Who’s in Charge, Provider or Patient?

Value-based healthcare is driving competition. As a result, we're seeing an upswing in consumer marketing and communication strategies. Healthcare brands are starting to evaluate how individual behavior, psychology of choice, motivation to buy, and satisfaction influence the new buyer decision-making process among patients.

Marketers in other industries have long understood the importance of managing the customer experience from attraction to a mutually rewarding relationship. Patient choice trends are boosting B2C strategies, as healthcare brands need to be seen as active, genuinely caring participants in the delivery of care. The shift towards B2C marketing will continue to grow as consumers become more knowledgeable and providers become more hands-on.

Healthcare Consumerism

The balance of power is changing. Consumers are becoming more informed and more active decision-makers in their own treatment and care options. The days of payers, employers, and providers managing mainstream care are waning quickly. The healthcare deck is undergoing a reshuffle, and it’s increasingly important for healthcare players to meet the needs of their “new” customers.

The Patient’s Evolving Role

Taking consumerism a step further, as consumers take a more active role and social media engagement continues, the traditional B2B – B2C dichotomy is evolving. We’re seeing a shift in group-to-group interactions. Ideas and value are being derived from C2B (customer-to-business) and C2C (customer-to-customer) exchanges. Like-minded consumers are cultivating relationships with one another and heavily influencing provider selection and treatment decisions.

Best Practices for B2C, C2B, and C2C Engagement

There is a more urgency placed on providers to cater to individuals with personalized, relevant, customer-centric communications and experiences. Healthcare brands have unprecedented opportunities to attract and entice patients to take more responsibility for their care and change behavior. Some may say this trend is the healthcare industry’s dream!

Healthcare brands can effectively nurture and cultivate long-term consumer relationships by following these best practices for B2C, C2B, and C2C engagement.

  • Accept that you are no longer in control of the consumer (patient), but understand your power to influence and empower.
  • Provide useful information, tools, and resources to attract and entice consumers.
  • Personalize multiple touches throughout the patient journey.
  • Tailor messages based on previous interactions and acquired information.
  • Genuinely care.

An engaged patient is usually a satisfied one. Demands for value-based healthcare place more responsibility on healthcare brands – how they market themselves, converse with consumers, and deliver care. Just as consumers are breaking the mold of managed care, so too must brands break through the healthcare haze and distinguish their value in the healthcare arena.