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Empowering the new heroes of patient engagement

  • Posted on September 12, 2018
  • Estimated reading time 3 minutes
healthcare data and marketing

Healthcare marketing has come a long way since 1847 when The American Medical Association considered marketing no more than questionable advertising, describing it in their code of ethics as worthy only of quacks and charlatans. Health industry historians mark the beginning of the healthcare marketing field 130 years later during the first official meeting on marketing sponsored by the American Hospital Association in 1977. It took another quarter century before healthcare marketing was established as a professional discipline that creates, communicates, and delivers value-rich offerings that attract, engage and nurture healthcare consumer relationships. Now, with the rise of value-based care, an additional component of healthcare marketing has evolved – that of ensuring positive experiences for patients, physicians and payers before, during and after their interactions with a healthcare institution.


The question now for healthcare systems is not whether to involve marketing in support of patient satisfaction and engagement initiatives, it is how to equip healthcare marketers to succeed in their expanded role. To do this, forward-thinking providers are digitally transforming their organizations and marketing efforts. While this is a step in the right direction, too many providers still stop short of arming marketers with a holistic view of their patients across the offline and online world, across those patients’ clinical and non-clinical lives.

The new technology infrastructure of intelligent healthcare marketing – comprehensive, cloud-based, automated, AI-enriched, predictive and personalized systems – is enabling hospitals and health systems to better acquire, retain and engage patients beyond the point of care and to provide uniquely positive, personalized patient experiences (for more on this, see my earlier blog post: The era of intelligence meets healthcare). With access to such technology, in theory healthcare marketers are equipped to be the new heroes of patient engagement. If only it were that easy.

Obscuring this vision is the reality that intelligent healthcare marketing solutions are typically created and sold as point solutions isolated from and difficult to integrate with traditional healthcare IT systems like EHR and ERP. Many providers hoped that Electronic Health Records (EHR) systems could double as CRM solutions, too, but this hasn’t been the case. Current EHR technologies capture snapshots of a patient’s treatment but fail to provide the full picture of the patient and their ongoing interactions with a healthcare provider’s people and places. EHR systems certainly aren’t built for marketing automation and the fact that they don’t typically connect with an institutions’ backend ERP systems means that patients’ financial histories are excluded from marketing decision-making. Missing, too, are patient preferences, their behaviors, and demographics that extend beyond the medical problem list and diagnosis codes. Without a fully interconnected ecosystem, healthcare marketers are forced to manage communication with only partial understanding of each patient’s experience with the institution.

For a marketing team to step up to a hero’s role in patient engagement, education, and promotion, it needs to be backed up by powerful marketing technology that is integrally linked with a healthcare system’s core operations and financial systems. Pair Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 - running on Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform and with Dynamics ERP and CRM inherently integrated in one solution –with Avanade’s insight marketing skills and Accenture’s health industry knowledge and you have infrastructure fit for patient engagement heroes. Now, Avanade is adding another element to complete this healthcare ecosystem solution.

Avanade’s quest to unlock the potential in healthcare data and to deliver better outcomes at lower costs has led it develop a healthcare-specific marketing and patient engagement solution – its Healthcare Engagement Accelerator – which leverages Dynamics 365’s extensive productivity suite to make it out-of-the-box simple for healthcare organizations to better coordinate care, segment patients and providers based on multiple sources of data including EHR data, and manage the care continuum of all patients. It helps providers engage, retain and partner with patients across all of their healthcare needs, not just “this episode,” and through their preferred communication channel and frequency. Avanade is building this tool specifically to support marketers who must not only attract new patients but also manage their experience and engagement across the healthcare journey.

Avanade’s Healthcare Engagement Accelerator coupled with Dynamics 365 is infrastructure that equips healthcare organizations to market and maintain ideal customer experiences based on insight, not just instinct, and to meet the specific needs of each patient at each stage of their healthcare journey. Without intentionally designed, fully integrated, holistic systems like this, patient engagement heroism may not be sustainable.

American humorist and actor, Will Rogers, once said that, “Being a hero is about the shortest-lived profession on earth.” If healthcare organizations allow marketers to play, long-lived heroic roles in patient engagement, they need to support those marketers with the technology infrastructure of intelligent healthcare enterprises. Working with Dynamics 365 technology tailored to healthcare providers, Avanade’s goal is to make sure that infrastructure is as simple, robust and affordable as possible.

If you’re attending the Microsoft Ignite Conference later this month, stop by Booth #1000 in the expo area, and I can share more about the Healthcare Engagement Accelerator.

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