Hospitals everywhere have a stated need to better engage their consumers. Yet the burden of small teams and tight budgets often makes it difficult for health systems to realize their outreach goals, much less quantify the success of their efforts and the value of their investments.

Fortunately, hospitals can turn to healthcare-oriented technologies to help ease the burden of these challenges and improve their consumer outreach efforts. With them, hospitals can seamlessly manage each of their outreach channels, keep close tabs on the audiences that matter to them, craft highly personalized content, and offer an overall superior patient experience. Below, we share some of the essential technologies hospitals should be turning to for their consumer-facing initiatives.

Better Software to Better Engage Consumers
There are myriad software options for hospitals, many of which are used predominantly by companies outside the healthcare industry. In recent years, however, such technologies have been honed for healthcare-specific uses, and in many cases have become indispensable in hospital marketing.

Content management systems (CMS), for example, offer hospitals the opportunity to seamlessly manage the full gamut of their content marketing efforts — from websites, to provider directories, to mobile applications — from one centralized platform. Oftentimes, hospitals systems find themselves fielding numerous disparate websites and patient pages, each with unique strategies and objectives; content management systems offer a way to coordinate these efforts and provide a seamless experience to consumers throughout your system.

Meanwhile, hospitals need rich consumer data to help inform their outreach efforts, and here, CRM systems (customer relationship management) fill the need perfectly. With a healthcare-focused CRM, hospitals can pair consumers' clinical, behavioral, financial, and demographic data to create highly personalized content initiatives. With such highly tailored content, hospitals can be sure they're reaching the audiences who will most benefit from (and hence value) their services. Meanwhile, a CRM enables a hospital to track and report on their outreach initiatives in real-time, meaning they can reduce their spend on initiatives that aren't converting, while boosting their investments for projects that show sustained interest. Of course, it often helps if hospitals also invest in a marketing automation system, ensuring that marketers can streamline the delivery of content and reduce the number of labor-hours required.

In any case, it's critical that hospitals select technology systems that are tailored specifically for the healthcare industry — as opposed to generic, horizontal martech systems. The reason is that healthcare marketing is generally very highly regulated, requiring complexities that martech is unable to address without substantial customization. Healthcare-specific solutions will not only cover your regulatory bases (such as by offering PHI-compliant forms), but will also address industry-specific ROI questions, such as how offline claims data factors into campaign success.

Be Sure You're Covering the Basics
Still, there are other solutions that have always been healthcare-focused, and hospitals should be sure they have them in use. For one, reputation management software enables hospitals to understand the full effect of what's being said about your organization online — from reviews, to social media mentions, to blog posts — and proactively engage with your audience. With it, organizations can help boost their positive feedback, while personally addressing negative commentary and helping to remedy any issue.

At the same time, directory listings management software allows hospitals to optimize their comprehensive online presence — claiming, cleansing, and maintaining provider and location listings to maximize their visibility in Google Search results. With the accuracy and consistency of directory listings ensured, hospitals can remain confident that they're not missing any opportunities.

Of course, these are just a handful of the many technology options hospitals have to improve their consumer outreach efforts. However, armed with even these, hospitals will have powerful tools to better reach the consumers who will best benefit from their services — helping hospital marketers to accomplish far more than their small teams and tight budgets would have initially allowed.

Want to learn more about technology solutions to help your organization better engage consumers? Read our guide to Healthcare Consumer Experience Today.