In today’s digital era, providing an exceptional online experience is table stakes for healthcare marketers looking to attract and retain patients. Without seamless websites, intuitive mobile apps, relevant content, easy scheduling flows, and robust provider search capabilities, consumers will simply look elsewhere for their healthcare needs. At the recent Healthcare Marketing and Physician Strategy Summit (HMPS24), digital experience took center stage at the conference as leaders from top healthcare systems showcased innovative strategies. Healthcare leaders made it clear that winning in the digital world requires understanding customer needs, mapping the full experience, bringing creativity and constantly optimizing through testing and measurement.

One key theme at the HMPS24 conference that emerged was the need to continuously evolve the healthcare website to meet changing consumer demands.
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Consumer-Focused Web and Mobile Redesigns

Many presenters emphasized taking a consumer-focused approach to redesigning their web and mobile presence. Vanderbilt Health spoke about “The Power of Consumer-Focused Website Redesign” aimed at meeting customer needs, ensuring they feel cared for, and converting visitors to appointments. Lee Health’s “Get Off the Roller Coaster” session promoted an incremental redesign process including auditing, strategizing, prioritizing and executing changes over time.

Seamless Online Scheduling

Creating a seamless online scheduling experience was another major focus area. Cedars-Sinai and Austin Regional Clinic shared “Online Scheduling Secrets” like using all scheduling options, taking a cross-functional team approach, building internal trust, continuously iterating, and marketing through multiple channels. The “Improving Patient Experience with Commerce-Like Applications” panel featured organizations managing loyalty through “Care Commerce” strategies that guide patients to the right care option.

Innovative Provider Search Tools

Several sessions at the HMPS24 conference drilled into opportunities around provider search and directory tools. The “Simplifying Complexity” presentation from CHRISTUS Health outlined their user-centric approach to revamping provider directories by prioritizing personalization, reliability and transparency. CHI Health’s “Use First-Party Data” session showcased their innovative “MD MatchUp” tool that helps consumers quickly find compatible providers through personalized quizzes and profiles which acquired 5,377 new patients at 7 appointments per patient on average.

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The integration of advanced and new technologies also took center stage. Underpinning many of these innovations was the transformative role of AI.

Content Creation and Optimization

Content creation and optimization were also hot topics. The “Responding to Tough Questions” session examined strategies for healthcare CMOs to ideate, assess existing assets, identify gaps and optimize resources when the CEO wants new content. Stanford and Nationwide Children’s suggested using tools like Appreciative Inquiry (AI) to ask proactive questions that inform direction.

Mount Sinai detailed their process for “Innovation & New Technologies” through three strategic pillars: revenue, reputation, and awareness, with the goal of building, growing, and improving in each area. In terms of social media, Mount Sinai recognizes the ever-evolving landscape and the need for social media marketers to stay informed about changing algorithms and trends.​ They highlighted the importance of research and adaptation in this area. The organization also emphasized the importance of creative design solutions, using technologies like generative AI and automation to streamline processes and deliver effective content.

As healthcare marketers navigate evolving customer expectations, new technologies are opening up possibilities to enhance digital experiences. The “New Era of Search” panel examined AI’s impact on search engine marketing, highlighting Johns Hopkin’s strategies like schema markup and integrated content. There were recommendations to prepare an agile plan and voice-first indexing strategy. The “AI: Our Strategic Approach to Navigating the Hype” session from Cleveland Clinic outlined their roadmap for piloting AI use cases like writing efficiency tools, content optimization, and podcast creation.

Building Integrated Marketing Tech Stacks and Roadmaps

Geisinger’s nurturing strategies saw 5,604 new members and $2.5M in savings in 2023. And Renown Health’s “Building a Successful Internal Agency” highlighted the need for integrated planning and execution across many functions. Internal communications and public relations play a crucial role in Renown’s strategy, including cascading communication models for major announcements, in-house support for internal partners, and establishing strategic partnerships for crisis communications and issues management.

Automation and Personalization

Automation and personalization are key priorities as well. Ballad Health ran an “Omnichannel Digital Approach” using automation and predictive analytics to re-engage lapsed patients. The result: 74% of website visitors completed an action or booked an appointment within the first 90 days. Using a campaign dashboard, they were able to quantify the value. The campaign performance metrics included 18M total impressions delivered, 38K total clicks earned, and $4.30 average cost per click.

And Banner Health outlined their “Digital Front Door” automated patient engagement strategy powered by AI and CRM data to deliver personalized and valuable experiences for patients, leading to better health outcomes and margins.

At the highest level, succeeding with digital experience boils down to being customer-obsessed, innovative and data-driven. Looking ahead, speakers at the HMPS24 conference emphasized the need for cross-functional partnerships, agility and ethical data governance. The unifying threads were being collaborative and willing to continually optimize through testing and iteration. Success required mapping and delivering frictionless digital experiences at scale, while capitalizing on new marketing technologies. Leading healthcare marketers are embracing this transformation.

To learn more about how healthcare organizations can keep pace with changing regulations and patient experience preferences, check out our Health System research. For deep dives on specific journeys, look to our Healthcare Briefings and don’t forget to check out our Insights section for more industry trends and best practices in the healthcare space!