The Role of the Web in Hospital Marketing

Forrester’s healthcare and life sciences group has a new report out called The Role of the Web in Hospital Marketing. Here’s the executive summary:

Hospital marketers are waking up to the new requirements put on them by the emergence of consumer-directed health plans, the growth of health consumerism, the chronic shortage of nurses, and escalating competition among providers. These execs are moving beyond printed brochures and highway billboards and investing more heavily in their Web sites. But organizational and practical problems loom — from securing precious budget dollars to prioritizing an endless wish list of features. Forrester spoke with marketing executives at 13 US hospitals to learn about their pain points and plans for the future.

If you’re in the hospital marketing space it’s probably worth paying for but I didn’t plunk down the $775 necessary to read it. If anyone has a copy and would like to comment on it or write a guest article here about what Forrester got from their interviews of 13 hospitals that might be useful to read.

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3 thoughts on “The Role of the Web in Hospital Marketing

  1. Funny enough I just had a chance to read that report recently.

    I recall that the report is based only on hospital interviews. This means that no patients were interviewed, and so everything it says about the trends in patient need and behaviour is pure speculation from hospitals.

    Unfortunately hospitals have a rather narrow entrenched self-referential perspective. Administrators tend to see what they want, rather than the reality—if you want to know about patients, you have to study patients, not administrators. Furthermore its unclear how many interviews were with clinicians (the folks who interact with patients) and how many with administrators (the folks who don’t).

    Forrester says two forces driving the web as a hospital marketing tool are growing consumer-directed health plans that cost patients huge deductibles and therefore make them pay a lot more attention to where there health dollars are going. The other driver is the increasing relative scarcity of clinicians, and the competition to attract them. So the web should be used to attract both patients and clinicians.

    In essence then Forrester says that the web should be used as a branding tool for hospitals. The problem is that not only do hospitals have no experience in the web, they also have very little in terms of branding. And change is incredibly difficult given most hospitals’ Byzantine organizational cultures and small budgets for non-clinical needs.

    Some of the specifics that this report claims hospital websites should do to bring value include, providing patient self-service information, up-sell elective procedures, capture physician mind-share to drive increased referrals, and of course improve recruiting.

    The report struck me as no so much an insight into how the web could be used; it stuck me as merely a snapshot of where some hospitals are thinking in terms of potentially using the web. This is a potentially useful report if you’re trying to sell to hospitals, but not if you’re a decision maker in hospital.

  2. Understanding today's world of marketing, internet marketing has become the backbone of promoting your business. The idea for hospitals is as successful as it is for other businesses.

    As i'm working with marketing team of a pain clinic, i've been thoroughly observing the trend of patients seeking help through web is increased drastically which is ultimately giving benefits to the hospitals running marketing campaigns over the web. Also providing ease and comfort to the patients to find better services.

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