The past several years have turned healthcare on its head in a variety of ways—and according to a recent report by brand consultancy Monigle, things will never be the same. 

In the introduction to Humanizing Brand Experience: Healthcare Edition – Volume 5, created in partnership with the Society for Health Care Strategy and Market Development (SHSMD) and the  American Hospital Association (AHA), the Monigle team describes the current landscape.

“Though it can be easy to pin all the disruption on the pandemic and yearn for the day when it’s finally ‘over’ and we can all get back to normal, this year’s data suggests otherwise,” report authors write. “In reality, the battleground that healthcare brands operate within has fundamentally shifted, and there’s no going back to how it worked before.”

Informed by a survey of over 28,000 “healthcare decision-makers for the household who have received medical care in the past two years and have health insurance,” Monigle describes the report as “the deepest, most human-centric examination of brand and experience needs in the healthcare industry.” 

In a series of posts, we’ll provide a snapshot of some of the findings to help your brand adapt to what consumers need in this new era of healthcare. Here, we’ll start with what Monigle uncovered regarding reasons consumers choose health systems. 

Less Focus on Local

In a chapter entitled, “Local matters less and less,” Monigle describes how various components of our digital lives—such as accessing apps on our smartphones or checking email, make up a “system,” in which “each of these actions is part of a bigger network of interconnected portfolios, services, and offerings…”.

Underscoring the fact that the role of systems in our lives continues to grow, Monigle questions whether the same is true for health systems. 

Saying that over the past few years, their team has kept a close eye on consumer preferences regarding receiving care within health systems versus independent facilities, the report notes that the latest data indicates a “subtle shift.”

“While consumers still prefer to receive most of their care services from systems, the pandemic may have contributed to a slight recovery for independent facilities,” Monigle says, postulating that this trend may be influenced by pandemic-related “altered patterns of movement.”

“As our physical world has shrunk, access to our digital one has expanded, with more and more providers offering telehealth,” report authors write. “Simultaneously, the importance of physical proximity as a benefit has decreased, with fewer consumers citing centralized location and convenience as reasons to choose a health system over independent options.”

4 Reasons Consumers Choose Healthcare Systems

The good news, as Monigle points out, is that “systems have more to offer than location and size.” 

According to the report, the following include the four top reasons consumers choose health systems—and what Monigle recommends to make the most of these trends: 

  1. “The wide range of staff and specialists” (31%): “Your people matter. Be sure to highlight their expertise and diversity.” 

  2. “Easier to access records” (13%): “Access includes more than just physical location. Simplifying EMRs is key.” 

  3. “There are more resources” (10%): “Showcase depth and breadth of offerings, services, and resources.” 

  4. “Physicians will communicate more effectively” (9%): “Clear, empathetic communication is essential for great experiences.”

Monigle also underscores the necessity of having the right people within your ranks, especially with “unparalleled labor instability” making it more important than ever. 

“Year after year, consumers report that having the best people remains the number-one functional driver of decision-making, and it’s the biggest predictor of HCAHPS performance among all attributes within our study,” report authors write. “If you focus on only getting one thing right, you’d be wise to make your people your priority.

Of course, consumers also want convenience and ease, and with consumers increasingly accustomed to remote work and virtual care, Monigle says “the definition of ‘quick and easy’ has fundamentally changed.”

To dig into Monigle’s advice about how to recruit and retain the best people—as well as how the “easy experience” is being redefined, please access the full report

Contact us today to find out how we can help level up your healthcare marketing strategy.