Despite Healthcare’s Murky Future, The Need for Data-Driven Content Is Clear

by | Aug 2, 2017 | Content Strategy

In a time in which the future of healthcare seems to include precious few sure things, industry leaders and marketing professionals can nevertheless count on a handful of likely developments that will make the use of targeted, multichannel, data-driven content crucial to bolstering their brands.

Before we attempt to peer into healthcare’s future and the use of data-dri­ven con­tent, it will be use­ful to revis­it the recent past and remind our­selves how we arrived at this pivotal—and uncertain—moment for the industry.

Since the Afford­able Care Act (ACA) became law in 2010, it has been a light­ning rod. Sup­port­ers praise its effect on low­er­ing the rate of unin­sured indi­vid­u­als, as well as its cov­er­age of pre­ven­tive ser­vices and elim­i­na­tion of life­time max­i­mums and denials of cov­er­age based on pre-exist­ing con­di­tions. Oppo­nents decry the law’s indi­vid­ual mandate—its cor­ner­stone provision—higher pre­mi­ums for many indi­vid­u­als, employ­er cov­er­age require­ments, and lack of con­sumer choice.

In ear­ly May, the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives passed the Amer­i­can Health Care Act, a bill intend­ed to repeal and replace the ACA, along par­ti­san lines. After sev­er­al attempts to replace and/or repeal the ACA failed in the Sen­ate at the end of July, Con­gress has set the mat­ter aside for now, though Pres­i­dent Trump has threat­ened to “let Oba­macare implode,” which could involve exec­u­tive actions affect­ing vul­ner­a­ble state exchanges. The ACA may still be law, but the future of health­care remains foggy.

The Surety of Uncertainty

One thing about the process to over­haul health­care is clear: It rests on shift­ing sands. Despite the leg­is­la­tion process’s unpre­dictabil­i­ty, how­ev­er, sev­er­al out­comes and grow­ing trends seem like safe bets regard­less of the result, including:

Providers’ slice of the gov­ern­ment reim­burse­ment pie will shrink. Whether law­mak­ers opt to repeal and replace the ACA con­cur­rent­ly, repeal and replace it lat­er, or work on bipar­ti­san fix­es, the result will like­ly mean less mon­ey for Med­ic­aid. This will require providers to reduce depen­dence on fed­er­al reim­burse­ments and shift pay­er mix by tar­get­ing cam­paigns to those who are com­mer­cial­ly insured.

Con­sumer self-pay will con­tin­ue to rise. For more and more indi­vid­u­als, insur­ance cov­er­age will come in the form of high-deductible health plans (HDH­Ps) with health sav­ings accounts (HSAs), which will con­tin­ue to put sig­nif­i­cant pres­sure on acute-care and pedi­atric hos­pi­tals to suc­cess­ful­ly grow mar­ket share in the com­mer­cial insur­ance space. For many con­sumers with HDH­Ps, their abil­i­ty to pay hinges on their capac­i­ty and will­ing­ness to con­tribute to their HSAs—no sure thing.

Retail, con­sumer-dri­ven health­care will keep expand­ing. The dri­ve to attract patients who are able and will­ing to pay for ser­vices will force providers to embrace new mod­els of care.

Survival of the Smartest: Data-driven content

With reduced reim­burse­ments from gov­ern­ment pay­ers all but cer­tain in the future, hos­pi­tals can’t waste a moment to refine their abil­i­ty to tar­get the mar­kets that are essen­tial to their finan­cial future. How and where hos­pi­tals meet the patient pop­u­la­tions they serve will con­tin­ue to evolve, but there’s no doubt that con­tent will dri­ve the effort and data will become more impor­tant than ever.

This begs the ques­tion: Are you putting the right mes­sage in front of the right deci­sion­mak­er at the right time, via the right chan­nel? That’s a ques­tion ana­lyt­ics can answer—and when it comes to health­care mar­ket­ing, now more than ever, it’s the only ques­tion that matters.

Backed by data-dri­ven con­tent, you can use a blend of com­mu­ni­ca­tion chan­nels—research shows a mix of tra­di­tion­al media, such as print, and new­er tools, includ­ing social media, works best—to reach would-be patients with greater pre­ci­sion than ever before. That sort of data-dri­ven, meet-con­sumers-where-they-are mar­ket­ing can give you an edge when, for exam­ple, an active emp­ty nester who’s been con­sid­er­ing knee replace­ment decides to have the surgery with your hos­pi­tal top of mind.

A data-pow­ered and per­son­al­ized approach to mar­ket­ing that embraces a wide range of com­mu­ni­ca­tions options—in oth­er words, embrac­ing the future while respect­ing what’s worked in the past—is just what your hos­pi­tal needs to thrive in healthcare’s brave new world.

Get More Expert Perspective

Sign up for our newslet­ter and have insights like these deliv­ered to your inbox!

Subscribe to our blog

Sign up for updates!

Sign up for updates!

Get marketing tips delivered straight to your inbox.

You have Successfully Subscribed!