Published: 03 April 2017 At Sagittarius we offer patient data insights to improve private healthcare providers’ performance and help them increase self-pay bookings and direct online enquiries.

Data = Insights, Insights = Opportunity, Opportunity = Profit!

Big data is growing in the healthcare market and will continue to do so. Big data can create big value for healthcare providers. Given that private medical care in the United Kingdom is considered expensive by international standards, patients are cost-conscious and will seek the best price. Data and analytics can help providers to full advantage of the trends in the private health market by forecasting patient needs. For example, according to Laing Buisson, around 15% of private healthcare revenue is generated from ‘self-pay’ patients and 56% from private medical insurance.

Leading healthcare providers are using data to tap into unmet patient needs and align services that chime with their online healthcare searches. Patients are constantly searching for information across all devices. Search is essential in a digital patient journey, smartphones are always to hand, whilst online video informs and connects a patient experience. So the effective use of the right marketing channels is critical to increase revenue. Providers can use analytics from these channels to improve lead generation.

Typical patient journey

A typical patient journey starts with symptoms presented to a GP; they’re referred to a consultant who gives a diagnosis and a treatment plan is proposed to achieve a recovery. An engaged and informed patient is more likely to want to own their health outcome throughout this journey. They’ll investigate treatment and payment options and aim to work collaboratively with healthcare professionals to be treated at the best facility that has flexible payment options and offers the best aftercare. For KIMS Hospital we made it incredibly simple for potential patients to find the right service or treatment and promoted the hospital’s ‘halo’ treatments. This was made possible by providing an improved search mechanism within the site, adjusted for the patient's language and not medical terms.

To explain, consider a patient who needs a hip replacement. The patient may not be covered by health insurance. They are to a referred consultant but know that it’s tricky to get a new hip on the NHS quickly. They have savings and search online to investigate costs. There is a choice of private hospitals locally. A digitally savvy patient will want to compare prices online. A clever provider could efficiently predict this scenario and offer intelligent content to support that information gathering process. On the BMI hospital website, for example, there are four self-pay prices for a hip replacement.

Fact - patients are data-driven

Patients live in a digital data-driven world. More healthcare providers need to step into that world. A data empowered strategy will better understand those patient needs. As a provider, there’s an opportunity to have a strong patient focus to make them more empowered to help improve their recovery outcomes. For Spencer Hospitals we introduced Keyword research for the “Surgeries & Treatments” pages (e.g. what patients search for) and created content silos for key ‘Surgeries & Treatment” pages which increased website enquiries by 82% (Nov 2015 - Oct 2016).

Health awareness campaigns such as the ‘National Heart Month’ in February employ a data-driven strategy to encourage patients to search and find heart-related information, to compare and share knowledge about having a healthy heart and take positive action to potentially seek a check-up or source treatment before they have a heart attack. At the same time providers in this month share data about how they are using patient-generated data to change how heart disease is diagnosed and treated. We employed a data-driven campaign strategy for Kent County Council about drinking harmful levels of alcohol, which delivered over 7.6 million ad impressions, and online test conversion rates of 17.3%.

Embrace what patients want

Patients have a voice and want to be data empowered. The private healthcare sector has no choice but to meet these expectations, particularly when the GP Patient Survey 2015-16 revealed awareness of online services has increased. A further separate study found that 74% of Millennials consider the ability to book appointments and pay bills online an important factor when choosing a doctor.

At Sagittarius we make it our business to understand the digital patient journey. Digital data/content is key to informing patient choice and determining access to private care. The 2012 Google/Compete Hospital Survey found the hospital brand is important to the patient and they source digital content about a hospital’s reputation. Patients also trust a hospital brand if it it’s been recommended by a doctor and uses the latest technology.

Be personal about data

At Sagittarius we unpack personalised data to mirror different patient profiles. We help healthcare providers to promote treatments to support patients. We’re already developing new digital channels to engage more patients by fully understanding their needs and respond intuitively to achieve a positive healthy outcome.

To help the patient to be data-empowered, reach out and take steps to capture patient feedback. Be ready to build and test platforms to capture the right data responsibly. At Sagittarius we transfer our digital insights transparently to our healthcare clients to help them be more digital savvy. We’d like to listen to your healthcare data-driven plans for 2017. Contact us for an informal chat today on 01233 467800 or email hello@sagittarius.agency.

Sources:

https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/sites/files/kf/media/commission-appendix-uk-private-health-market.pdf
http://www.privatehealth.co.uk/industry/articles/future-private-healthcare-listening-patients-1131615
https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/2016/07/07/gp-patient-survey-2015-16
http://www.privatehealth.co.uk/industry/blog/price-transparency-self-pay-private-healthcare-market-1133329
https://ssl.gstatic.com/think/docs/the-digital-journey-to-wellness-hospital-selection_research-studies.pdf
https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22530135-000-nhs-game-changers-rise-of-the-data-empowered-patient
https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22530135-000-nhs-game-changers-rise-of-the-data-empowered-patient
http://www.himss.org/news/are-you-ready-rise-patient-empowerment 
http://blog.healthlanguage.com/blog/bid/276128/Empowering-the-Patient-Big-Data-and-the-Rise-of-DIY-Healthcare
https://sequencehealth.com/blog/five-patient-engagement-statistics-you-cant-afford-to-ignore


Josh Whiten

Digital Marketing Director

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