Case Studies

Orthopedics Campaign Boosts Volume and Patient Engagement for Altru Health System

by | Sep 19, 2018 | Case Studies

A year-long orthopedics campaign increases engagement for improving patient activation during the busy and quiet months.

The Organization

With more than 4,000 employ­ees and a region­al foot­print that includes north­east North Dako­ta and north­west Min­neso­ta, Altru Health Sys­tem serves a pop­u­la­tion that pri­or­i­tizes sports and out­door activities—fertile ground for ortho­pe­dic ser­vices, espe­cial­ly joint care. When Altru want­ed to increase the num­ber of peo­ple who sign up for their ser­vice-line sem­i­nars, they turned to True North Cus­tom to stim­u­late increas­es in engage­ment for improv­ing patient acti­va­tion.

The Goal

The health system’s objec­tive was to boost patient vol­ume by intro­duc­ing prospects to its sur­geons and tech­ni­cal capa­bil­i­ties at a series of free sem­i­nars focused on knee, shoul­der and hip pain.

The Strategy

Altru worked with True North Cus­tom to pro­mote the sem­i­nars by devel­op­ing an inte­grat­ed cam­paign incor­po­rat­ing direct mail pieces, paid search and social tar­get­ing, and a brand­ed land­ing page with con­ver­sion oppor­tu­ni­ties as well as email automa­tion for nur­tur­ing ear­ly-stage leads.

The Results

Since launch­ing in Sep­tem­ber 2017, the joint pain cam­paign has gen­er­at­ed 648 encoun­ters that have deliv­ered more than $10 mil­lion in down­stream rev­enue. This trans­lates into a cam­paign return on invest­ment of $227 to $1 based on con­tri­bu­tion margin.

Along with the finan­cial impact, cam­paign response has been remark­able. The dig­i­tal com­po­nents alone have gen­er­at­ed 242 sem­i­nar requests and 138 qual­i­fied calls.

Oth­er cam­paign met­rics include:

Paid Media:

  • Cost per Click: $1.25 (well under indus­try aver­age of $2 to $3)
  • Cost per Action: $35.97 (indus­try aver­age is under $500)


  • Con­fir­ma­tion Email Open Rate: 69.01%

Along with the high­ly tar­get­ed audi­ence and cus­tom con­tent, one of the keys to the campaign’s suc­cess involves time­ly and con­sis­tent nur­tur­ing of those patients and prospects who raise their hands in response to the messaging.

“Altru does a fan­tas­tic job con­nect­ing with patients dur­ing the sem­i­nars and fol­low­ing up after the fact,” says Jenn Tay­lor, account man­ag­er at True North Cus­tom. “From allow­ing peo­ple to sched­ule con­sul­ta­tions on-site to keep­ing track of who signs up and attends, they stay in close con­tact with com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers who show inter­est in their programs.



Downstream Revenue

Campaign ROI

Keep­ing Altru Front and Cen­ter: Patient acti­va­tion and patient engagement

The suc­cess of this cam­paign speaks for itself in num­bers, but Altru took it one step further.

“True North is a true part­ner,
they treat clients as a rela­tion­ship
rather than a ven­dor. They
under­stand health­care.”

— Annie Bonz­er, Direc­tor of
Mar­ket­ing and Pub­lic Rela­tions
at Altru Health Sys­tem”

Patients were sign­ing up for sem­i­nars, but Altru didn’t want to lose touch dur­ing the sum­mer months when no sem­i­nars were offered. They worked with True North Cus­tom to devel­op a drip email cam­paign designed to edu­cate and engage poten­tial patients dur­ing the qui­eter sum­mer months. Ide­al­ly, these increas­es in engage­ment would allow for improv­ing patient acti­va­tion dur­ing the entire year.

This nur­tur­ing cam­paign was bro­ken into two dif­fer­ent groups of sem­i­nar respon­dents: the first of which con­sist­ed of peo­ple who signed up for the ortho­pe­dic sem­i­nar but didn’t attend.

“We want­ed to focus on the issues poten­tial patients may be fac­ing right now,” Tay­lor says. “So for this first group, we pro­vid­ed edu­ca­tion and insight designed to add val­ue to their lives and kept Altru top of mind.”

The last email of the cam­paign spoke to the upcom­ing sem­i­nars that are restart­ing in the fall. The emails direct recip­i­ents to the land­ing page, which has been refreshed with new dates and sign-up forms for this year’s seminars.

The sec­ond group of tar­get­ed drip cam­paign emails was sent to peo­ple who attend­ed a sem­i­nar in 2018 but didn’t fol­low up or make an appoint­ment with a physi­cian. The email con­tent was a lit­tle dif­fer­ent for this group, since they already attend­ed a sem­i­nar and may be fur­ther along in their patient jour­ney. The emails includ­ed top­ics like What hap­pens when you have a knee/hip replace­ment? What’s the recov­ery time? How do you pre­pare your home for post-sur­gi­cal recov­ery? The call to action moti­vates the audi­ence to make an appoint­ment by call­ing or sched­ul­ing via Altru’s online portal.

Altru has tak­en this ser­vice-line cam­paign to the next lev­el in terms of stor­ing and using data. They load their sem­i­nar sign-ups into their CRM data­base and col­lab­o­rate with True North Cus­tom to ana­lyze marketing’s impact on down­stream revenue.

“They have their eye on the entire process,” Tay­lor says. “Besides click-through rates and phone calls, they’re also look­ing at poten­tial prospects to see if if they’re hav­ing oth­er encoun­ters at their facil­i­ties and gen­er­at­ing revenue.”

Because of this in-depth inquiry and insight, True North Cus­tom has been able to help Altru cre­ate data-dri­ven cam­paigns, patient engage­ment pro­grams and cus­tom con­tent dur­ing a time when they would oth­er­wise not have con­tact with their audi­ence, help­ing move poten­tial patients along in the process.

At the mid­point of the ortho­pe­dics cam­paign, open rates are well above indus­try stan­dard, and there have been zero unsub­scribes for any of the ortho­pe­dic email drips. The con­tent is res­onat­ing with the tar­get audi­ence and patient engage­ment objec­tives are being met. Based on the suc­cess of the ortho­pe­dics cam­paign, this approach has been extend­ed to inte­grat­ed cam­paigns pro­mot­ing weight man­age­ment and heart and vas­cu­lar screen­ings, and oth­er exam­ples of patient engage­ment campaigns.

“We were able to edu­cate and engage prospec­tive patients where they need­ed it most,” Tay­lor says. “That has made all the dif­fer­ence in the suc­cess of this campaign.”

Let’s Grow Your Service Lines

Dis­cov­er how we’re help­ing health sys­tems find, engage and con­vert prospects.

Subscribe to our blog

    Sign up for updates!

    Sign up for updates!

    Get marketing tips delivered straight to your inbox.

    You have Successfully Subscribed!