Digital Marketing Marketing to Patients Patient Experience

Stop Trying to be Amazon

Stop Trying to be Amazon

Despite the pandemic, the wave of consumerization continues to wash over healthcare. Organizations are still adopting new technologies and processes designed to provide patients with personalized and convenient experiences. This is a good thing…BUT…there is a potential danger. Many organizations have set their sights on Amazon as the exemplar to strive towards. Brian Davis, Executive Vice President at Scorpion says that is the wrong goal.

Personalization requires frequency

When we think of providing a consumer-like experience in healthcare, personalization comes up as desired outcome. Consumers/patients are used to personalized experiences in other aspects of their lives, so it is believed that healthcare should do the same. Davis sees a flaw in that way of thinking.

The flaw that Davis is referring to is the push by some healthcare organizations to transform their websites so that it provides an Amazon-like experience to visitors.

“Healthcare isn’t like Amazon, Best Buy, or Target where people are transacting with you every week, or in the case of Amazon, multiple times a day,” stated Davis. “Personalization takes a certain amount of interaction before it can be meaningful. Patients simply are not going to a hospital’s website often enough for it to work. Yet organizations are spending time and resources trying to deliver an Amazon experience through their site.”

Davis is quick to point out that the personalized and consumer-like experience that we want from healthcare encompasses more than the website. We want the convenience of scheduling an appointment online. We want to connect with our physicians via text and email. We want to be politely reminded of upcoming appointments. In other words, we want our entire interaction with providers to be a pleasant experience, not just the website experience.

Make the website easy

Instead of focusing on making your hospital’s website be as personalized as Amazon’s is, Davis recommends putting energy into making it easy to navigate and usable instead.

“Personalization is an excuse for poor design,” said Davis. “When your website is designed really well, then ‘in session’ you are leading the person to what they want or giving them options to get to what they need very quickly.”

People visit hospital websites for specific reasons:

  • To get information about a condition they (or a loved one) may have or are worried they have
  • To book an appointment
  • To find directions to a facility near them
  • To research doctors they have been referred to
  • etc.

The goal should be to make this type of web interaction as smooth as possible.

No longer a distinction between digital and physical front door

COVID changed many things in healthcare, but one of the most significant from a marketing perspective is that it completely blurred the line between digital and physical front doors.

When healthcare providers had to literally shut their doors to elective procedures and appointments, patients had to move to digital platforms to get the care they needed. Websites suddenly became more than a place to get information; they were now telehealth and contact portals too.

“You must have your digital front door on point,” Davis said.

In today’s environment, patients may start their interaction with their healthcare provider digitally and then move to the physical world or they may stay digital. Likewise, an encounter may start within the four walls of a provider only to move online later. Your digital and physical front doors need to be in synch.

One door is being ignored

According to Davis, there is one “door” that is being ignored by healthcare providers – their physician referral networks.

“The truth is that the bulk of the revenues still come from referral channels and physician networks rather than directly from consumers looking for care,” explained Davis. “But most business development is still done the same way as it was 10 years ago – face to face.”

When COVID hit, most business development teams had to shut down. As physician offices and healthcare providers slowly opened back up, there is suddenly a need to find ways to engage with this network digitally.

Scorpion will soon be rolling out a solution to this exact challenge.

Watch the full interview with Brian Davis to hear about:

  • What was behind the huge jump in hospital website traffic at the beginning of COVID-19
  • The power of having a “digital constitution” to guide your decision making
  • Tips on getting buy in for your marketing initiatives

Cover Photo by Christian Wiediger on Unsplash

About the author


Colin Hung

Colin Hung is an award-winning Marketing Executive with more than 15yrs of healthcare and HealthIT experience. He co-founded one of the most popular healthcare chats on Twitter, #hcldr and he has been recognized as one of the “Top 50 Healthcare IT Influencers”. Colin’s work has been published in the Journal of the American College of Radiology, American Society for Healthcare Risk Managers, and Infection Control Today. He writes regularly for Healthcare Scene and here at Colin is a member of #pinksock #TheWalkingGallery and is proudly HITMC. His Twitter handle is: @Colin_Hung.

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