Posted: February 6, 2018

It’s no secret that as healthcare marketers you’re increasingly being tasked with proving and providing the downstream results of your efforts. We’ve listed the types of activities you might want to measure, looked at measuring key performance indicators (KPIs), and examined how you can determine return on investment (ROI) for your healthcare marketing initiatives.

In this last post in the series, we’re looking at the importance of integrating and simplifying data, which will allow you to take advantage of the knowledge gained from tracking those data points.

What is data integration?
Data integration is the process of taking data residing in disparate sources and in different formats — from Facebook ads, your website, Excel spreadsheets that live on an individual desktop, Twitter analytics, and more — and bringing them all into one database with one common language for analysis.

A single source of truth allows you to manage and optimize marketing holistically through KPIs, metrics, and ROI. The impacts of that unified data go beyond marketing; leadership can make better business decisions that drive cost reductions and quality improvement, and physicians and their teams will have the comprehensive, up-to-date information they need to make better decisions in real time.

Overcoming the challenges of data integration
However, according to one study, data integration is the number one underlying challenge for healthcare agencies and companies. But there are some steps you can take to overcome the challenges of data integration:

  1. Reduce or eliminate data silos. The silos can protect healthcare data, but they also prevent the data from being easily shared and integrated. What’s important here is making sure your data is still encrypted and you have a rules-based permission structure for accessing that data.
  2. Make data integration a key part of any business strategy. Data integration is essential to unlocking the value of data, whether it’s creating a 360-customer view, conducting analysis for cost savings, or some other use of information.
  3. Enrich data to make it more useful and more powerful. Third-party data sources along with machine learning techniques enrich data to add context, depth, and more meaningful integration of data from different sources.
  4. Strive for agility. With massive increases the types, sources, and speed of data and tighter and more complex regulations, healthcare organizations need to establish an infrastructure agile enough to address or even get ahead of changing market conditions.

One tool to simplify all that data
Another important element to marketing data integration? A good healthcare customer relationship management (CRM) solution. A healthcare CRM can help organizations integrate data from patient-facing divisions across the enterprise (such as marketing and the contact center) and other sources of patient information (EHRs, health surveys, physician notes, etc.). It can help healthcare marketers create that 360-degree customer view, and it can segment consumer information to ensure the right message reaches the right person at the right time, creating stronger relationships with consumers — relationships that could continue throughout the patient’s lifecycle.

Data is a powerful tool — if you use it correctly
Data is everywhere in today’s healthcare environment. It’s no different with healthcare marketing. If used correctly, it can be the key to better engagement with your audiences, and as a source of truth for the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. Or, it can illustrate the ineffectiveness of those efforts, pointing a way toward improvements.

But healthcare organizations need to understand how to work with the data.

All of the data we’ve talked about will give you little actionable benefit if you don’t unite it into one source. Otherwise, you’ll miss too much of the necessary data during analysis and fumble the promises that data can deliver.

Want to learn more about how to leverage a healthcare CRM for better marketing performance? Read our white paper, The Definitive Guide to CRM. Or, come visit us at HIMSS 2018, Booth 12237.