Data-Driven Expansion: Leveraging Patient Behavior for Health System Growth

Data-Driven Expansion: Leveraging Patient Behavior for Health System Growth

As a part of our series Sip & Strategize: Exploring Health Systems Business Strategy, in this session, we discuss how psycho-demographic data can help inform growth strategy Watch the interview, or read below!

Mary: Welcome back everyone to Sip and Strategize where I speak with Dr. Rob Rohatsch about the latest trends, initiatives, and strategies for health systems. Dr. Rob, the last time we spoke you had walked us through the different ways that systems can get to know their patients. And ultimately build trust and intimacy in today's conversation. I wanted to take it a step further,

Mary Walsh: let's assume that a team or leadership in a health system has done some of those exercises that you had mentioned to get to know their patients. What would be the next step after that? Or what is an example of a campaign that you've seen work when systems have done the initial research and getting to know who their patients are?

Dr. Rob: Yeah, it's a great question, Mary, how do you drive with the information that you sort of just uncovered? I think the answer is, you pick one of those areas and and eventually you'll pick them all. And you just kind of go deep in one those areas. So for example, if we think about psycho-demographic profiling of our patients, meaning really deeply understanding who our patients are on a psycho-demographic or behavioral basis, I think, is very important. So you can answer questions like

  • How does a patient spend their free healthcare dollars?
  • How do people manage their FSA accounts?

So I think those are very interesting questions and sort of ask of households, and you can break these down into very, discrete finite types of what we call buckets of people.

For example, some software I've used in the past breaks this down into about 70 different types of behavioral buckets. You can go very deep into the behavior of those patients. Once you understand all that information, then you can look retrospectively back at all the visits to your clinics. So let's say you're having roughly half a million visits or something, and part of your ambulatory platform. You can go back and look at the addresses of those patients, and put them in their appropriate bucket in terms of behavioral spending. And what you'll find out what you'll find out on behavioral economics. Perspective is that you have some type of folks that over-index to your facility.

For whatever reason, certain types of households with certain types of income, certain types of demographic profiling parameters based on that household, for whatever reason they might over-index. And by that I mean, they come to your facility 3, 4, 5, or 6 times more than someone else that looks just like them when we only look at things like location and household income. You know, basic demographics. This goes very deep into thousands of different parameters. So you can go deep into who people are.

Once you have that information they need then that can drive things like, where should I go? Build new, urgent care centers? Where should I be pulling back advertising dollars? Because I already have people that respond to my clinic being there on a great basis, and I don't need to spend money to make them come back because I have dedicated little patients there versus another area where you may have the same volumes and the same economic profiling picture. But you need more marketing dollars to drive that revenue. Because those patients may not be indexing quite as high.

So that's a great example of how you can go really deep in one area. And we talk about multiple areas. And we can talk about some more of those in a different session. But this one area where it's been very helpful in my career to really understand the inventory space and health systems are trying to really understand that the feeder into the health systems, the feeder into the subspecialty care. Divisions of the hospitals come through these type of platforms and hospitals are opening up the diameter of the funnel in which they capture their patients in their market, which is a great thing to do.

Mary: Thanks for sharing Dr. Rob, that's really interesting. I'm curious. When teams understand these buckets, are there different buckets that influence marketing strategy in a specific way?

Dr. Rob: Once, you understand, let's say, out of 70 different types of these profiles you identify maybe half a dozen that over-index a lot. I think it's taking those in the aggregate and understanding who your patient is, and then you can drill down to one of the other strategies we talked about last time, which is creating a patient profile. So what is one sort of avatar-like patient look like that comes to your system, so we can truly understand on a per-person basis. Who is the patient that comes to see us?

Mary: Great thanks, Dr. Rob, I think. This is especially interesting. Given the number of urgent care clinics that you know are getting bought up by healthcare systems, or is thinking about Den Novo expansion from a systems aspect. So thank you for sharing today. Look forward to our next session at sip and strategize.

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