Case Study

Phoenix Children’s Partners with Healthgrades for Branding and Patient Acquisition Solution

Traditional hospital marketing targets patients directly, but children’s hospital marketing speaks to decision-makers. Here’s how to make this distinction work for you when developing a successful children’s hospital outreach strategy.

An effective marketing strategy can help patients find the right care, but what if your target audience can’t be reached directly? For instance, children have different health needs, and parents and guardians are typically the ones making important healthcare decisions for them. Some mothers even forgo their own appointments to keep up with their children’s annual check-ups and exams.

With that in mind, how can children’s hospital marketers better connect their intended audience to care if traditional direct-to-consumer advertising isn’t applicable? Find out in our latest case study with Phoenix Children’s.

Children’s Hospital Marketing vs. Traditional Patient Outreach

Unlike traditional healthcare marketing scenarios where the patient is the primary persona, children’s hospitals have to target caregivers such as parents, grandparents, or guardians who make decisions on behalf of the patient. The problem is that caregivers tend to only consider children’s hospitals when their child needs specialized or intensive care, not general pediatric services.

However, marketers can use primary care as a gateway for caregivers to access niche pediatric services. Establishing a robust referral network by promoting your hospital’s primary care services can help you attract consumers who value a network of pediatricians specializing in multiple areas, such as cardiology and orthopedics. In fact, studies show that 1 in 40 pediatric visits result in a referral, demonstrating the impact of patient acquisition in the general care space.

But not all pediatricians are the same. Emphasizing the value of finding the right doctor can encourage caregivers to trust your hospital with the nuances of childhood and adolescent care. For instance, there’s a difference between a child seeing a pediatric orthopedist versus an orthopedist that primarily treats adults. Pediatric orthopedic specialists undergo additional, specialized training to understand children’s bone anatomy and musculoskeletal diseases. They’re trained to deliver orthopedic care exclusively to pediatric patients and talk about medical issues specifically with children. 

Phoenix Children’s understands the importance of these considerations and wanted to highlight its expertise with decision-makers on a local and regional scale. They decided to pursue a marketing strategy that layered in an additional touchpoint with their target audience. As such, the health system partnered with Healthgrades to identify optimal approaches to accomplish its goals and promote their physicians and service lines to consumers shopping for care. The program was able to generate thousands of new patient phone calls for Phoenix Children’s in the first year of the partnership alone.

About Phoenix Children’s

Located in Maricopa County, Arizona, Phoenix Children’s serves one of the fastest-growing areas in the United States. Arizona has witnessed remarkable growth with an ongoing population surge kickstarted by the COVID-19 pandemic, contributing to increasing demand for pediatric healthcare services. Phoenix Children’s is a leading provider of inpatient, outpatient, trauma, and emergency care across more than 75 subspecialties. With an impressive medical staff of nearly 1,000 specialists, it is currently one of the nation’s largest pediatric healthcare systems and the most comprehensive children’s care facility in Arizona.

To maintain its position as a leading pediatric healthcare institution and support its evolving goals, Phoenix Children’s sought to conduct a rebrand, expand to new locations, and upgrade its technology infrastructure. But first, it needed an additional patient acquisition solution that would reach consumers outside of Google while still complementing its existing marketing mix. A partnership with Healthgrades offered just that—an easy-to-implement patient acquisition and brand awareness solution with minimal ongoing oversight. By advertising with Healthgrades, Phoenix Children’s was able to extend its reach and engage the largest audience of commercially-insured consumers searching for care.

Case Study: Effectively Expanding Outreach to Pediatric Patients

The Challenge

Phoenix Children’s goals were to expand its digital marketing initiatives, increase patient volumes—including those new to the area looking for general pediatric care—and explore additional avenues for digital success that would complement its existing marketing mix. The health system needed to effectively promote its general practitioners, specialists, and subspecialists in a region with diverse healthcare needs. It also needed to consider the various stages of the caregiver search process in their child’s healthcare journey.

The Solution

The marketing team at Phoenix Children’s collaborated closely with Healthgrades to identify a group of nearly 200 doctors within key service lines who were accepting new patients. When consumers were on the web searching for care in the local and regional market, the promotional program prominently displayed Phoenix Children’s brand and physicians. Additionally, consumers viewing competitive physicians also saw a rotating selection from the sponsoring health system suggested as alternatives. The program was strategically focused on boosting primary care as well as orthopedic and cardiovascular pediatric care.

The Results

Within the first 12 months of the program, the health system’s doctors were featured to consumers visiting over 135,000 times. This increased exposure led to over 4,500 phone calls from prospects specifically seeking a doctor affiliated with Phoenix Children’s.

Healthgrades is the #1 site where consumers find, compare, and ultimately select a doctor. By leveraging our reach and resources, Phoenix Children’s successfully expanded its digital marketing efforts, driving significant engagement and generating a substantial number of phone calls from consumers actively searching for pediatricians.

“We chose to extend our online presence to because we want to promote our physicians and services wherever consumers are searching, and we know that’s the audience Healthgrades services,” said Jean Hitchcock, Interim VP of Marketing, Communications & Physician Relations at Phoenix Children’s. “Healthgrades is not a typical martech product. It’s an acquisition service.”

Healthgrades: Connecting Patients of All Ages to Optimal Care

Children’s hospitals face unique marketing challenges and opportunities that require custom strategies. By building a high-visibility brand awareness and patient acquisition program, your hospital can tap into the pool of consumers searching for general pediatric services and foster long-term loyalty to your brand.

Not sure where to reach your audience? Try partnering with Healthgrades to connect with the largest audience of qualified patients. While every doctor in the United States has a profile on, our advertising solutions for health systems make your physicians even more discoverable and accessible:

  • We offer premium placement with prominent branding on physician search results pages and profiles to ensure more consumers see your health system first. 
  • Promoting your brand’s online appointment scheduling and telehealth offerings removes barriers for consumers who are ready to appoint.
  • Our competitive intercept feature lists your doctors’ profiles as alternative options directly on competitor profiles, providing you with another avenue for new patient acquisition.
  • Our solutions can both complement and outperform Google SEM to maximize your relevance in search results.
  • And because we guarantee conversions, you’ll know you’re making the most out of your marketing budget with minimal investment risk. 

Get in touch with us today to learn how Healthgrades can amplify the impact of your campaigns.