Certainly, this article is inspired by the past 3 days I’ve spent with the Healthcare and IT Marketing Community (HITMC) at the annual conference. Spending multiple days with some of the best healthcare and IT marketing and PR professionals makes it easy to see and understand the impact that marketing can have on healthcare. Plus, there are a number of macro trends happening in healthcare IT that really need marketing.
The first piece that stood out to me was how many amazing health IT solutions there are in the marketplace. However, use and implementation of those solutions isn’t evenly distributed. Every healthcare organization is at a different level of health IT maturity. Some have embraced digital transformation as they work to invent what a digitally enabled health system looks like and others have just chosen to limp along as they do whatever is required to survive. To be fair to many of them, their organizations haven’t invested the money needed to really transform. Transformation in healthcare requires the right investment of time and money to create change.
One of the other challenges I see over and over is many organizations don’t realize all the innovation that’s out there. We all live in a personalized bubble that often misses out on hearing about new opportunities for our healthcare organization. No doubt there’s a lot of noise in the marketplace and it’s hard to know what is noise and what is a new opportunity to improve your organization. Plus, it’s worth noting that there are tremendous opportunities to innovate using some of the technology you already have in place. You don’t necessarily have to look at a startup company for innovation. Although, I’d suggest that a mix of the two is probably necessary to really push things forward. Vetting new opportunities is a real challenge for health IT leaders though with all the noise.
This is where marketing professionals are so important. They need to think about how they can make it easier for health IT leaders to be able to vet their solutions. They need to provide the tools and information that helps to differentiate them from competitors and alternatives. Yes, and in many cases your biggest competitor is something like Excel or the EHR or even just doing nothing. Those are some of the fiercest competitors because change is hard. Working with what you already have may be sufficient if you don’t clearly illustrate why the addition of your product to the mix is clearly worth it for the organization.
Going beyond marketers helping health IT leaders discover and understand the products in the market, I continue to be impressed by how many health IT products are big marketing engines. Or if they’re not a marketing engine, marketing is a key element to their success. For example, at the recent Esri conference focused on healthcare that I attended, it was clear that there was a lot of value in data and that data shared in well done dashboards that paint a picture of what’s happening. While data is phenomenal, the biggest value you can create is taking that data and turning it into action at your organization or with specific patients. What does it take to make that happen? It’s marketing.
Think about the shift to value based care that’s happening. It requires healthcare organizations to motivate the right patients to take the right actions. Much of the savings you’ll need to create to be able to be successful with value based care requires healthcare organizations to do exactly this. What does it take to accomplish this? Amazing marketing. Sure, it’s backed by the right data and a deep understanding of healthcare costs, policy, and diseases. However, once you have that info, marketing is what can put all that data work into action and actually influence change. It’s one thing to identify the problem. It’s another to actually solve the problem.
Many look at marketing with a bit of disdain. Some of that ire has been earned by marketing since some marketers focus on the fluff and show versus the substance. However, that’s not the case for most of the marketers out there and that’s particularly true in the Healthcare and IT Marketing Community (HITMC). There’s a palpable desire by those in the community to use marketing to accomplish good things and improve healthcare. I’d argue that effective marketing of the right tools to health IT leaders and marketing embedded deeply into those tools is going to be key to really impacting healthcare for good and enabling the healthcare transformation that’s needed.
This content was originally published here.