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The healthcare industry is a strange combination of science and art, balancing medical skill and information in just the right way to support an infinite number of individual patient needs. There is no one size — one prescription — to fit all, which makes marketing healthcare services often complicated and frustrating for healthcare companies. Take a look at three of the biggest healthcare marketing challenges and learn how to start fixing them:
Since 1996, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) has dictated how, when and where health information can be used and shared. As such, HIPAA compliance issues directly affect many healthcare marketing processes, frequently stymying personalized marketing objectives by prohibiting common practices like ad retargeting. While healthcare providers can still advertise their services online, utilizing pay-per-click advertising to move their ads to the top of Internet search results, they can’t return to a searcher with subsequent messaging that references his or her previous searches or visits. Thus, it’s extremely hard for healthcare companies to follow-up with people showing an interest in or need for their services.
There are solutions, however. At Research for America, for example, we understand the limitations posed by the HIPAA Act and take measures to ensure that our researchers are fully prepared to support HIPAA compliance in any research or marketing endeavors. Awareness of the problem is the first and best step in protecting patient privacy and ensuring that companies remain accountable to their legal obligations under federal law.
Inevitably, the issue of privacy leads directly to another major healthcare marketing challenge: how to identify and reach specific groups of healthcare consumers. As mentioned, healthcare is a vast and diverse industry, with literally millions of consumers, all with individual needs. But with HIPAA limiting the exchange of patient data, healthcare providers frequently just don’t have easy access to the information needed to separate those consumers into groups of people with any type of shared characteristics.
To remedy the problem, healthcare marketers need access to both an electronic medical records (EMR) system and a customer relationship management (CRM) suite (and/or other database source) that are HIPAA compliant and expansive, providing reliable data so that large groups of potential targets can be managed, organized and reached in the most effective (and legal!) ways. With the right types of databases, healthcare providers are able to group together the greatest number of people with the most similar types of needs while still remaining bound to HIPAA restrictions so that they can concentrate their marketing efforts in the most profitable ways.
Of course, oftentimes the biggest healthcare marketing challenge comes down to money. It can be difficult to see the value of spending money to make money, especially in an industry that is constantly changing. But budgetary healthcare marketing challenges can be significantly mitigated by partnering with an experienced firm. Contrary to what many expect, healthcare marketing can be affordable, offering an ROI that makes its initial cost a profitable expense!
To learn more about healthcare marketing challenges and how to start solving them, please contact our team at Research America. Market research can help healthcare providers make better business decisions regarding their services, including their marketing practices. Dedicated healthcare research delivers insights that enable providers of all kinds to recognize and anticipate technological and cultural shifts so that patient care is improved and valuable resources are protected.