Ibar Langle Duarte


Expert Contributor

Reinventing the Patient Attraction Model

By Ibar Langle Duarte | Wed, 08/10/2022 - 12:00

The approach to direct patient attraction is now based on offering the product or service that is relevant to them and solves their immediate needs. It’s just a matter of analyzing their decision-making processes because they are well informed as consumers.

Nowadays, we are all going digital and everybody has access to a smartphone. Traditional advertising has high customer acquisition costs. The pathways for patients to get a healthcare product or service are very different, and they keep changing every day. The fundamentals of positioning moving forward are shifting, from focusing on healthcare providers to instead focusing on the product or service. Consumers have access to a lot of information, they are well informed and know what they want. The new trends are leaning toward direct-to-consumer patient attraction channels that build trust.

Specific changes that leaders managing healthcare centers (of any specialty) should make, involve the following principles:

Omnichannel: As it becomes easier to advertise services on the internet, either on Google, Facebook or Instagram, among others, the advertising model becomes a bottleneck. Advertising no longer means just having a website and social networks. Nowadays, anyone can come along and start competing against a Facebook or Instagram page. It’s not complicated at all to have a social media manager posting lots of content and talking to a community of potential clients to get a product or service. Because of this, the customer acquisition cost is getting higher and products and services are less profitable. That is why omnichannel is important to be connected with the patient.

O2O Platforms: A new generation of emerging online 2 offline (O2O) platforms in the healthcare sector begins to emerge to meet the information needs of patients. They will have to be analyzed based on their immediate attention and trust-building models. To talk about O2O platforms is to keep in mind a new patient attraction model, where all interactions are measured and analyzed in real time, working with indicators to make daily adjustments to profitability. The variability of investment is now decided based on the profitability of the channel in which the investment is made, where things are not always the same, decisions are made on a daily basis and, thus, there is no secret recipe. Products and services do not sell, stories and information do.

Differentiation: Products or services can no longer be for everyone. It’s too risky to offer a service that’s meant for everyone. Patients search for places that offer experiences with which they can connect and feel identified. Differentiating yourself is important in order to become the owner of a community. Healthcare centers should comprehend and understand which patient profile they want to target.

Referral marketing strategies: This is definitely one of the most important sales and patient attraction channels in the healthcare sector. A referral strategy is relevant, and is also very economical. In theory, all you have to do is “ask.” If you don't have a referral strategy, you are losing patients.

Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC): In the healthcare industry, less is more when it comes to lowering the customer acquisition cost. It’s important to have high margin entry products and services to lower the CAC and then concentrate on offering other products with upselling and cross-selling techniques to increase the lifetime value (LTV) of the patient.

The voice revolution: If Alexa, Siri or Watson don’t recognize you, you are out. Most likely, those voices in the future will be the first contact doctors who will tell patients where they can get the product or service they need.

As leaders who manage healthcare centers understand what is already a reality, begin to implement strategies, and commit to this change, they will remain competitive in the future. The current environment tells us that the model that worked in the past is no longer sustainable for the future. Today’s success requires understanding the basic elements of what the business is nowadays. Patients are very well informed to make decisions, expect better experiences, and whoever is the first on the list to offer them something of value to their problem is the one who is going to stand out in a more fragmented and competitive market. Either you do something to reinvent yourself or get ready, someone else is going to take care of those who could have been your patients.

Photo by:   Ibar Langle Duarte