84% of customers say being treated like a person, not a number, is very important to winning their business.Salesforce
Why are some of the smartest healthcare organizations focusing on personalization? They understand the importance of their customer feeling like their experience is catered specifically to them. In this three-part blog series, we’ll outline the value of personalization, a framework for delivering contextual web experiences, compliance risks and tips to mitigate them, and tactics to get started. Is there a topic you want to explore further? Just ask.
What is personalization?
So, what is personalization? It’s understanding your customer’s precise needs to deliver curated messages and content that helps them satisfy those needs. In its purest form, personalization is just good contextual marketing – providing the right message to the right person at exactly the right time.
Finding the intersection between a customer’s past interactions and current needs creates an opportunity for contextual relevance and allows organizations to predict their current and future needs, fostering benefits such as:
- An enhanced, more relevant experience
- More customer engagement
- More appointments and other conversions
- Bigger marketing ROI
An example of a personalized healthcare experience
A scenario of a personalized healthcare experience might look like this:
Benefits for the healthcare system and the patient
Providing a personalized experience benefits the health system and their audience. Let’s take our example above. From the marketer’s perspective, providing Joe with relevant and personalized information helps improve the likelihood of conversion, enhance the customer relationship, and increase loyalty. From Joe’s perspective, he’s getting a tailored, relevant experience that helps him make a confident and informed healthcare decision.
Done correctly, it’s a win-win.
Personalization can help connect the dots between consumer pain points and those of the organization – helping consumers get value by quickly and efficiently finding relevant information they desire. This allows health systems to cross-promote the most relevant services, improve loyalty, and drive patient volume.
However, providing a truly personalized experience requires storing information about a visitor’s engagements, interests, and even health history at the web tier. That’s the secret sauce behind personalization – using past behaviors and data to infer a user’s current or future interests. This practice has long been disfavored by compliance departments, yet some organizations are doing this successfully right now and their patients are more engaged because of it.
Is personalization worth the risk?
To keep customers returning to your site, they need to have a personalized experience much like they would if they were meeting their healthcare provider in person. They want to feel like they are really cared about, the same way you hope you feel like your doctor cares about you.
While the value of personalization is clear – many healthcare organizations find themselves asking whether getting the right message to the right person at the right time is worth the risk?
Powerful marketing technology platforms can support and bolster multi-tiered personalization, but healthcare marketers must be careful about protecting patient privacy and abiding within HIPAA-laws and the HITECH Act. HIPAA, enacted in 1996, present healthcare marketers with the challenge of delivering personalized content and functionality while keeping protected health information (PHI) and identity disconnected.
Still, it is possible to stay on the right side of that HIPAA-line and present more relevant or timely web information without being intrusive – whether that’s condition-related articles or blogs, seminars, or cross-promotion via related services, among others. To do so, healthcare organizations must first strategically activate personalization features on their digital experience platforms – then understand how to safely store and access PHI.
Learn more about tactics to implement your personalization plan in our next blog post.