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A Pivotal Moment in Healthcare Engagement

Date: September 25, 2020
Consumers expect to have personalized, one-to-one digital experiences. This is now more important than ever for healthcare organizations recovering from COVID financial loss and serving as thought leaders in their communities. Healthcare providers need to evolve their digital front door experiences to acquire and retain the right patients, especially as the healthcare landscape continues to evolve with retail giants and big-chain pharmacies announcing big investments in the space.

In this podcast, hear a passionate discussion around how hospitals and health systems can better leverage data and insights to accelerate intelligent engagement in today’s highly competitive consumer-driven landscape. By pinpointing the right growth opportunities and the individuals most likely to need care--plus how to best reach those individuals, providers deliver service line growth, optimize the payer mix, improve network utilization, and extend patient lifetime value.
A Pivotal Moment in Healthcare Engagement
Jessica Friedeman
With her expertise in product and strategic marketing/planning, Jessica is the Chief Marketing Officer, Health Systems at Healthgrades. Prior to Healthgrades, Jessica was Vice President of Product Marketing at Evariant where she provided market guidance and industry expertise to product delivery, marketing, and account management teams. With her background in product marketing and business development, Jessica has a record of accomplishment in the hospital business development space with a deep understanding of critical business issues.

Introduction: The following SHSMD Podcast is a production of

Bill Klaproth: On this episode of the SHSMD Podcast, we are at a pivotal moment in healthcare engagement people. Consumers expect to have personalized one-to-one digital experiences. This is now more important than ever for healthcare organizations, recovering from COVID financial loss and serving as thought leaders in their communities. So how do we do this? I know I've got it. We'll ask Jessica Friedeman of Healthgrades about intelligent engagement, how to use technology to help orchestrate the customer experience, and how we should create the right systems of engagement to reduce overhead costs, improve care coordination, and make care more accessible. You want all of that, don't you? Yes, you do. Of course you do well. Let's get started, right now.

This is the SHSMD Podcast, Rapid Insights for healthcare strategy professionals in planning, business development, marketing communications, and public relations. I'm your host Bill Klaproth. And in this episode, we talk with Jessica Friedeman, Chief Marketing Officer Health Systems at Healthgrades with her background in product marketing and business development. Jessica has a record of accomplishment in the hospital business development space with a deep understanding of critical business issues. And we're going to talk about this pivotal moment in healthcare that we find ourselves in. Jessica, welcome to the SHSMD Podcast. As you know, we start every episode of SHSMD Podcast with rapid insights. One quick tip. Someone can use to make their marketing communications better today. Jessica, give us your rapid insight.

Jessica Friedeman: Yeah, thank you for having me. This was great, great dialogue to have today and I love how we're starting. So I'll answer that with my most favorite quote. It's one by Henry Ford. He said, if I asked my customers what they wanted, they'd have said a faster horse. So my takeaway there is every good marketer of course, does their research and respects their audience and the intelligence of the audience, but every great marketer is equally innovator. And so I'm saying, take a page from Ford. Don't draw limitations around your role as a marketer, put on your inventors hat, and really immerse yourself in consumer data and take on problems through discovery and experimentation.

Host: And that is your rapid insight. That is a great quote, Jessica, if I would've asked people what they wanted, they would've said a faster horse. Great quote. So thank you for sharing that. So I'm very excited to talk with you about this. As we talk about this pivotal moment in healthcare, we have been hearing a lot about the digital front door and how you have to have that in order, especially during times like these, so why is it important that healthcare providers evolve their digital front door experiences to acquire and retain the right patients?

Jessica Friedeman: I think first we should probably define what a digital front door is cause I'm finding it's becoming more frequently utilized. And I think consequently, of course, it's taking on some variable meanings depending on who you talk to. And I think that's totally sign, but I think it's at least important to recognize that we're not just talking about an investment in a website. We know for instance,, half of Americans will come to to find a doctor this year 78% will look at multiple doctors. 36% are only looking at doctors that do telehealth. So we know consumers are searching, but it's not just local health systems websites that they're coming to first place or even finding the information they need. So really that digital front door is multifaceted. It's recognizing how systems have to meet consumers, where they are, how they want to engage, provide them with the data they need to make decisions and really acknowledge that the preferences and the journey of an individual will vary one patient or consumer to the next. So really going back to your question, why should you invest in a digital front door?

