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Why and How Healthcare Marketing Should Develop Patient Personas

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“40% of health care services are potentially shoppable by consumers”. The rapid growth in Healthcare and Medical Insurance Services has empowered today’s patients to actively participate in managing their health care. They have freedom to schedule their care, compare multiple providers on cost and conveniences before finalizing their provider. Hence, the healthcare marketing has become a complex business function. The marketing efforts – under tight budget and thin timelines – face enormous challenges in the process of attracting patients despite providers having the ability to cater to patients’ needs. Patients, say consumers, have wider selection base when it comes to choosing services that are commoditized (radiology and MRI), elective (orthopedics and bariatrics) and non-emergent (complex CV or orthopedic procedures). As a result, healthcare marketing has to align its channels and strategies to reach right prospects (patients) in right location at right time with right message. To know more about these target consumers and their specific needs, it is critical to develop patient personas.

Patient Personas help providers understand their customers in a profound way. Developing personas is not difficult as long as one knows the right questions to ask the right people. The personas aid in crafting marketing content and tailoring the messaging to the specific needs of different groups. See below the ads on ‘Knee Replacement Surgery’ tailored differently in terms of design and message to two different patient groups.

  • Targeted at elderly people
  • Targeted at mid-40s.

How to Develop Patient Personas?

Patient Persona is a fictional representation of an ideal patient. It reflects patient’s demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, and concerns. This information can be collected from market research, interviews, surveys, and providers’ customer base. The following is an outline of a patient persona.

  • Demographics: Collecting basic information like age, gender, education, occupation, income etc.
  • Psychographics: Capturing psychological attributes – personality, values, opinions, attitudes, lifestyle and interests.
  • Social Interaction: Listing active media platforms – Newspapers, Magazines, end social media – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.
  • Pain points: Recording issues that delay the health care decisions – insurance, medical appointments, service locations.
  • Health Condition: Cataloging health issues (may be due to certain activities, age or lifestyle conditions) These well-developed and detailed personas can be used to better understand the consumers (patients) from a marketing perspective at multiple touchpoints in the delivery of health care.

How to Use Patient Personas?

Patients personas offer significant business benefits to various healthcare stakeholders:

Healthcare Provider

  • To plan communications strategies to engage different patient groups (It can further be verified by performing A/B tests)
  • To craft value propositions to appeal to target groups

Primary Care Physician

  • To identify typical patients and extend referrals to healthcare providers in the network

Medical Insurance Company

  • To adjust the premiums for dynamic customer base
  • To strategically participate in the network of PCPs, hospitals and providers.

As you go through this exercise of developing Patient Personas, you will discover more about different patient groups. These insights can significantly boost your business’ bottom-line. No doubt it takes some efforts to design, develop and put the patient personas into use, but the potential benefits are worth all your efforts.

Remember: This is just a sample from a fellow student.

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