Marketing Healthcare to Women: What Does Patient Satisfaction Mean?

April 22, 2012 § Leave a comment

Hospitals are beginning to realize they are in the “hospitality” business.  And the things consumers value in hospitality are going to have to invade the hospital.  Things like “Ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen” will help hospitals begin to score higher in patient satisfaction.  Increasingly, warm friendly service, appetizing food, entertainment amenities like WiFi and cable, and a pleasing atmosphere are becoming more important to patients.

Patient satisfaction has always been important to patients and hospitals, but it’s getting ready to hit the most important nerve in the body for hospitals – the one attached to their pocketbook.

Based on new health care reform legislation, beginning October 1, patient satisfaction surveys will factor into how much money a hospital gets paid by Medicare.  Patient ratings will compose 30% of  the consideration, and clinical quality will determine 70% of the payments.  Hospitals could lose 1% of their Medicare payments.  The only way to earn it back will be improvement of scores.  There will even be a bonus pool to reward those that do well or show improvement.

Why is this important?  Medicare is the leading payer for most hospitals, accounting for 35 to 55 percent of overall revenue.  And rate adjustments have been raining down lately.

Many healthcare providers will argue that the quality of healthcare is more important than patient satisfaction.  The types of issues covered in patient satisfaction surveys include courtesy, respect, listening, attentiveness, cleanliness, quietness, pain management, medication counseling, and how likely you are to recommend the hospital.

Hospitals have long measured patient satisfaction.  The national average of patients rating hospitals overall as 9 or 10 on a 10-point scale is around 68%.  If we were talking about the restaurant industry, that would not be such a great score.

What’s important to patients

Patients can only measure the things that they see and experience.  Most of us have very little way, other than personal recommendations or health ratings, to determine the skill of any physician or clinician.  In focus groups with patients, I often ask them to create mind maps of those things that were important to them during their hospital stay.  The responses always include communication with them and their family, creature comforts, time and speed, respect, cleanliness and safety.

Here are some of the things that are important to them and yes, food is one of them:

Amenities – Food, Private Rooms, Entertainment options like cable and music, Wi-Fi, Easy Access and Convenient Parking

Atmosphere – Cleanliness, Hospitality, Friendliness, Comfort, Relaxing Environment

Treatment – Pain Management, Services Offered, Technology

Safety – Patient Safety, Personal Safety, Privacy

Nursing – Attitude, Attentiveness, Responsiveness, Courtesy, Caring, Respect, Treatment of Family

Physicians – Access to them, Listening ability, Knowledge, Manner, Compassion, Reputation

Admission and Discharge – Quick, Timely, Follow-up, Discharge, Support, Affordability, Information

Where Consumers Get Their Information

It looks like hospitals and healthcare providers are going to need their own form of Trip Advisor.  Consumers get their information on healthcare providers mainly from online searches, recommendations from friends and family, physician referrals, past experiences, and advertising/media exposure.  These sources are why testimonials are so important whether they are served up by advertising, social media or one-on-one.

It’s the soft side of healthcare that is going to shape patient satisfaction.

Marketing to Moms: Sharing Healthcare Info on Facebook

August 14, 2011 § 3 Comments

For Moms, Facebook is like the neighborhood coffee shop, the park playground and the backyard fence.  It’s the place where Moms are sharing important information about everything, including health.

I was reminded of that in a powerful way when I had the opportunity to interview a young mom who had faced life-threatening health issues and overcome them.  She explained how important Facebook had become to her – it was a way to give back by sharing information about her cancer treatments and her heart surgery.  She had been both encouraged and rewarded by her time sharing health information with others.

So when I came across this recent study from Lucid Marketing and HeardItFromAMom.com, I thought it confirmed how women share health information.  The report finds that technology that connects friends is a top choice for moms seeking health-related information.

The research shows that  84 percent of Moms often share health related information via email and 69 percent often share via Facebook. Email and Facebook are also the places where they most often hear recent news – email (83 percent) and Facebook (76 percent). Only 65 percent choose television.

Pew Research also confirms the importance of social media in healthcare in their 2011 Social Life of Health Information Study:

Of those who use social network sites (62% of adult internet users, or 46% of all adults):

  • 23% of social network site users, or 11% of adults, have followed their friends’ personal health experiences or updates on the site.
  • 17% of social network site users, or 8% of adults, have used social networking sites to remember or memorialize other people who suffered from a certain health condition.
  • 15% of social network site users, or 7% of adults, have gotten any health information on the sites.
For healthcare marketers who are unsure about the role of social media in their media mix, it’s time to create a social media strategy.  First, determine the job you want for social media and choose your target audience. Is the job to communicate key messages, inform about events and activities, or cultivate important communities?  Social media requires the same type of planning that all other media requires – objectives, a message strategy, conversation, consistency, and measurement methods.

Marketing to Moms: Do Moms Read Ads on Blogs?

September 16, 2010 § 2 Comments

We talk a lot about online marketing using buzz words like social media engagement, transparency, user generated content and conversations.  All of these are good, but let’s get to the heart of the matter.  Who reads mom blogs and do they read the ads?

Influential moms are reading mom blogs, don’t mind ads and started reading blogs to learn about ways to save money.

