Once upon a time, the doctor/patient story centered on two stock characters: the venerated, trusted doctor, and the more or less passive patient. The doctor could be friendly and comforting, or aloof and clinical, but he or she called the shots; a patient might be a "good patient" or a "bad patient," indicating how well he or she followed doctors' orders. As a patient, you went to your doctor (or specialist), he or she arrived at a diagnosis, you left the office with a prescription and/or a treatment plan, and you went on your way. It was a one-way conversation, ...
For those in the healthcare industry, the anticipation of what the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will bring has been much like the anticipation of unwrapping presents at Christmas. The open enrollment period began, but we won't know how many people have signed up until November. It's like waking up Christmas morning and having to wait until your grandparents arrive to actually tear open the presents under the tree.
My last post introduced the concept of Responsive Relationship Marketing: the practice of listening first and communicating subsequently, allowing segmentation and tailoring to emerge dynamically. Just as responsive design is about creating engaging content for a proliferating number of devices, Responsive RM is about creating engaging content for proliferating patient and caregiver needs. At the core, a CMS (Content Management System) is being called upon to serve and respond to user interactions, while organic segmentation is borne out of the "dialogue."
All of us are well aware that healthcare is rapidly changing. We're entering an era where consumers will truly be at the center of how health is delivered in the United States and other parts of the world.
These days, it seems every headline decrees the power of Big Data. It's everywhere, from smart electrical grids to dead-on election predictions. Healthcare is no exception. Just consider the Human Genome Project. Another Big Data technology with the power to change everything in the healthcare system (again). Networked electronic medical record (EMR) systems. Adoption is growing quickly across practices nationwide, due to both convenience and requirements. And they hold the promise of helping physicians make better prescribing decisions and, ultimately, hopefully, keeping people healthier.
In the world of healthcare marketing, as brands brace for intensifying competitive activity and the pending tsunami of change that the Affordable Care Act promises, some lessons from outside the medical world have particular relevance.
At the recent National Pediatric Innovation Summit in Boston, doctors, scientists, VC firms and hospital executives discussed earth shattering developments in the treatment of cystic fibrosis and autism, as well as the latest findings in genomics and DNA sequencing. After taking in the passion and brilliance of the participants, it was the closing keynote speaker, Dr. Atul Gawande, a surgeon, writer and public health researcher, who finally connected the dots between healthcare and marketing for me.
Today marks the first day of open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act's marketplace, an online platform where consumers can digitally shop, compare and purchase health insurance based on their needs and budget. For insurance providers nationwide, it represents an opportunity to market to these prospective buyers and grow their business. It's a big change for an industry accustomed to traditional B-to-B marketing. Suddenly, insurance organizations find themselves as direct-to-consumer marketers. And that market opportunity is poised to grow as the industry continues to undergo changes.