CRM Best Practices: Personas and Patient Pathways

Facebook LinkedIn Email

01/02/2018 in Blog

This blog is part of the Healthgrades CRM Best Practices series.  For more insight and information about healthcare CRM trends and techniques, make sure to read our blogs on Attribution Personalization 101, and Predictive Modeling.

Every day, hospital marketers communicate with thousands of healthcare consumers to address their concerns and guide them on the proper care journey. For communications to resonate with patients, and increase the odds of conversions, messages need to be personalized. Since meeting face to face with each recipient is far from feasible, hospitals need to find effective ways to understand large groups of consumers at the individual level.

A persona is a generalized group of individuals who share goals, needs, and behavior patterns, according to collected consumer and patient data. Gender, age, income, and lifestyle factors are among the basic demographic details that are typically analyzed to better understand consumers collected under a persona. By creating personas, you can better understand personalization on a larger scale and identify where consumers are on the patient pathway.  This understanding will guide the messaging and tactics to best nurture them.

The patient pathway is the route a healthcare consumer takes from the moment they come in contact with the hospital or health system, up until the completion of their treatment. Essentially, it is a timeline of the patient experience.

Creating personas for patients segments consumers efficiently based on collected demographic data. Personas also gives marketing teams a better opportunity to understand the people they're speaking to, which allows them to target the correct individuals and personalize their care information properly. This reduces wasted costs, time, and effort.

Personas also help anticipate the type of treatment a patient will need, thus establishing expectations for the patient pathway. You can then keep the patient informed with personalized messages about what they can expect from their initial encounters, the treatment itself, and aftercare.

Building patient pathways gives you options when determining which messages will best resonate with a consumer. A clear understanding of the ways a consumer enters the health system and navigates it based on their care needs is vital for marketing messaging and tactics to be successful. When a hospital customizes their message to a persona, and also maps it to the patient’s current or upcoming episode of care, they show that the health system truly understands the patient’s needs.

A sophisticated CRM platform has powerful data-aggregation capabilities, which grant hospital marketing teams more opportunities to accurately identify which consumers are most likely to need a particular procedure. For example, a consumer who will eventually undergo a knee replacement may experience a precursor symptom such as joint pain or swelling. This systematic discomfort and pain marks the first step on the consumer’s journey, even though a diagnosis will not be made until later.