Communication is Key for Healthcare Marketers in 2022

By Andrea Overman

Oh, COVID-19. It’s done a number on our health, our economy—and consequently, all forms of business. Aside from the daily news reports on hospital capacity and vaccine administration, COVID has also affected healthcare in less brazen ways, poking at the weaknesses in healthcare marketing—and helping us see the gaps. In 2022, it’s critical that we own up to the need to modernize our efforts. 

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Recent surveys among healthcare marketers have proven that, in the New Year, there will be a marked focus on staffing and flexible talent models, as well as optimization of the patient experience and the technology we rely on. These critical areas of interest could mean the difference between revenue growth and loss in 2022.

Healthcare Industry Growth Drivers & Challenges

While there were several growth drivers identified in the surveys, the core challenge, and perhaps one that marketing can positively affect, is the mainstay of poor communication in all realms of healthcare. Finding a way to not just provide care, but also provide internal insight to one another, is something the industry has yet to solve.

Key insights:

  • Value-based models, focused on patient health outcomes, will continue in 2022. This means there will be a continued need for analytics and benchmarking for both providers and health plans. 
  • CAHPS and STAR scores at the payer level will become even more important. Similarly, the importance of technological enablement and patient/member satisfaction across the provider and agency/broker segments will also escalate. 
  • Consumer and patient satisfaction programs, which include CAHPS, HCAHPS, and CG-CAHPS, will be front and center for health plans, hospitals, and clinician groups since these scores impact ratings and revenue. 
  • Marketers need to be increasingly aware of the impact of Medicare STAR Ratings on their clients’ bottom lines, and work to communicate the importance of data in this realm.  
  • The combined effect of an aging population and the pandemic-influenced need for patient care outside of the hospital setting is generating massive investments in patient connectivity, telemedicine, and the at-home care market.
  • Healthcare will remain a hotbed for mergers and acquisition activity, as big investments continue to pour into the sector. 

No Turning Away from Tech

In the past, there’s been a certain degree of forgiveness about the antiquated technology attributed to the healthcare industry. Networks are huge and databases are hard to integrate. But as COVID sent people home, and new and better technologies catering to those individuals abounded, so did a new set of expectations. 

Technology now stands to play an even bigger role across the whole healthcare value chain. And marketers, in turn, will have to up their game in this arena, too. 

Key insights:

  • The New Year will bring a greater focus on data, analytics, and technology—and marketers will need to be more adept at developing action insights and adapting to emerging trends.
  • Successful marketers will be those who utilize more digital, comprehensive, and modern techniques and tools.
  • Messaging needs to incorporate revenue generation, cost containment, doing more with less, as well as patient and staff satisfaction. 

Personalized Medicine Is Here to Stay

The pandemic-influenced demand for at-home and more personalized medicine has stuck—bringing with it a new set of heightened expectations and patient scrutiny. 

Healthcare marketers will need to take a lead role in defining and delivering the customer-centric experience patients are looking for, while improving communication and alignment among key stakeholder groups.

Key Insights: 

  • Spurred by the public’s desire to avoid unnecessary hospital visits, telehealth, mobile services, and hospital-at-home will continue to grow in a big way. 

Staffing Will Require Increased Attention & Resources

With the wave of corporate layoffs followed by mass resignation over the last two years, institutions will face increased staffing pressures in 2022. 

Marketers will need to put a greater focus on attracting and retaining talent: recruitment campaigns to find new talent, plus laser-focused employee value propositions, stellar communication, and support networks to help with relationship building among current employees.

Key insights:

  • Staff shortages caused by pandemic-related pressures on hospital staff have put a greater focus on employee satisfaction. Providers who put resources toward attracting and retaining doctors and nurses—a role that’s already projected to have a shortfall of over 510,000 nationwide by 2030—will be the frontrunners in 2022. 
  • Providers struggling with retention will have to grapple with automation as a way to reduce costs. Only the providers that can implement technology while mitigating negative impacts to care will be the winners.

Evolving Talent Models Will Play Bigger Role in 2022

Given the COVID-induced labor shortage, healthcare institutions will need to look toward evolving talent models, including the use of fractional resources, in order to set operations back on a productive course.

Bottom Line

When we take a look at this last year in healthcare and try to orient ourselves to what 2022 has in store for marketers, the overall picture is promising. 

By harnessing influential technologies, staying centered on value-based care and communication, and putting a renewed focus on staff and talent models, we can expect to become our best marketing selves in 2022 and beyond.

Andrea Overman is Partner and CMO with Chief Outsiders, the leading Fractional CMO firm that helps CEOs accelerate growth.

Healthcare Business Today is a leading online publication that covers the business of healthcare. Our stories are written from those who are entrenched in this field and helping to shape the future of this industry. Healthcare Business Today offers readers access to fresh developments in health, medicine, science, and technology as well as the latest in patient news, with an emphasis on how these developments affect our lives.