Last week I had the chance to engage with many of North America’s most respected healthcare marketing leaders, at the 2014 Society for Healthcare Strategy & Market Development (SHSMD) conference in San Diego, CA. ‘Patient experience’ was a hot topic and a focus of many conference sessions.
Learnings from the 2014 SHSMD Conference
In healthcare facilities across North America, the number one stakeholder is the patient, bringing new meaning and imperative to “The Customer is King.” Bottom line finances are increasingly tied to “quality outcomes” (including a positive patient experience), and healthcare providers are rising to the challenge, creating the position of Chief Experience Officer and launching key initiatives to improve patient experience.
It was also clear from the conference presentations that healthcare rebranding is on the rise. Rebranding in this rapidly changing market landscape is a strategic response to the increasing number of healthcare mergers, acquisitions, and new large affiliations—scenarios where consistent branding and positive patient experience are more critical than ever. Marketing executives are now the critical link between brand implementation and patient perceptions. The way that healthcare brands are envisioned, created, and implemented are key to creating the vitally important experiences that reduce confusion and ameliorate fear, spark favorable word-of-mouth, and drive brand loyalty. Organizations that have experienced corporate consolidation already know this, and those who invested in quality outcomes regarding patient care and experience are realizing significant benefits.
Rebranding projects present the rare opportunity to consider your approach to all your branded assets and how they contribute to or detract from the overall patient experience.
In order to align your rebranding efforts with building a positive patient experience, consider the following when developing your brand implementation plan:
- Map all patient-facing touchpoints. The most common ‘customer journeys’ should be defined in order to better understand how the patient experience is impacted by the various branded touchpoints, from websites to uniforms and ID badges, to signage and wayfinding. This will allow you to prioritize high impact, patient-facing branded assets when setting rebranding priorities.
- Take a holistic patient care approach. It is important not to overlook the small items that if unattended could cause confusion and compromise patient confidence. Items likepatient check-out/discharge documents, bills, and appointment reminders are examples of lower profile yet still important touchpoints in a patient’s experience.
- Conduct a cost/benefit analysis for lower impact items. Do not assume that every item should be rebranded on a like-for-like basis. Develop scenarios that include neutralizing items that do not contribute positively to a patient’s experience and/or do not require branding from an operational perspective. Determine how taking this approach impacts the transition timing or funding available to address other branded assets and the overall impact on patient experience.
BrandActive is not a brand strategy or a creative agency: we are the financial analysts, project managers, and branded asset experts that ensure your brand is implemented cost-effectively, efficiently, and with consistent application.