An Annual Thought Leadership in Access Symposium (ATLAS) Report Out
On October 27-28, 85 executives from some of the leading health systems gathered at the Annual Thought Leadership on Access Symposium (ATLAS) to share best practices and learn the latest advancements in patient access, provider data management, and clinician engagement. Day 2 featured a rich line-up of thought leaders on consumer-centered healthcare delivery, and several presenters referenced the latest consumer behavior research, The Consumer’s Path to Finding a Healthcare Provider, in illustrating how digital health strategies can enhance patient experience and access.
John Englehart, CMO at Hospital for Special Surgery, and Chris Boyer, SVP of digital and creative at ReviveHealth, sat down for a discussion on enhancing engagement. The veteran marketing leaders agreed that regardless of patients’ motivations or priorities, they are taking an increasingly active role in managing their healthcare and hospitals must serve their appetite for information and equip them with tools to simplify the physician search process.
John pulled from his background at storied agency Ogilvy & Mather to address the importance of storytelling in word of mouth references, which research indicates is the third most important resource in the search for a new physician. “Word of mouth is the primary influence for patients coming to our hospital,” he said. He offered the following tactics to leverage WOM and build trust:
- First, build empathy for the experience. HSS created a Back in the Game online forum for patients to interact, connect around a shared experience, and create a sense of validation.
- Next, build trust. Back in the Game also serves as a platform for feedback, and while it introduces responsibility and accountability, it also provides tremendous opportunity to build trust in the HSS brand and to scale WOM.
- Finally, provide an actionable outlet. The Physician Referral Service team selected the ProviderMatch platform to provide clinically accurate and timely appointments for patients – which validates the search experience and provides peace of mind and confidence in the right patient-provider match.
Chris referenced his experience at North Shore-LIJ and Inova to highlight the importance of consumer preference in the context of clinically complex services. Despite the buzz around online physician ratings and patient reviews, he likened the process of finding a physician to shopping for consumer products and offered the following insights:
- Shoppers first look at product details and specs. First get the basics right - important provider data such as insurance plans accepted and clinical expertise should be accurate and easy to find.
- Only after understanding the objective facts do shoppers consult reviews. Customer reviews are secondary to the basic product specs. Patients only use reviews after initially qualifying a provider.
Both marketing experts cited Apple’s Genius Bar as the standard for using technology to elevate the customer experience, mainly by integrated online self-service tools and offline high-touch tools into a seamless experience. With research demonstrating that patients have diverse searching and booking preferences and that 32% of patients want a combination of multichannel tools to book an appointment, hospitals must have a unified approach to managing provider data and guiding patients in their physician search.