Technology always moves rapidly and perhaps no more so than in the healthcare industry. As a service business, marketing a healthcare business is very different from offering a product, just as marketing any service differs from product marketing.
Far from the leisure and entertainment industries depicted above, the healthcare industry is a very different type of service encounter. Healthcare is a service industry that experiences continued interaction with its customers (patients) over time, where patients experience difficulty evaluating the quality of a healthcare encounter, and where there’s a certain amount of stickiness that reduces the ability of patients to change providers. Thus, these unique features of a healthcare business require somewhat different strategies compared to other service businesses, as well. So if you own a healthcare business, consider implementing these contemporary healthcare services.
How service businesses are different
Service businesses, unlike those selling goods, require different marketing tactics because they’re fundamentally different from companies selling goods. These differences include:
- intangibility – meaning consumers can’t touch, smell, taste, or hear the product, which makes it harder to sell. A common strategy involves making the service more tangible through communication (such as the Rock of Gibraltar used for advertising Prudential Insurance) or through associated goods, such as the Heavenly Bed featured in Westin’s advertising.
- inseparability – meaning you can’t separate the service from the service provider. Thus, a physician’s or dentist’s bedside manner greatly impacts satisfaction, while we could care less about the person who made our toaster.
- Perishability – services expire. In other words, no one wants a doctor’s visit from yesterday today. This leads to some interesting pricing models as service providers attempt to fill appointments before they expire. It also means you can’t inventory services. Hence, you can’t conduct quality control practices to ensure poor quality services never reach the consumer. This aspect of service requires you to conduct a service audit, to get your services right, and establish contingency plans, to deal with service failures.
- Heterogeneity – which means services are customized to the consumer. Hence, one dentist visit isn’t exactly the same as the next because the patient’s mouth offers unique challenges even if they require the same service. Plus, the service encounter involves unique aspects such as communication between service providers and patients, other patients present, and other environmental conditions.
Managing a healthcare business
Offer better, more modern options
As a professional healthcare business, you take pride in offering new services to meet the changing needs of patients, new technological options, and better treatment. New treatments for chronic conditions and diseases arise from continued research and offering the best new treatment options sets your business apart from the competition. For instance, soon physicians will offer the Covid vaccine in their offices (some already offer this option).
Treatments for chronic conditions also change over time. If you have clients who need help to quit smoking, for instance, then you can work with a company that sells wholesale vape carts. Now, we wouldn’t recommend these cartridges to non-smokers, but there’s evidence that vaping helps some folks quit their smoking habit, which greatly improves their health can lifestyle. Vaping also reduces the damage from second-hand smoke. To reduce the appeal of vaping, especially in young people, countries enacted legislation removing flavored cartridges from the market in some places.
Detecting illness through voice
Voice recognition is pretty commonplace everywhere you look. Whether it’s for logging into an account over the phone or using your phone or car as a directional tool, voice searches and recognition are now much more advanced and will continue to become more effective. Voice is becoming an effective tool for diagnosing certain illnesses, as well as these other uses for voice.
For instance, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), developed a technology that can detect Covid-19 purely through voice recognition. It achieves about 98.5% accuracy in detecting disease and can help patients detect the virus so they get tested, even if they’re asymptomatic, which reduces the spread of the deadly disease. For someone that does not have covid-19, the voice product achieves 100% accuracy in producing a negative result.
This application is being developed through the utilization of apps but also, for in-house technology in healthcare businesses. Since some people don’t know how they can order a Covid-19 test, downloading an app and testing themselves could help to stop the spread quicker.
Virtual appointments and telemedicine
As you may have noticed, many businesses became pretty proficient with conference call software; as have consumers. Telemedicine, once difficult to use for both patients and healthcare providers, is now easier and billable, which is an important consideration. If you wish to increase your patient base, you could offer patients at-home virtual appointments to reduce the cost to serve patients, make appointments more convenient for patients, and more effectively utilize physician’s time.
The majority of young people know how to use conference call software like Zoom. Since these primarily healthier young folks are more easily served through telemedicine, this makes a great option to not only optimize a healthcare business but to encourage younger, healthier patients to get routine care.
Of course, that still leaves a gap in healthcare. For instance, routine assessments of weight and vitals are a necessary part of a medical office visit. MedWand, along with similar products, takes measurements of temperature, oxygen levels, and heart rate. Even smartwatches and devices that synch with a smartphone offer measures of general health such as these. Although this doesn’t replace all the measurements required for a routine office visit, it certainly helps. If you utilize MedWand to help patients remotely, you make telemedicine more accurate.
Appointment setting/ testing result portals
Many folks, especially younger ones, love using technology to make mundane tasks easier. For instance, offering a medical portal to patients means you reduce demands on your staff and offer the convenience of 24/7 availability to patients. Thus, if a patient wants to make an appointment in the middle of the night or on a weekend, they securely log into a portal and choose from available appointments. They can also use the portal to retrieve test results, compare their results over time, and set up a telemedicine appointment with a healthcare professional to discuss their results. Making patients a part of their own healthcare produces favorable outcomes for patients.
You should consider implementing contemporary services such as these as part of your healthcare business if you want to provide patients with an easier, more efficient service. It also helps to prevent your brand from looking stale, something that is very important in healthcare.
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