How to Build Realistic Patient Expectations with Hospital Marketing
One of the biggest challenges for hospital marketers is balancing patient expectations with the patient experience.
One of the biggest challenges for hospital marketers is balancing patient expectations with the patient experience. So much of the patient’s perceived hospital experience hinges on what the patient expects of the hospital before he or she ever walks through the door.
That is why it is critical for hospital marketers to manage patients’ expectations if they want to positively influence the patient experience. Realistic expectations are built on information. Making as much information as possible available to patients is the key to managing their expectations. Marketers have many digital tools at their disposal to deliver information in innovative ways. Here are three multi-media platforms hospital marketers can use to influence patients’ knowledge base and create realistic expectations.
One of the most effective ways marketers can manage patient expectations is through video. Whether through a tour of the facility, physician interviews, or patient testimonials, video is the most powerful medium to acquaint patients with your hospital.
Many patients are overwhelmed when they first visit a hospital. Hospitals are usually very large as compared to smaller doctor’s offices, and can seem impersonal and intimidating. Video tours give patients a clear idea of what to expect when they walk through the door—an overview of the general layout of the facility and how to navigate it. For example, Duke Children’s Hospital has a very effective 17-minute video combining tours and interviews with the goal of preparing patients and their families for a hospital visit.
Your hospital’s website should be the ultimate resource for written information for patients. Answering frequently asked questions and explaining procedures and treatments will give patients who are knowledge-seekers the information they need to form realistic expectations of their visit. For example, Cooper University Health Care offers a Patient Guide that has in one place answers to frequently asked questions, information for visitors, procedures, security, and financial matters. The more information patients are privy to before their visit, the more likely the hospital will be able to meet their needs because the patient will know what to expect and can prepare accordingly.
3. Social Media
Your hospital’s social media sites can be an invaluable resource for patients who want unvarnished information about the patient experience. Social media sites provide patients with a forum where current and future patients can exchange information and share their experiences. Many patients appreciate hearing about the experiences of those who have already been through a similar illness or treatment. First-hand details are critical for many patients in establishing what to expect before visiting a hospital. Social media readily provides an easily accessible platform where patients can gather this information.
The multi-media marketing landscape provides hospital marketers with a wide variety of options for delivering critical information to patients. Making this information available, whether through social media, the Web, or video presentations, is a key step to providing patients with the information they need to form realistic expectations of the hospital and the care they will receive.