Here are a few facts from Unicast’s 2010 Back to School Study that put a face on these Power Blog Readers.

• There are more than 35 million “Power Moms”, the influential group that have children under the age of 18 that are leading and sharing information on line.

• More than one-third of “Power Moms” read six or more mom blogs.

• 62% spend at least three hours a week reading mom blogs.

• 45% started reading mom blogs to learn ways to save money.

• Most think ads are okay.  While 31% of moms think online ads are “annoying but inevitable,” 27% don’t care and 35% think they’re sometimes helpful or really like them. Less than 6% of respondents “hate them.”

• 80% of Power Moms are more likely to see ads that have coupons, discounts or sales associated with the ad.  And that applies to ads everywhere on the web.

Interactive ads are best, particularly ads with contests (69%), downloadable content (36%), customized local information (36%), surveys or quizzes (33%).

•  Ads that are noticed on mom blogs, across all ages 25-54, have something to do with groceries, followed by child related products, women’s products, and travel.  The interest in food and children’s products may be because of the focus of many of the mom blogs around parenting and household concerns.

Marketers should take blogs seriously.  The Power Moms are the ones who share information and influence others.  Clicks are not the metric we should be concerned about. Clicks do not indicate engagement or loyalty.   Share is the killer metric for moms, showing their engagement and endorsement.

So, if you like this article, please feel free to share!

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What Smartphones And Dominoes Have In Common!

April 26, 2010 § Leave a comment

Enjoy this great video showing a Rube Goldberg-like set-up for using smartphones for your enjoyment!  It’s the Smartphone Domino Experience.

Marketing to Moms: Women are Word of Mouth

December 7, 2009 § Leave a comment

A recent post by Socialmediatoday.com did a nice job of bringing together some new studies that reinforce the importance of women in social media.  It’s not surprising to see that women are more active on social networks than are men.

The latest research from Royal.pingdom.com shows that across 19 social media sites, there were more female users than men on 16 out of the 19 most popular sites.

Here are some interesting facts:

  • Twitter and Facebook have approximately the same male-female ratio:  Twitter is 59 percent female and Facebook is 57 percent female.
  • The average ratio of all 19 sites was 47 percent male, 53 percent female.
  • The most female-dominated sites are Bebo (66 percent female users), MySpace and Classmates.com (64 percent female users).

The three sites with more male users are functional, news related sites – Digg, Reddit and Slashdot.

So why is this female user important?  She’s the consumer, the connector and the decision maker for most of the purchase decisions in the family.

But more important to marketers, women are three times more likely to share personal stories with a friend than men.  Evidently, women are hard-wired that way – with more actual brain activity for bonding and connecting with others.

When we need a recommendation, we tend to ask our friends for their hairdresser, the dentist they go to, their favorite stores and what book they read last.

The multiple effect of a women’s Twitter or Facebook account has important implications for marketers.  The average Facebook user has 130 friends.  The more followers you have on Twitter, the most Tweets per day.  Twenty-one percent of online women tweet.

But remember, marketers, women want information that is important, authentic and personal to them.  Their age, their lifestage and their lifestyle are important indicators of how to address them.

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Word of Mom: The Real Word of Mouth

September 11, 2009 § 2 Comments

Consider this story of Heather and her new Maytag Washing Machine.

In August, Heather Armstrong, who writes the popular parenting blog Dooce, purchased a $1300 Maytag washing machine, complete with service plan, that broke a week after delivery. As a mom of two small children, sheDOOCE looked upon that washing machine as her weapon against instant insanity, drool and diaper dilemmas. After several frustrating encounters with repairmen and customer service, Armstrong urged her more than one million Twitter followers to not buy a Maytag appliance. And this is what she said:

“So that you may not have to suffer like we have: DO NOT EVER BUY A MAYTAG. I repeat: OUR MAYTAG EXPERIENCE HAS BEEN A NIGHTMARE.”

 After that came several more similar tweets. After those tweets, Heather miraculously talked to the manager of the executive offices of Whirlpool in Michigan, (who actually own Maytag). Then things began to work. Heather got her machine repaired. Bosch wanted to give Heather a new machine that she turned down, but she suggested they donate it to a local Salt Lake City rescue mission. To read her deadly funny, I-can-identify-with-her post about her machine and Maytag, here’s her blog.

But here’s the thing – what we will all remember is that Heather had a bad experience with Maytag. We will not remember how nice the Whirlpool manager was or that her newly repaired machine may last through a million diapers. Probably the worst part of the story for Maytag is that Maytag’s positioning is based on the fact that the machines never break down so the Maytag man has nothing to do.

Bad news travels fast, and reputations are won and lost in a couple of posts today. Just ask Motrin about their recent campaign.

Moms average 109 word-of-mouth conversations per week about products, brands and services. And pregnant and new moms have even more.

To prove it to yourself, just listen to conversations with women. Recently, the Motherlode blog on nytimes.com reported that Publicis USA sends researchers to sit in playgrounds and shopping malls to listen to Mom conversations. They found that we (Moms) mention brand names as frequently as 29 names in 15 minutes.

Add to that little factoid the vast number of Mommy bloggers and you get the picture. Both good and bad news is being sent around the block and the world with the speed of a conversation and a blog posting.

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