SHSMD Connections 2019: 3 takeaways
Here are some of the things we heard most often at this year's conference sessions and in our conversations in the exhibit hall.
Last week, Coffey's team attended SHSMD Connections 2019 in Nashville. Every year this conference brings together healthcare strategists from around the country for four days of learning and conversations about a wide range of topics, including marketing, planning, business development and public relations.
Here are three of the things we heard most often at this year's conference sessions and in our conversations in the exhibit hall.
1. Your website needs to be transaction-ready.
Consumerism isn't a new concept in healthcare marketing. But it was one of the major underlying themes of this year's conference, both in sessions and in the conversations we had in the exhibit hall.
One of the best questions we were asked in the exhibit hall was "What can you do to help my website be more transactional?"
While there's not just one answer to that question, for many organizations, becoming more transaction-ready involves moving beyond offering the basic elements of digital interaction, such as a provider directory and a basic search engine optimization (SEO) strategy, to incorporate elements like online scheduling and bill pay that create a more seamless experience. Questions to ask yourself include:
- How do consumers find you?
- How do they get to know you?
- How do they do business with you?
As a number of speakers noted, organizations like Amazon, Wal-Mart and Apple are moving into the healthcare space—and they are experts in creating consumer-friendly transaction experiences.
2. Your digital presence should solve problems.
Another consumerism-focused theme from a number of sessions is that your digital presence should help people solve problems (not create more problems for them).
- Use your data to identify opportunities. A major takeaway from "Utilizing Healthcare Data Analytics, Visualization Tools, and Propensity Modules to Personalize Health Care Marketing" was that healthcare organizations should use the data they gather to identify how digital solutions could solve some of the common issues patients experience and prioritize these initiatives.
- Ask the right questions. In the session "Convenience is Caring: How Digital Experiences Can Deliver on the Promise of Systemness" presenters from Northwell Heath and Monigle gave examples of questions they ask when evaluating the digital experience.
- Is it easy?
- Is it pleasant?
- Is it a good use of my time?
- Does it help me understand?
- Look at the possibilities of telehealth or virtual care. In "Developing a Digital Health Roadmap – The Cleveland Clinic Experience," presenters discussed how the organization is implementing virtual appointments across service lines and specialties to help improve the client experience. They stated that when using virtual care, most patients are seen by a provider within 5 minutes, as opposed to 25 minutes. And there is the added convenience of the patient being able to have their appointment anywhere—at home, at work or parked in their car.
3. To succeed, you need consulting partners, not vendors.
One of our favorite sessions at this year's conference was Monday's CMO panel discussion titled "Leveraging Consumer Marketing Practices in Health Care."
We particularly loved hearing the panel members talk about the importance of working with consulting partners who are partners that care about your overall success, instead of vendors who are just there to be order-takers on individual tasks.
A good consulting partner can let you scale your team's expertise and can offer broader insights from their work with other organizations.
When you're looking for a consulting partner, ask yourself:
- Are they able to work in partnership with you?
- Are they invested in your success as much as if they were a full-time employee?
- Are they willing to collaborate with your other partners, even in areas where they might be competitors?
The discussion also provided a number of great insights for healthcare marketers about how to be more than just an order-taker for service line leaders and others within the organization. If you weren't able to attend the session in person, it's one to put on your list to watch when the SHSMD video bundle becomes available.
Find out how Coffey can help you reach your goals
Coffey partners with healthcare organizations of all sizes to solve problems and meet goals. Let's have a conversation about your organization's challenges. Email us to schedule a call with one of our business development consultants.