It's as simply said, is consumerism, consumer opinions matter, they drive the success of the industry. And I think what's really interesting about healthcare of course, is that, what do we call them? Is it consumers? Is it okay not to call them patients? In reality, we're really only patients 1% of the time. So I think actually the consumer mindset can be a really positive thing. It can push health systems to meet and exceed expectations, not just throughout, let's say a care journey, but also before and after that care episode as well, I will say though, of course, because we are only patients, 1% of the time other direct consumer brands have gotten to sort of set our expectations of a good experience. And obviously we don't have time to dig into that, but by and large, I think anyone in this audience would agree that healthcare isn't really keeping up with those expectations. I will close with sort of a silver lining there though. We need healthcare, right. We're passionate about it as consumers, we want engagement from our providers. We just have to make sure that health systems are doing that with a consumer perspective in mind and not just what's convenient to the healthcare provider.

Host: We need that silver lining. Jessica, thank you for that. Always needed and appreciate it. So when you talk about consumerism, we also hear the terms hyper targeted, personalized, intelligent engagement. Can you talk about those things and potentially share an example with us?

Jessica Friedeman: Yeah, absolutely. So, I mean, I could dive right into some of the data or the technology, examples that really sort of pull off that perfect experience. But as a marketer myself, I love storytelling. So I'd love to do that through the lens of introducing you to our favorite persona. And our persona is Neil in this case. So Neil could be you and me, right? It could be.

Host: I just want to say hi to Neil. Hello Neil. Okay.

Jessica Friedeman: For Neil though, is nursing an old college knee injury, right? So he's wiggling around late at night. He sees an ad pop up for Krasner health. He clicks on that ad and of course he's directed to the website, but the website gives him a really nice personalized experience based on that ad and he completes a health risk assessment. Now he takes those results from the health risk assessment. He meets with his primary care provider, who of course also practices at Krasner and his PCP gives them the thumbs up. Yes, go get that console. But I have a favorite surgeon that you should go meet with. So Neil hops online, he schedules an online appointment. Now of course, busy life, right? Neil's as busy as the rest of us. And he has to actually reschedule that preop appointment. But when he calls into the contact center, not only does the representative have information about the appointment that he books, easily reschedules, but there's also an alert that pops up and says, Hey, your daughter missed her latest well check appointment.

So, while she's gotten me on the phone, she also can send him referrals that meet his criteria in terms of location, insurance, etcetera. So, Neil surgery goes really smoothly, but especially in Presto, when a day later he receives proactive communication from Krasner. That's not really checking on his pain, but also has scheduled his next appointment and put them in the queue for rehab as well. So of course, Neil, his family, next time they need care, they're going to go to Krasner. And I think what's fun about this story is not how perfect it all sounds, but how we can all relate to where things can go totally ari. We call in for that appointment and we get transferred five times. We repeat ourselves every single time with our preferences. I say, follow up with text message and I get a direct mail piece, right? So that's the point what consumers are asking for in healthcare. It's not rocket science and it's more than just what's happening during the clinical experience. So we need to address needs. We need to address our patients, and our consumer challenges before, after, and in between care episodes.

Host: Yeah. That makes sense. And the story you laid out is a great illustration of how that all should work. And I'm also thinking that's a great tongue twister. Neil has a bad knee. Neil has a bad knee. So as you're describing this story, how can we then, how can hospitals and health systems better leverage data? Because as you said in the story, Oh, Neil found out that his, I think he said, daughter needs a well-check, how do we leverage this data and insights to accelerate intelligent engagement? Because that's what this sounds like from that story you told in today's highly competitive consumer driven landscape.

