Though all aspects of our daily lives have been impacted by COVID-19, the healthcare industry has seen more challenges than most. Healthcare organizations of all sizes have had to change how they interact with patients, co-workers, and other organizations, meaning the healthcare technologies that keep these systems functioning are needed more than ever. Healthcare IT has helped to address countless new challenges and is needed on a daily basis to save lives and improve the quality of care of patients. Many of the new challenges we overcame in the past few years are thanks to the advances in healthcare technology, and we will continue to rely on those innovations more and more moving forward.
These major changes indicate a need for healthcare companies to grow and evolve as the needs and expectations of patients change; healthcare IT companies will have to continue creating new solutions to these challenges. Whether these changes impact healthcare tech companies directly, or they impact your customers and their patients, it is important to have a plan for how to address these challenges in 2022.
Here are 5 challenges healthcare technology companies will see in the coming year…
1. Optimizing User Experience
The pandemic has further emphasized our reliance on technology, and healthcare providers across the board are not only finding new ways to accommodate patients online, but also changing how they do business with other healthcare companies.
As a healthcare IT firm, you must stay on top of how healthcare providers are working with other companies and what they expect out of a professional healthcare IT company.
Maintaining a consistently positive online experience- for both your client’s patients and B2B clients- is key to keeping the attention of online visitors; 94% of users will not trust a site that is poorly designed, and may reject it entirely. This is especially true of mobile users, where 55% of all website traffic comes from; according to 52% of mobile users, they are less likely to engage with a brand if their mobile experience was bad.
For healthcare buyers specifically, 38% read product reviews, 34% will request additional product information, and 30% will read testimonials and peer reviews- all from mobile devices! Don’t let an unoptimized website stop these users from engaging with your brand.
The moment a user encounters your brand, whether in-person or online, you want to take the encounter as an opportunity to deliver the ideal customer experience. Optimizing your website for clear communication and navigation is the first step to improving user experience, making sure that their online experience is as good as when interacting directly with a representative.
Having a responsive website is necessary to accommodate users across devices. To reduce your mobile user bounce rate, create a responsive website that adapts to fit smaller screens and thumb-powered navigation.
Accommodating mobile users also means minimizing page load time; 53% of mobile website visitors will leave if a page takes more than 3 seconds to load! You can easily see if you have problem pages by using Google’s PageSpeed Insights. Once you identify which pages are loading slowly, you can make some small changes to increase page speed. The most common causes for slow page loading include inappropriate file formatting for images, using images that are too large, and using redirects.
Healthcare organizations are looking to simplify their systems and strategies, and your health tech company can provide those systems and solutions. Almost half of healthcare organizations, 47%, expect to expand their use of health technologies in the next few years, meaning you want to get in front of those audiences with your solutions.
Creating an optimum user experience will help you to stand out among industry competitors, while also driving traffic and conversions on your site.
2. Compiling and Accessing Data
Your website and portals not only provide important information to your visitors, they also supply you with actionable and measurable data.
As a healthcare tech company, you have a ton of data available that can benefit marketing and sales, as well as other departments like research and development, customer relations, etc., but it is often locked behind closed doors and limited to certain parties. This is a big mistake!
It is hard to recognize success or failure if you cannot clearly measure ROI. Limiting access to this important data is going to create holes in your marketing strategy and your operation in general.
Giving access to those who can use this information is vital to maintaining a unified strategy. You might be sitting on actionable data that could be extremely useful to other departments. Marketing, sales, R&D, and other departments must align to succeed in common goals, and this data can reveal measurable impacts on your organization and opportunities for growth.
Utilizing online data management software will help to give everyone access to useful data- from website analytics to social media metrics- while keeping secure information safe. This will help to clarify the needs of your overall organization, and help marketing and sales target what areas need to be addressed and what strategies will drive you toward those goals.
The amount of information you are able to collect and share may be overwhelming, which is why it is important to break out and prioritize data that is relevant to your department. It is important to choose a software that will allow you to simplify how information is shown so you are able to find what you need without digging through everything you have. Your marketing department will want to focus on certain data, which may be different than the data R&D or HR want to prioritize. Having access to everything makes sure no one is left behind, but smart organizing will help you to make sense of this data and act accordingly.
Once you are all able to access this information, you will be better able to utilize it; make informed changes to your marketing program using methods and strategies with proven results for your brand.
3. Improving Internal Communication
It is important to keep a clear line of communication open between departments, especially if you have people working outside of one office. Between work-from-home employees and managing multiple locations, it can be easy for communication to break down.
