around 21-24%; if you’re below this benchmark, it may be time to tag in some additional assistance.

(Check out our email marketing metrics guide for more key performance indicators to monitor.)

Patient recall – Physicians and specialists often request follow-up visits to monitor patient progress during a care plan or treatment. A recall period can be a few weeks to a year, but it’s always a measure of how much trust and value a patient places in their healthcare provider. Low recall attendance rates indicate that patients may get too little insight or communication between the initial treatment and the follow-up appointment.

Patient booking – Use call tracking and appointment booking software to understand how patients prefer to schedule appointments. This data can inform how practices prioritize staffing and technology budgets while also highlighting friction within the booking process. Do patients who book online open emails more often than those who call appointments? Are more patients requesting telehealth appointments? Booking patterns provide a lot of information that can guide new services or processes.

Invest in Patient Activation and Engagement with Oneupweb

As your dedicated digital marketing partner, we’ll provide industry expertise to deliver engaging content that empowers patients to own their healthcare journey. For over 25 years, Oneupweb has designed and implemented healthcare marketing initiatives that benefit providers, patients and their communities. See where our team fits into your marketing efforts; get in touch or call (231) 922-9977 today to get started.

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