In this interview for our “3 Key Insights” video series, Northwell Health Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Ramon Soto shares his perspective on how healthcare marketing is evolving and what the largest health system in the metro New York market is doing to advance the discipline.
Ramon Soto embodies the concept of modern healthcare marketing, as a leading voice for the 23-hospital system that “runs towards the flames to keep New Yorkers safe.” He actually came up with the name when the system rebranded six years ago.
In this overview of our conversation for the “3 Key Insights” video series , find out how Ramon and his team leverage modern marketing principles to engage the community and drive growth for the organization.
Key Insight #1: Modern healthcare marketing is patient‑centric.
From a branding standpoint, Northwell has really tried to position itself as a destination healthcare partner for that long journey. To do that means taking a little bit of a different perspective on the relationship.
Most health systems think about the relationship in terms of episodes of care. You see it in their advertising that features wonderful testimonials: “I got injured … I got ill … I went to this great place to see this fabulous doctor … insert logo here.”
The opportunity is to reorient the relationship and think over that entire journey. That requires a different perspective, it requires different access to data and analytics, it requires a different mindset in terms of how we present our value proposition in the marketplace.
That really is the guiding principle in terms of how Northwell tries to establish relationships with consumers well before the health event. That way, I’m not fighting for mindshare when you’re going through the health event and helps create a predisposition to use our services.
Key Insight #2: Modern healthcare marketing leverages technology.
During COVID, necessity really was the mother of all invention. We needed to really understand early warning systems to predict volume as at the peak of wave one, we had about 3,500 patients in beds — a mammoth number. We almost went over the top, quite frankly. It got kind of scary.
The health system went about building early warning systems and as part of that process, we found that consumer behavior was changing pretty drastically. Like with all things healthcare, consumers were going to Dr. Google to self-educate themselves. We built a COVID digital resource center that saw tremendous traffic as consumers were trying to figure out: What’s happening to me? What’s happening to my family? Where am I going to go? It turns out that that search pattern of behavior preceded actual inpatient utilization.
We built an AI-enabled algorithm to do two things: 1) optimize what consumers were searching for, build personalization and put the most pertinent information upfront as it was changing in real-time and 2) on the back end, use the search behavior to actually anticipate inpatient volume.
We used that to give us about a two-week window into the trending of cases. It became invaluable to prepare as a system. We also offered the code up for free to any health system that wanted to utilize it across the country.
This is important because it illustrates what consumers do, gives wonderful insights into how you can take the journey with them and provide more value to them at really important points in their healthcare consumption. It’s also an example of the philosophy we have on the importance of data and technology to enable those journeys.
Key Insight #3: Modern healthcare marketing is data-driven.
Healthcare needs to be a student of other consumer-centric industries and how they navigate interactions with consumers—and I use the consumer word very purposefully.
For example, if you were a digital retailer, and someone comes on your site and puts a product in their cart but did not buy, there’s a lot of information there. In the same way, if a consumer comes to your website and searches a healthcare category and sees a listing of physicians and clicks on one and doesn’t call you, there’s a lot of information there.
A digital-oriented firm like Amazon would have a whole series of interactions with you to get you to purchase—as you have now exhibited the highest form of purchase intent. Healthcare doesn’t do that. How do you close that gap? I think you close the gap by taking a little bit more of a conversion mindset to that interaction. It requires different tools and a different approach to how you present the information and pull consumers in.
I also think it’s a wonderful opportunity to make that search process much more tailored and more personalized.
Watch the full interview
Get more insights to inspire your marketing strategy in our 15-minute conversation with Northwell Health Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Ramon Soto.
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