Ty Allen is a member of the Forbes Business Council, and this article was originally published on Forbes.com on March 16, 2021.
Healthcare consumers have the world at their fingertips as they make medical decisions. They do their research, educate themselves and take charge of their decision making in ways that weren’t possible before online search became the go-to for knowledge acquisition. And as they search online, whether they know it or not, their data is being collected.
Every search initiated and every click made impacts future experience. Online consumers want search results to be fully on point with what they’re looking for, and that’s possible thanks to massive banks of data and the algorithms that interpret that data.
Predictive analytics tools detect patterns in the data that uncover surprisingly accurate pictures of consumers and what they need. The information is collected continuously. Until recently, only large hospital marketing teams have had access to healthcare predictive analytics due to the high cost and complexity of using the data.
Today, however, cutting-edge technology provided by companies like mine make it possible for practices and hospitals of any size to use predictive data in their marketing efforts. That means you can tap into that big data to identify the patients you want, target them in critical moments and optimize your marketing spend. By doing so, you can also improve the experience for healthcare consumers in the process.
Identify the patients you want.
Consumers searching for healthcare online leave a well-marked trail, which predictive analytics tools can uncover. Individuals may look for information on specific health concerns or search for products related to their condition. They may have an order history of medication commonly used to treat pain associated with the condition or play a sport that frequently results in that type of injury. These and other markers point you to individuals at high risk for specific medical conditions.
Risk for specific conditions is not the only factor you should consider when identifying potential patients, however. Reimbursements vary dramatically between private insurance carriers, and Medicare and self-pay patients need to be considered as well. The data can be filtered to identify those who carry the type of insurance that is the best fit for your practice.
By using predictive analytics tools, you can pinpoint individuals at risk for specific medical conditions and find geographic areas with high concentrations of people at risk. You can also identify the financial profile that will most benefit your practice and target these potential patients with your marketing efforts.
Target patients in critical moments.
The patient journey includes that critical moment when a patient turns to the internet to find a healthcare provider or make sure the provider they’ve chosen is the best one for them. On the flip side of that moment is the healthcare provider who is best suited to treat that patient. You need to get your doctors’ information in front of potential patients at the right moment.
By using predictive analytics to identify your ideal patients, you can choose a well-placed ad to target your best-fit individuals in these critical moments. The ads will show up when a consumer searches for medical care online. Targeting the ads directly to specific, ideal patients ensures that your marketing dollars are used efficiently.
Optimize your marketing spend.
Measuring the return on healthcare marketing expenditures can be frustrating. Historically, it’s been difficult to track the acquisition point of patients. When you identify the patients that best fit your practice and you target them with ads right as they make their medical decisions, however, you can be more confident that the patients you attract from your efforts will maximize your revenue.
You no longer need to cast a wide net to attract any and all patients available. Instead, your fine-tuned hooks will capture your best patients—patients who are likely to boost your revenue and build your practice. With the right tools and strategies in place, you can see these patients enter your system and know where they came from.
With cutting-edge technologies, healthcare marketers are disrupting traditional marketing for the better. Data-driven patient acquisition with proven results is likely to be the future of healthcare marketing.