Empathy meets Data in the new era of patient-centric care

The combination of digital healthcare, and a patient-centric approach means the health industry can better engage with patients; delivering much-needed solutions by leveraging empathy, technology, and data.

Ogilvy Health’s new white-paper, “Patient-Centric Marketing: Leveraging empathy and data to improve care”, in collaboration with Verticurl, Oracle and APACMed, illustrates how the health industry and patients alike stand to benefit.

Ogilvy Health leads the way in helping brands across the healthcare industry deliver better care, engage with patients directly, and become more patient-centric. Today’s patients are increasingly starting their care journey online. 50% of patients will use digital health tools and that figure soars to 91% of patients who say they would use digital health services if the costs were covered by an employer or insurance provider*.

That means a huge opportunity to tap into the potential of data to improve care. Digital disruptors are already exploring those possibilities with a view to better service experiences, more personalised care, and ultimately better outcomes.

Patient-centric digital engagement can positively impact so many aspects of the brand experience and often open channels previously denied to healthcare brands. Many healthcare brands like pharma, nutrition and technology brands are restricted in their direct communication with their patients due to regulations, relying instead on conversion through healthcare professionals. Patient-centric digital engagement reaches out to consumers and responds to market needs.

“Marketing has a huge role to play in delivering truly patient-centric outcomes,” says Pierre Robinet, President of Ogilvy Health, Asia. “And it starts by redefining the engagement strategy with all stakeholders contributing to the care journey, starting with the patient and looking beyond the healthcare professional”.

Driven in part by the pandemic, many patients start their own care journeys online, generating a vast amount of personal data in the process. Healthcare brands must reposition themselves as direct-to-patient marketers enabled and guided by personalisation. By collecting patient data in a relationship of transparency, trust and mutual value, engaging with patients online can lead to a better understanding of their needs.

Brands with health expertise can build precious relationships with patients by sharing valuable information and helping patients achieve better care. Health marketing no longer needs to be unilateral and can embrace multiple stakeholders’ strategies and needs simultaneously.

“It is more possible than you think to be patient-centric, you can operationalise that empathy, and bring it to life with technology,” says Waheed Bidiwale, Chief Strategy Officer at Verticurl.

Done correctly, patient-centric marketing programmes can increase access to care for patients, address the right physicians at the right time with information and solutions that make a real difference to the patient, while empowering sales forces with relevant patient insights.

The Ogilvy Heath paper identifies the three major action points for all healthcare brands to accelerate their move towards a patient-centric mindset:

  1. LISTEN – Understand patient needs and define your values

Before investing in digital engagement, brands should step back and take the time to get to know their patients. The goal is to identify gaps in the care journey where there is an opportunity to provide value, and in so doing also drive your business objectives. Even if you think you know the needs of your patients, think again. Since the pandemic, all the things we thought we knew about people have changed.

We need to go back to the drawing board and devise approaches to better understand who they are right now. We need to analyse today’s care journey, and to identify those moments that are clear opportunities to leverage.

  1. SHARE – Improve access to valuable information

 Over 80% of consumers (regardless of age) say they research their diagnosis online. As a healthcare brand, one of your greatest strengths is your wealth of expert knowledge. If patients self-study before they even reach out to a doctor, then you need to make sure they can get all accurate and appropriate information from your channels, before they go elsewhere. Brand websites need to be information-rich and accessible, addressing key challenges in simple language, and offering solutions.

Transparency and trust must underpin every step of the patient-centric approach and patients are comfortable sharing information when they can clearly see the benefits in return. Sharing information with patients not only makes them informed partners in care but allows access to more data through observing their behavior.

“Screening health social media and online behaviours and leveraging technology to detect sentiments, interest, and behavior bias can help brands to take part in influential online conversations, join communities of care givers, and tackle misinformation,” says Robinet.

All of which requires the implementation of a single and unified view of the whole journey, and for you to implement that you need a system to collect, sort, analyse and attribute data to a single-patient view, as well as sharing out consistent information to your entire team. This system is called a Customer Data Platform, or CDP, and creating your CDP should be your top priority.

  1. SERVE – Create the tools, or partner with toolmakers to deliver improved care outcomes

Bringing together both an empathetic understanding of your patients, and a data-driven approach to interpreting and analysing the care journey you can then identify opportunities to innovate. That in turn means offering new services that improve care outcomes.

That could mean out of clinic hours questions can be replied to by algorithm-based automated responses, either reassuring the patient or directing them to the right caregiver. Or it could be a data-driven practical solution such as organising a shared taxi system serving multiple patients with regular requirements to go to the same clinic at the same time.

Even brands that do not have patient services at the center of their business model can benefit from launching services that strengthen their role as an authentic partner and thereby generate increased loyalty. With a CDP the process is ongoing and the improvements non-stop with a blend of incremental innovation and timely agile sprints to new solutions. Start small, experiment, learn, and improve over time.

“Near term, it’s about figuring out how to make better use of what you have to serve the patient better,” says Bidiwale. “Longer term it’s about how we can make healthcare more effective and cheaper. Digital has enabled that transformation elsewhere, and there is no reason why it can’t happen in healthcare.”

To find out more about how to leverage empathy, technology and data to provide better patient care, through patient-centric marketing, please download the full paper here: https://click.verticurl.com/Patient-Centric-Marketing-Registration-Page.html

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