Does Your Health Care Content Hold the Cure for Customers in Crisis?

Does Your Health Care Content Hold the Cure for Customers in Crisis?

My first step was to find answers to a few logistical questions: Do I need to call an ambulance immediately? Will my California-based medical insurance cover out-of-state providers? If not, how much will treatment cost? But with rising medical costs and a lot of uncertainty in the health care marketplace, more people are faced with the decision of whether a condition is truly serious enough to seek emergency medical care. Cost management isn’t just a concern for patients: According to the Deloitte 2018 Global Health Care Outlook, improving financial performance and operating margins is a top issue for health care companies. Curative content: In the middle of the night and over 2,000 miles from home, consulting my primary care physician wasn’t an option. Access to care Questions: Where’s the closest hospital? The cost of care Question: Will my California-based medical insurance cover out-of-state providers? Curative content: A patient journey complicated by the need for ongoing care presents health care industry marketers with a distinct set of informational challenges – and plenty of opportunities to address them through content. Come to Content Marketing World 2018 and participate in the Cleveland Clinic Health Summit (and you’ll hear from 2016 Content Marketer of the Year, Amanda Todorovich, who directs content marketing at Cleveland Clinic).

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health-care-content-customers-in-crisis

In 2015, I arrived in Cleveland for Content Marketing World in good health and good spirits, full of energy and excitement about the week to come. A few hours later that enthusiasm turned to panic, as my focus completely shifted to a sudden, sharp pain that woke me in the middle of the night in my hotel room.

Within 12 hours, I personally learned some lessons about the role health care content marketing can and should play in the lives of consumers. If your health-related organization is looking to improve your content marketing prognosis, here are some ideas based on my experience of tracking down vital information in a situation I never anticipated.

My journey of diagnostic discovery

While I’m typically calm and relatively capable of handling a crisis at home, I quickly discovered that managing medical care while alone, in pain, and in unfamiliar surroundings requires a lot more presence of mind – and a vastly different set of informational needs and insights.

Every step I took on my accelerated user journey was focused on obtaining relevant, reliable, and highly personalized information to use immediately – you might say I was DTC (down to convert) on any prescriptive (RX or OTC) solution that would address my immediate (literal) pain points, STAT.

Two disclaimers

First: While the following story is true, I omit a few of the more personal details (I’m sure you understand).

Second: My experience is filtered through a lens of privilege – i.e., someone who has decent health insurance. Though health industry brands have myriad opportunities to provide much-needed content to those who aren’t as lucky, those ideas won’t factor in here.

My content checkup

Based on my family health history, I had a suspicion about the pain I was dealing with; so I sought treatment based on those semi-informed assumptions.

My first step was to find answers to a few logistical questions:

  • Do I need to call an ambulance immediately? Can it wait until I can get there on my own?
  • Where is the closest hospital? How can I get there?
  • Will my California-based medical insurance cover out-of-state providers? If not, how much will treatment cost?
  • What if there’s no quick fix and I need ongoing treatment? Will I be cleared to fly home?

Let’s take a closer look at how content factored in to what transpired over the next 12 hours:

Urgency of care

Questions: Do I need to call an ambulance immediately? Can it wait until I can get there on my own?

This is one of the most common questions patients (and their caregivers) have. In many cases the obvious answer applies: Never take chances with your health or delay treatment.

But with rising medical costs and a lot of uncertainty in the health care marketplace, more people are faced with the decision of whether a condition is truly serious enough to seek emergency medical care.

Cost management isn’t just a concern for patients: According to the Deloitte 2018 Global Health Care Outlook, improving financial performance and operating margins is a top issue for health care companies. It is critical for health care businesses to play an active role in helping patients recognize what constitutes an emergency, fully understand their options, and make the most informed (and cost-effective) choices whenever possible.

Curative content: In the middle of the night and over 2,000 miles from home, consulting my primary care physician wasn’t an option. What was an option was to consult the registered nurse helpline my health insurance company (and many others) offers as a benefit.

Helplines, chatbots, telehealth systems (like Call-a-Doc), and other smart medical services that can be accessed anywhere, at any time are becoming standard in the managed health care world. They are ideal for the type of go/no-go decision I needed to make. For example, the Mayo Clinic and Isabel Healthcare are among a number of health-related organizations that include consumer-friendly online symptom checkers in their website content.

Developing interactive content tools like these can help prospective patients pinpoint a likely cause of their medical concern and move more quickly toward taking appropriate interventional action.

isabel symptom checker

As the Deloitte report points out, health care businesses that provide such amenities would be wise to highlight them if they want to preserve and grow their existing customer relationships. And what better way to do that than to leverage content like blog posts, newsletter articles, or even videos to promote the valuable (and cost-effective) role these services can play, especially for patients in the thick of an uncertain medical situation or who live in locations where immediate medical attention may be hard to come by?

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