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Now or never: Time-tested strategies that will drive patient loyalty

July 30, 2021
Business Affairs

Communicate with your patients:
• Create communications that go beyond appointment scheduling and reminders—e.g., emails or social posts reminding them about back-to-school checkups or flu-shot availability.
• Deliver targeted communications about specific health concerns. To do so requires an opt-in environment where a healthcare consumer can directly request certain types of content on specific concerns. Remember, your elderly male patient probably doesn’t want an email about endometriosis treatments; it’s important that your communications are relevant at the individual level.
• Recognize families when they complete their annual preventive care. Thank them for letting your family of care providers care for their family.

Create a digital home base:
• Design a HIPAA-compliant digital “dashboard” that offers a centralized experience. Put all the conveniences of curated care at the user’s fingertips—e.g., electronic medical records; provider communications, appointment scheduling and reminders; telehealth; targeted content; and personalized prevention checklist.

Show patients you care:
• Hold yoga in a park or at one of your facilities.
• Offer celebrity chef-led healthy-cooking classes.
• Provide special maternity gifts to new moms.
• Gift a curated cancer poetry collection upon a patient’s first chemo or radiation visit.
• Send an anniversary gift to thank patients for trusting you to provide care.
• Offer congratulations for completing a prevention checklist.
• Provide free coffee and/or lunch in the cafeteria for parents who regularly bring in their children for disease management.
• Offer valet parking to patients who might need it most.
• Host a farmer’s market at your hospital campus and share healthy recipes.

Forge partnerships:
• Consider partnering with brands that align with your values and mission. Strategic partnerships have the potential to boost your brand value, extend brand loyalty, and boost value throughout the customer journey. Creating an ecosystem of like-minded, health-promoting brands advances community well-being.

As healthcare systems construct and refine their healthcare ecosystems, new opportunities will arise to serve the specialized needs of their various patient constituencies. Some of those might include in-home vaccinations and preventative care, a “matchmaker” tool to find the right doctor, a prescreening tool to help patients determine if they need to come in, and integrated pastoral care.

The relationship between consumers and healthcare systems has been evolving for years. The COVID-19 pandemic only intensified patients’ demands for a transformed experience. A strategic loyalty ecosystem can help health care systems drive engagement, improve patient experience and expand revenue.

Help your health system innovate its way to a lifelong loyalty mindset. Surely others are already paving the way.

About the author: Tess MacGibbon is director of Thought Leadership & Health Care at The Lacek Group, a Minneapolis-based, data-driven loyalty, experience and customer engagement agency that has been delivering personalization for its world-class clients for more than 25 years. The Lacek Group is an Ogilvy Experience company.

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