If you have an internal marketing team, they are probably working to build your brand identity and expand your digital presence. If your team is siloed from other areas of your operation, however, you could be putting your entire organization at a huge disadvantage. Whether you work with an in-house team, or partner with an agency, consistent communication is key to maintaining a successful healthcare marketing strategy.
Make sure your marketing team is aligned with the overall goals and needs of your healthcare organization. Marketing efforts work best when they are backed by sales and operations, and will be more effective if your entire team is working together.
Maintaining clear and open communication is the foundation of building a marketing strategy that works for your entire organization. Prioritizing regular communication about direction and strategy will ensure everyone is on the same page, and as new challenges and hurdles pop up, you will be better equipped to handle them in ways that benefit your organization as a whole.
Depending on the size of your company, you might not have a dedicated marketing department, or you may be limited to a few individuals handling different aspects of your digital advertising, website maintenance, etc. Partnering with a marketing agency not only increases the efficacy of your marketing efforts, it can also improve internal communication. Working with an agency means you have a team of professionals by your side to stay on top of every detail of your marketing plan, with the know-how to make sure everyone in your organization is on the right track.
4. Scalable Marketing Programs
COVID-19 reinforced the importance of adaptation. Technology evolves quickly, and as healthcare industry leaders it is important to stay up-to-date on the newest innovations. This includes keeping up with changing user experience standards and tech industry marketing trends.
Although a marketing program can be a huge asset in maintaining a unified direction and strategy, it is important not to get too tied to certain practices or strategies. As time goes on, your marketing strategy must change with your company as user expectations change.
Healthcare IT companies must use a B2B marketing approach to accurately target their market. B2B tech companies have had to be nimble in how they engage with clients, focusing on value-driven messaging, reliability, and transparency.
As a healthcare tech company, your first priority is to provide products or SaaS that improve patient experience overall. The value your products or services can bring to a healthcare provider must be central to your messaging to cut through the noise of the healthcare IT industry.
Evolution and growth must be part of your marketing strategy. Creating a versatile B2B marketing program means you are planning for change and ready to embrace it, knowing your program has room for growth.
Healthcare IT companies provide solutions to healthcare provider problems; solving your clients’ issues is your business- making their problems a marketing tool. As their problems change and evolve, your marketing strategy has to keep up.
A scalable B2B marketing program means you can grow and expand your business without hurting the quality or cost of your services. Creating a smart B2B marketing program that grows with your business will help to steadily drive qualified leads. Continuously updating your website and offering value to your audience will maintain the base of your healthcare B2B marketing program even as you expand and grow.
5. Need for Online Reviews and Buzz
The internet has become one of the most powerful tools for patients and healthcare professionals alike. More than ever, consumers are researching online, with 81% of consumers researching before buying from a brand. For B2B healthcare specifically, 72% of medical buyers start the sales cycle with an internet search; when they do decide to reach out to a vendor, it is after they are 60-90% down the sales funnel. Only 43% of healthcare B2B sales are made within the first 6 months of contacting a firm, with 21% taking over a year to close. This tells us that B2B healthcare clients are doing extensive research into your brand, products or services, and customer experience before they reach out to you directly.
As a healthcare IT company, you want to focus on optimizing your search engine ranking and cultivating positive online reviews to target these digital users. Prioritizing SEO will help to improve your search engine ranking so you will be top of the page when users start their research. The higher your ranking, the more likely you are to be seen; tweaking pages for SEO across your site will improve your ranking which increases your organic traffic.
To cultivate reviews, make it easy for users to leave reviews, and share good reviews whenever possible. Your Google Business page is a great place to start as it is a popular place for local reviews. You can also create forms for patients to fill out, which you can share via email after meetings, calls, or other important user actions. Once you have collected some reviews, you can use them to create content to be shared on your website and across social media platforms. They can also make for great newsletter content or digital advertising material.
It is important to address negative reviews as well. Responding to a bad review gives you the chance to right your wrong and shows potential clients that you are comfortable owning up to your mistakes and that you prioritize customer satisfaction.
Digital Strategy for Healthcare Technologies
This coming year will most likely pose many new and unique challenges to healthcare IT– having a unified strategy across departments will ensure your most pressing issues are addressed and your goals are kept front of mind.
Healthcare IT companies are first and foremost healthcare companies, with the goal of providing excellent care to patients and their loved ones. As an IT company, you must be flexible in your engagement with B2B clients- focus on your message, and always deliver value. Consistent messaging and branding will help to break through the noise of the healthcare tech industry, allowing you to share your unique selling proposition.
Having a versatile marketing program can help address many of these challenges while adapting to new challenges as they come your way. If we have learned anything since the pandemic, it is that it is necessary to be able to redirect marketing efforts to support changing organizational needs and goals.
Thanks for reading,