Marketing Drives Patient Acquisition

How to Prove Your Marketing Drives Patient Acquisition (and deserves the resources)

2023 saw the highest volume of healthcare Chapter 11 bankruptcy filings in five years, according to Gibbins Advisors, with 79 hospitals filing. This surge comes after two years of subdued filings, with 2023’s total exceeding 2022’s by more than 170%. In this climate of financial strain, it’s no wonder marketing budgets are being cut. However, healthcare providers who neglect marketing efforts during tough times risk further decline. To navigate this challenging landscape, demonstrating the undeniable link between marketing and patient acquisition is more crucial than ever.

To navigate this landscape, healthcare marketers must shift their focus. Building a strong case for ROI and weaving it into every report is essential for demonstrating the value of marketing efforts. The gold standard? Directly connecting marketing campaigns to incremental patient revenue. This level of ironclad attribution will quiet even the most skeptical CFO, empowering you to secure the resources needed to drive sustainable growth.

The concept behind strong attribution is straightforward: connect your specific marketing efforts directly to your patient acquisition strategy. The execution, however, can get tricky. Here’s how to tackle the technical side:

  1. Assign Unique IDs: Collaborate with your marketing platform or agency to generate unique identifiers for each campaign and referral source. These identifiers (even when attached to a patient’s session) are generic and therefore still comply with HIPAA regulations.
  1. Pass the Data Along: These identifiers should seamlessly integrate with your (HIPAA-compliant!) website analytics, tracking engagement and conversions.
  1. Tie it to the Patient Journey: Securely pass the generic identifiers throughout the patient’s session, whether via URL or session variable to track their engagement and conversion.

Now the magic happens – you’re directly connecting your marketing spend to specific appointments booked online. This unlocks the ability to calculate the real cost of acquiring each new patient, empowering data-driven decision-making.

Pull Downstream Revenue into Your Crm to Demonstrate Real ROI

There’s no more important metric in a healthcare marketer’s reports than real ROI. If you can show your organization that you’re able to generate incremental revenue in a CFO-accepted way, you’ll receive the recognition and admiration you rightfully deserve.

That means having an ironclad attribution model that can show, step by step, how your marketing efforts have led directly to each new patient you’re claiming responsibility for.

Track marketing spends and ROI analytics

We talked about how connecting those patients back upstream to specific campaign segments requires a marketing integration tool that is able to keep that referral and attribution data intact all the way through to your CRM. 

The next step is to find a way to get patient reimbursement data back out of your EMR or downstream financial systems. If you have a patient identifier in your CRM and a direct API-based connection to your EMR, you’ll likely be able to pull reimbursement data that way.

EHR Integration

In our experience, this is one of the more controversial data elements for marketing to be interested in and you might run into some resistance from IT Security or EMR Operations teams. Your CRM vendor should be able to support you through some of those conversations – being able to tie real downstream revenue to patient to marketing campaign grants you two amazing superpowers:

  1. The ability to demonstrate real ROI which you can use to defend and grow your marketing budget
  2. A set of data that you can use to learn more about where your patients are coming from, why they’re coming, and where they’re getting stuck in the process

Improving this critical part of the patient experience can help to gain a deeper understanding of our patient’s journey – this empowers us to optimize the patient experience, boosting both acquisition and retention while making things easier for your patients.

If direct access to patient revenue data proves challenging, let’s collaborate with Finance to explore alternative ROI metrics. Proven models often use average patient value (first year, two-year, even lifetime). Averaged value offers the advantage of immediate attribution at conversion, while actual revenue models, though more precise, may have a delay. Ideally, our reporting will combine both for a comprehensive view.

2024 is brimming with potential. Sparkle and LeadSquared together can empower you with the tools to supercharge your marketing, achieve ironclad attribution, and deliver exceptional patient experiences. Let’s explore how Sparkle and LeadSquared can support your goals!

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