Feb 03, 2020



Healthcare Marketing Statistics You Need to Know

By Healthgrades Staff

In this changing healthcare environment, providers are faced with a series of difficult questions. Is my organization doing enough to keep up with the times? Are our marketing efforts capturing the patients we need? Are they engaged throughout their care journey? Are we using the right channels and the right technology to deploy campaigns?

There are many factors that influence the state of modern healthcare. Government policy is a piece of this equation, as is a greater degree of collaboration between providers and payers. Health systems are also able to leverage increasingly sophisticated, big data-powered technologies that provide detailed and valuable insights into demographic propensities, care outcomes, and population health.

Health systems are continuing to have conversations around healthcare consumerism, the spread of value-based care, and the power of using high-quality data in AI and machine learning solutions that benefit providers, marketers, and researchers alike. Plus, health systems will reach patients through new channels – everything from video clips on social media newcomer TikTok to personalized display ads and adaptive email campaigns.

With the healthcare environment in constant flux, it’s important to periodically perform a gut check on your organization’s strategy. To assist in this analysis, we’ve compiled a list of recent healthcare marketing statistics that are worth a second look.

Patient Acquisition

Patient acquisition requires a more sophisticated, nuanced approach to campaign-building. Digital channels continue to reign supreme, with mobile-first and voice search-optimized strategies garnering a large portion of organic leads and conversions. Don’t be afraid to diversify content types – but all campaigns should still feel highly personalized and tailored to the target demographic.

  • Millennials make up a significant portion of US consumers that explore health-related topics online, with more than 60 percent “regularly conducting research.” However, only about 40 percent of millennials believe that regular doctor’s appointments are essential to maintaining optimal health. 
  • According to Higher Visibility, a whopping 40 percent of mobile site visitors will leave and go to a competitor’s website if the initial site lacks a mobile-friendly design. Health systems have been slow to adopt a mobile-first strategy – but doing so is absolutely imperative in 2020 and beyond.
  • When selecting a healthcare provider, social selling via ratings, reviews, and recommendations is becoming increasingly important in the average consumer’s decision-making process. According to a Binary Foundation infographic, 75 percent of patients are influenced by online feedback, 46 percent by online ratings and reviews, and 54 percent by recommendations from friends and family. 
  • Healthgrades is a major driver of digital patient acquisition: 50 percent of Americans who see a doctor this year will visit Healthgrades to access up-to-date provider information, reviews, and other influential data. 
  • From the consumer perspective, 41 percent of patients stated that social media content influenced their choice of hospital when seeking medical treatment.
  • Zero-click searches, in which consumers find the information they need on the first page of the search results in a Google Knowledge Graph or Featured Snippet, have increased year over year according to research by Jumpshot. In 2019, 49 percent of all U.S. Google searches ended without a click. 
  • Video continues to drive significant engagement: Adding a video to your website can increase conversion rates by nearly 80 percent. 
  • Voice search is growing – fast. Analysts estimate that between 30 to 55 percent of all U.S. search traffic is currently driven by voice search, which means health systems need to make significant changes to their SEO and SEM strategies. 
  • Digital display ads are largely purchased through programmatic buying, which has continued its year over year increase: eMarketer predicts that nearly 90 percent of US digital display advertising will be purchased programmatically by 2021. 
  • Health systems should be ramping up geolocation targeting. The State of Personalization Report by Segment found that 85 percent of companies plan to use location data to personalize the customer experience within the next 12 months, and 9 out of 10 marketers plan to use this data in the future to refine their targeting and audience engagement strategies. 

Patient Experience

Digital healthcare is the new status quo. In fact, many predict that access to robust digital resources will differentiate the health systems that succeed from those that stagnate in the near future. Patients are gunning for convenient, time-saving solutions including telehealth, online appointment scheduling, and apps that facilitate prescription refills and other recurring tasks. While marketers may not directly influence the digital resources and technologies available to consumers, it’s worth knowing what’s in demand and what changes lurk on the horizon.

  • Phone and virtual communication should be prioritized, especially when it comes to helping patients with chronic or complex health conditions. Half of survey participants from the US and UK, in a recent study by the Global Web Index, said they would benefit from the ability to consult a physician via phone or video call and that it would help them more effectively manage their care. 
  • Of these survey participants, 13 percent have already benefited from telehealth consultations and would recommend it to others. 
  • According to data from Definitive Healthcare, only one-third of inpatient hospitals and 45 percent of outpatient facilities currently offer telehealth solutions or services – so there’s a huge opportunity for health systems who embrace the technology early on. 
  • Just over half of surveyed patients (51 percent) stated that the ability to find doctors and make appointments online would help them manage their health more effectively, and just under half believed they’d benefit greatly from online or mobile prescription refill requests, the ability to complete paperwork online, and the ability to communicate with a physician electronically (via text, email, or social media). 
  • Another survey by West found that 88 percent of both male and female patients would like providers to send automated communications (such as text messages, emails or voice call reminders) to encourage them to take beneficial actions, such as scheduling an appointment or preventative screening.
  • The same survey revealed that 76 percent of men and 72 percent of women feel that their providers do not communicate with them frequently enough outside of appointments. 
  • In 2019, 29 percent of consumers made appointments with their healthcare provider using that provider’s website, and 16 percent did so by using a patient portal. 
  • As a whole, patient experience is repeatedly proving to be more important than almost any other factor: Healthcare consulting firm Press Ganey reported that patients are five times more likely to select a physician or practice because they had a positive experience there than if they employ an extensive consumer marketing protocol.

Data and Security

Consumers are concerned about their personal data, and rightly so. With the rise of big data and increasingly complex digital networks on which patient information is stored and shared, the healthcare industry as a whole – including marketers – are tasked with an enormous challenge. Namely, how can patient data be safely leveraged to benefit both patients and the health system, without putting privacy at risk? The first step is auditing your technology stack to ensure all systems are up to code, including your EHR, HCRM, content management, and marketing automation software.

  • Healthcare consumers are still concerned about privacy, especially when it comes to AI and machine learning. 51 percent of participants in the same Global Web Index study reported concern over privacy and security issues. 
  • Patients are hesitant to share their health data with technology firms; 39 percent do not feel comfortable doing so and 26 percent are unsure how they feel. Interestingly, patients are more comfortable sharing their data with an AI research firm than a technology firm.
  • Healthcare was the most frequently affected industry when it came to personal data breaches in 2019, and more than 60 percent of all data breaches were a result of human error. 
  • The Shape the Future of Customer Experience With Customer Analytics (Gartner subscription required) report from Gartner states: “by 2022, more than half of all major new business systems will incorporate continuous intelligence using real-time context data to improve decisions,” and “by 2022 more than 10% of customer engagement hub architectures will include real-time event streaming or streaming analytics”.* 

Final Thoughts

Consumerism in healthcare is still shifting and expanding, and healthcare marketers are in a unique position to capitalize on changing patient expectations. With the rich and varied assortment of technologies and media platforms available today, there are more ways to engage patients than ever – as long as your efforts keep sensitive information secure and avoid privacy infringements at all costs.

*Gartner, “Shape the Future of Customer Experience With Customer Analytics,” Melissa Davis, 26 March 2019