Unlocking Patient Insights: The Power of Avatars in Health System Marketing

Unlocking Patient Insights: The Power of Avatars in Health System Marketing

As a part of our series Sip & Strategize: Exploring Health Systems Business Strategy, in this session, we discuss how to think at patient profiles or avatars, and creating a marketing plan that considers your patients today and in the future. Watch the interview, or read below!

Mary: Alright! Welcome back, everybody. Welcome to Sip and Strategize exploring health systems business strategy. Where I, Mary Walsh, talk to Dr. Rob Rohatsch, our chief medical officer here at Solv about all things health systems.

So over the last couple of weeks we've been talking about patient acquisition—specifically, and the various different elements of that. We've dug into getting to know patients and what are different strategies to get to know your patients. And last time we talked about learning about what patients might be over-indexing in your systems. As well as right at the end, Dr. Rob. Last time we spoke, you kind of hinted at what this means for patient profiles. So I wanna take it to what next, Dr Rob, where do you go from here?

Dr. Rob: Yeah, a good way to continue this conversation. Last time we talked about this concept of, we have all these patients that have come to see us in the past and if we really understand who those folks are, we can figure out the different subtypes of psychodemographic subgroups of patients that over index to our facilities, meaning come much more often than other patients that on the surface look just like them.

So that's taking a whole lot of data that's hard to sort of like make actionable and drilling down to being able to understand that maybe there's 70 different types just making up numbers here of psychodemographic behavior patterns related to seeking healthcare.

We've identified 6 subtypes that over-index meaning overuse our facilities at our particular health system. You can make that then actionable. And the way you do that is now we have less data.

So we only have 6, say, for example, types of profiles to deal with. We can put them together and create an overall profile or kind of an avatar of what one of our patients is, what's the hot center of our business? Or who out there loves us so much that they come, see us sort of all the time and are our very loyal patients.

You do that by taking these subgroups that you know come to you more often and working together to create a very in-depth profile it can be. They can give you information around —

  • How they spend their free healthcare dollars
  • A 401 K pattern
  • Other behavioral aspects

You can create all kinds of complexities in this avatar slide to represent how we all have complex lives.

So a great example is in a pre previous life we had a we had a persona in our organization. let's say her name was Nancy. So Nancy was a single mom with 2 children, sh took care of her ex husband's mother in law, in an apartment suite, had some debt from education expenses, etc.

We went really deep into who this person is, so we could solve problems for her. It became more clear on what Nancy needs because we understand who Nancy is.

So that's a way to sort of start at the top of the funnel. All the patients that make you a successful organization learn about which ones over-index and love to see you, or are loyal to you and truly understand their behavior patterns. And you can design solutions to meet those needs.

So it's a great question, Mary. It's a way to go from sort kind of a big picture to what do we do in this big market and drill down to? Okay, we know who our patient is because we have this one persona in our mind. We're going to create solutions for him or her.

Mary: And do you find that systems can find more success when they're focused on the retention and the rebooking of these specific patients versus having a really broad approach where they're trying to hit all 70 buckets per se?

Dr. Rob: Definitely, you know it’s both. It boils down to the math questions that all the CFO’s are interested in, which is the cost of acquisition and the life time value ratio. So the lifetime value of a patient over time. We know that's disintermediated by job changes and that kind of thing. So that's a hard number to chase. Then the cost of acquisition.

  • What does it cost me to bring this patient in, and make them part of my network?
  • And how do we get them?
  • How do we get them sticky?

So focusing on patients that are number one easy to bring into your institution and number 2. You don't have to spend any money or effort to keep them there, because, you know, they're going to be loyal. If you know in advance who those folks are, you can chase them with very efficient marketing dollars.

Mary: Yeah, I think that makes a lot of sense. I'm curious about how you would recommend thinking about this prepping for today and today’s patients and how they look—and then in the next 5, 10 years, knowing that the funnel of patients is going to change.

Dr. Rob: Yeah, it's a great question. So you can't build the health system today to take care of today's Medicare advantage patient? Right? Because by the time you get that built, we're gonna be dealing with you know, with yesterday's Medicaid patient or tomorrow's Medicaid patient.

So you really have to keep in mind, who are your patients today? And what are the problems likely to become tomorrow? And we have to think about those solutions today. We can't always be chasing our tail. So I like to think about it as sort of being a sort of just over the horizon operational platform. So really understanding who today's utilizers of health care are. But also understanding that folks that are in our thirties and forties that haven't developed long-term medical problems and chronic medical conditions will soon be in that bracket.

We have to understand, what do they value? What are their needs? Do we need to bring care closer to where they live, work, and play? Or will they respond to a traditional model where we build a facility, and we just hope they will come? And I can contend that we cannot do that.

Mary: Yeah, yeah. Well, thank you so much for sharing Dr. Rob. Looking forward to continuing this conversation. Next time. So see you soon.

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