Baseball legend Jackie Robinson was quoted as saying “life is not a spectator sport.” His sentiment has a great deal of validity. We can choose to be passive observers, but there is much that we must do (work), can do (entertainment), and ought to do (well being). Thus, being a spectator is not a viable option. The “ought to do” aspect of our lives has implications for healthcare marketing. A study done by Accenture reveals that when it comes to managing our health, Americans want to come out of the grandstand and get in the game.
Findings from the Accenture study show a desire for being engaged in communication with healthcare providers:
- 90% want to use digital media to manage their personal healthcare
- 88% want to receive reminders via email when it is time for preventative or follow-up care
- 83% want to access personal medical information
- 76% want to communicate with their doctor via email
- 72% want to book, change or cancel appointments
- 72% want to request prescription refills
Digital channels are significant for enabling patients to be participants in their health care. Survey respondents placed particular emphasis on email as a communications channel, but information access and communication options via mobile devices is important, too. The one statistic that cannot be overlooked in all of the interest in digital management of healthcare: 85% said they still want to be able to communicate with their doctor in person.
For healthcare marketers, findings from the Accenture study send a clear message: Figure out how to turn patients into participants. Many healthcare marketers may have some of these digital media in place already, but the survey also found that about one-third of patients were unaware that they could manage aspects of their healthcare using digital channels. Communicating options for self-service and encouraging patients to be engaged on an ongoing basis are two rather obvious solutions. Firms in other industries can reflect on findings of this survey, too. How can customers get involved as participants in managing their relationship with your company? Is interacting with your company easy to do, or are barriers in place (intentional or unintentional) that send a message of “don’t bother us.”
Life is not a spectator sport, nor is the customer experience with your brand. Get your customers into the game to deepen their relationships with your business.