Video: HCA Healthcare VP of Marketing and Change Agent Nicole Baxter on Putting the Patient First

by | Jul 15, 2021 | Healthcare Industry Insights | 0 comments

Discover how HCA Healthcare Vice President of Marketing Nicole Baxter is guiding the nation’s largest health system toward a less transactional, more strategic mindset.

As Vice Pres­i­dent of Mar­ket­ing at HCA Health­care, Nicole Bax­ter is ful­ly com­mit­ted to a patient-first approach for the nation’s largest health sys­tem. She talks about how she’s doing it in this con­ver­sa­tion with True North Cus­tom Pres­i­dent and CEO Eric Sil­ber­man for our 3 Key Insights series.

Key insight #1: The patient experience is broader than the encounter.

We eat, breathe and sleep think­ing about how to meet con­sumers where they are. His­tor­i­cal­ly, health­care has been very trans­ac­tion­al in that we’ve met con­sumers at that point of deci­sion. We’re try­ing to change the game by being where they are when they don’t need us. Yes, we need to be there when they’re search­ing for a doc­tor, an urgent care, ER or oth­er “point of sale”—but we’re also pri­or­i­tiz­ing an always-on approach of being there when they’re not sick. Our goal is to be top of mind con­sis­tent­ly so we’re there when that point of need comes for the consumer.

Also, the tone of voice is crit­i­cal as we think about how we’re show­ing up for our health­care deci­sion-mak­ers. We’re try­ing to change the game from a con­tent per­spec­tive. His­tor­i­cal­ly, the provider has been the star of the show and the con­sumer is the sup­port­ing actress. We’re try­ing to flip that on its head by mak­ing it all about the con­sumer. We’re here to solve their prob­lems, not the oth­er way around.

That is not how health­care has his­tor­i­cal­ly approached mar­ket­ing. It’s been, “Let us tell you how great we are, learn about our world-class care” and oth­er anti­quat­ed buzz­words. We’re chang­ing to a tone that is famil­iar to serve as a friend­ly con­stant in a consumer’s life and that gets away from that trans­ac­tion­al relationship—so that we’re talk­ing with our patients, not just to them.

Key insight #2: Consumer insights make a patient-first approach possible.

I would not be in any mar­ket­ing role that does not sup­port insights at the root of all strate­gic deci­sion-mak­ing. As an orga­ni­za­tion, we invest in insights, research and online anthro­pol­o­gy more than ever before.

You’ve also got to read between the lines. Con­sumers are going to answer the ques­tions you’re pos­ing, but it’s the things that they’re say­ing when you’re not ask­ing that you’ve got to real­ly pay atten­tion to and build strate­gies around.

For exam­ple, one of the insights we’ve been able to lever­age to build scale is that con­sumer needs are not real­ly dif­fer­ent if you look across a broad spec­trum. How­ev­er, look­ing at deci­sion-mak­ers, we’ve dis­cov­ered that unmar­ried men are a huge oppor­tu­ni­ty for us. Mar­ried men are already heav­i­ly influ­enced by their spous­es or par­ents; unmar­ried men don’t nec­es­sar­i­ly have that same female ecosys­tem around them. We were able to iden­ti­fy a unique pop­u­la­tion that no one is real­ly going after.

Some­thing I also try to impress on our team is that our com­pe­ti­tion is not oth­er hos­pi­tals any­more. It’s Ama­zon, Zap­pos and all these apps that are in front of us con­stant­ly. Net­flix defines its com­pe­ti­tion as sleep, not as oth­er stream­ing services.

By look­ing at things dif­fer­ent­ly and redefin­ing the com­pe­ti­tion in all areas, we can affect change and advance the health­care mar­ket­ing discipline.

Key insight #3: When change is the only constant, agility is critical.

The bor­ing slot in health­care mar­ket­ing is tak­en. We’ve got to evolve and change to be where the con­sumer is in a com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent way. Typ­i­cal­ly there has been mis­trust around some of these health­care insti­tu­tions. How­ev­er, we’re com­ing off a year and a half where the most trust­ed per­son is the nurse, the doc­tor, the hos­pi­tal. We’re at a tip­ping point. The time is now to take the learn­ings from the last year and cap­i­tal­ize on show­cas­ing our people.

As health­care mar­keters, we must evolve to a place where our mind­set is less trans­ac­tion­al and more about get­ting peo­ple to well­ness, secu­ri­ty and peace of mind.

And most impor­tant­ly: This is not a one-and-done approach. It’s being will­ing to build for change, not build for things to last like we have in the past.

Let’s Engage Your Community

Our team of health­care mar­ket­ing experts under­stands how to engage con­sumers in high­ly com­pet­i­tive markets. 

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