Posted: September 14, 2017

As the healthcare industry continues its shift away from a fee-for-service (FFS) model toward one focused on payments (and penalties) for performance, it is becoming increasingly important for your organization’s marketing team to help support population health initiatives. But knowing how to address such disparate groups effectively takes more than just creative marketing minds – it takes data.

One of the best sources of data in healthcare marketing is a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution. Modern healthcare CRMs have moved beyond mailing lists to include both digital and traditional marketing tools to help you reach consumers and patients across multiple channels. Advanced, healthcare-specific CRMs offer the additional ability to see, in real-time, which channels and messages are most effective for a healthcare audience. And you can use all that information – from segmenting and modeling data to performance data – to encourage health behaviors in your population by directing individuals to the appropriate care when they need it.

While operational adjustments are essential to a successful population health strategy, marketing can support your organization’s overall goals with the right segmenting and messaging, at the right time, with the help of a healthcare CRM.

Let’s start with a low risk population, or those patients and prospective patients with no known chronic conditions. You can effectively market for:

• PCP Promotion (to recent patients): Push a “Find a Physician” message to patients with recent emergency or immediate care encounter who do not have a Primary Care Physician (PCP) on record. This strategy aims to meet a short-term goal of increasing the volume of patients with a PCP on record, with the ultimate goal of increasing the overall health of an existing patient base through regular wellness visits.

• Lapsed Patients/Utilization Gap: Push messaging from PCPs to patients due for a wellness visit, promoting the importance of regular check-ups to remain in good health.

• ED Overutilization & Redirect: Direct patients with a tendency to visit the ER for non-emergency care toward a more appropriate, lower-cost care facility. Similar to the above, the goal with this strategy is to move patients into a more appropriate and sustainable care flow through education, ultimately reducing the probability of readmission while lowering the overall cost of care to the organization.

• “Welcome to Medicare”: Send messages to patients and non-patients turning 65, encouraging them to schedule their free preventive visit covered by Medicare Part B for the first 12 months, again with a goal of increasing the base of patients for future engagement.

• Cancer Screening Reminders (Lung, Breast, Cervical, Colon, Prostate): Outreach to patients with known conditions or family history, as well as prospective patients approaching the recommended age to begin regular screenings.

• Other General Wellness: Promote fitness center(s), healthy living events, etc.

With a rising and high risk population, or those patients with one or more chronic conditions or comorbidities, you have fewer options. This population has much more specific needs and concerns, but you can still affect healthy decision making by marketing for:

• Lapsed Patients/Utilization Gap: Send communications targeting PCPs of high-risk patients who are not receiving the appropriate level of care, as well as market to patients themselves. A high-risk population will of course require coordinated efforts beyond the capabilities of the marketing department, but with the breadth and depth of data, as well as the targeted marketing tools afforded by a CRM database, they can go above the traditional call of duty in an attempt to make a positive impact.

The important thing to remember, as with all marketing initiatives, is to test and measure. As you begin population health marketing, test your engagement, measure follow-through to appointments or screenings, and connect to downstream revenue and other reimbursements based on your overall organization’s performance. If a segment isn’t responding, go back to the data, try new messaging, and stay focused on the value your marketing team can add to your population’s health.

Want to learn more about how a healthcare CRM is part of a comprehensive strategy for creating dynamic consumer experiences? Read our guide.