Published: 10 April 2017 In 2017 the private healthcare market will focussed on using better data and technology to improve and reduce the cost of healthcare services. The UK has an ageing population and there’s an increased prevalence of long-term ill-health conditions. We predict that these digital healthcare trends will emerge in 2017, which present an opportunity to use them to improve care and save costs:


Trend: Focusing on gaining a deeper understanding of the ‘users’ of private healthcare and customising your digital presence.

Making digital healthcare personal means tailor making it for an individual. Personalisation gives healthcare providers a clear opportunity to gain more control of the market. Start by simply addressing the digital needs and preferences of your users. If you capture niche users’ attention early on in the digital journey and deliver accessible resources to help them make informed decisions, you’ll gain a competitive edge - you’ll be delivering a more intuitive, personalised patient experience. In context, a personalised web experience or digital campaign will deliver content for a user or patient profile with bespoke messaging, directly relevant to their diagnosis. Personalisation shows you care about patients and understand the importance of treating them as individuals.

User Data and Behavioural Learning

Trend: Becoming more efficient in the use of data to improve care and save costs

We predict the growing trend of gathering more implicit behavioural data (not provided intentionally) through data streams and analysing explicit data (provided intentionally) for example through patient surveys or admission forms. This can be the key to monitoring patient online and offline behaviour more closely. Through the ever-changing user or patient experience, providers can stay in tune with their complex information needs for example by data mining on social media.

For 2017, we believe more providers need to generate consistently presented data so patients can quickly and easily compare treatment costs and information. Through digital channels such remarketing, healthcare providers can show highly targeted digital ads to patients who previously visited sections or pages of the website to encourage return visits, increase engagement and ultimately for more people to purchase private treatments repeatedly.
Every time a patient browses to new information online or refines their search preferences, healthcare providers have the opportunity to generate content, which is served dynamically, that best suits the patient's interests, search criteria and previous browsing history, enabling a truly patient friendly digital experience.

Automated marketing

Trend: Staying ahead of the curve by automating patient engagement tasks

The key here is to treat patients as informed consumers or buyers and embrace the concept of on-demand convenience to access healthcare information. Set in place digital processes that will ‘click to schedule’ (like Amazon) to nurture potential and existing patients, but be warned, effective marketing automation takes time, effort and resources to implement. We recommend you start simply - look at increasing website traffic and improving self-pay conversion to achieve deeper engagement. For our healthcare clients (internal link) we implement future proof marketing strategies that support their business objectives to help improve continuity of patient care. Look at the digital patient journey more carefully and identify the optimum opportunities to attract and convert more patient referrals.

What should you budget for in 2017?

We’re working with providers to tap into data before a potential patient purchases a treatment or a GP makes a referral. We’re encouraging providers to budget for the implementation of marketing processes that will secure booked-in appointments. Location-based PR and outdoor display advertising will raise brand awareness; SEO, PPC and social media advertising will generate interest and drive traffic to research and find out more to inform and help them to choose and book your service. Save costs by focussing your marketing efforts, narrow and personalise your target audiences.

What’s our new year resolution?

Throughout 2017 we will continue to offer focussed healthcare digital strategies to create seamless digital patient journeys. We will work in close partnership with our clients like Cystic Fibrosis Trust, Pierre Fabre and Spencer Private Hospitals (link to case studies) to champion a healthcare marketing approach that makes it more tangible for patients, insurers, GPs and consultants to assess their services. The Sagittarius patient journey model offers unique insights to help healthcare providers overcome the challenging issue of interpreting quality and price.

Here’s your take-away for 2017!

We’re a digital agency that works collaboratively with healthcare providers. Its often the case that providers understand their business’ digital challenges but struggle to bridge the disconnect between the offline and online patient journey. By working with Sagittarius we can help providers uncover and discover exactly the size of that challenge and develop award winning digital strategies that deliver ROI and profit. We offer a healthcare marketing toolkit with useful downloads and access to webinars and events to help you develop practical solutions to improve your digital healthcare marketing.

We’d like to listen to your healthcare marketing plans 2017, contact us for an informal chat today on 01233 467800 or email


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