Jessica Friedeman: And that's why we use the word intelligent. I think that's needs to be differentiated than just purely patient engagement. It's all about the data, both patient intelligent, non-intelligent, whatever you want to call it. It's all data driven, but it's not enough just to be where someone's searching for a doctor is not enough to just find the people who need care. We need to leverage that data to make it a really personalized experience. We need to how they want to receive communications. We talked about direct mail versus text. There's email, there's calling someone. We need to understand the household. So when Neil does call into the contact center, we get that pop up around his daughter and we're able to address the total household needs. And then I think it's also about predicting and anticipating and again at a very personalized level. So the obvious reference point from outside the industry is Amazon. Netflix, how good are they at recommending products or TV or movies to us? Amazon knows that I need dog food. Even before I do right. Healthcare at one point thought this maybe was too pervasive, too progressive, but times have changed, right? Consumers are now in control. They're asking for partnership. And so, if consumers are saying, Hey, health system show me, you know, me, they need health systems and use data intelligently to engage. And of course in a conscientious and respectful way, but so that they can really guide the consumer to a personalized best next action for themselves and for their household.

Host: And Amazon probably knows that Neil needs a knee brace.

Jessica Friedeman: Exactly. Right. Yeah.

Host: So, you're talking about direct mail, email, text, even the frontline person on the phone. How do we unify and connect all of these technologies to centralize and automate the orchestration? Cause that's what you're talking about of the customer experience?

Jessica Friedeman: Yeah. So I think it's, first of all, start with developing your series of Neil stories, understand what we want that journey to look like. And then yes, there typically does require some level of investment for most health systems. It starts with centralizing the data. You've got to have that core and you've got to have flexible integrations between and among the sources of information to create that core source of truth that build off of layered on top of that it's analytics. So that can be very simple. It can be very simple in terms of some propensity modeling all the way up scaling all the way up to taking current data and making it really predictive around the future. And then I think the third element of that is investment in platforms of engagement. So being able to reach new audiences through new channels, breaking down some of those silos. And I think on top of the data and the technology, of course, people and strategy all has to be connected. So everyone has to be seeing off that same playbook. I always like the example of marketing kicking off a service line campaign.

What happens when the PCPs in that geographic area are referring out of network? That's going to completely counter the strategy. But if marketing is coordinating with the liaisons and the outreach team to get in front of those primary care providers, make sure those referrals stay in network. You really could actually strategically start swinging the market in a very efficient manner. And of course we talked about the contact center. So if the contact center is on all the same page, we'll make sure when those consumers call in for an appointment, we're referring them to the right in network providers. So really the digital front door, whatever we want to call it, a very important element is it's not just one system. It's not just one team. It's truly that integrated platform approach. So data analytics, software, all residing in this sort of interconnected ecosystem and then layered on top of that is the coordination across people and strategies. And of course that's so much easier when they're all using the same integrated underlying data analytics and software.

Host: Yeah, that is great. When that all works together to achieve a goal. So earlier you mentioned consumerism and we talked about hyper targeted, personalized, intelligent engagement. How should we pinpoint the right growth opportunities? I'm thinking of that hyper targeted word there. How do we pinpoint those growth opportunities? And the individual's then most likely to need care?

Jessica Friedeman: It all comes back to data. I'm very passionate about data. It's not just mastering one's own health system data, but it's being able to see outside the four walls. So beyond the immediate facility, the health system data, understanding that true market perspective, we've already talked a lot about investment. So let me caveat. It's not that health systems need to go out and buy massive amounts of national data. You know, Healthgrades alone has invested 30 years in putting together consumer, household claims, provider data, information sources. It's again, that benefit of experience, but also the, what did you not already know? When you're losing referrals from the network? Where are they going? Can we gauge investment? And whether it makes sense based off of true market supply and demand, not just within your own patient population or for instance, geographic areas that you don't even have your eye on right now, where are your competitors making inroads? And should you also be doing that? So I think that's one piece. I think the other piece of that is seeing beyond one audience. And again, we cited that example if I go out and promote a clinical area, but the providers in that geographic area are referring out of network. I'm essentially serving up leads on a silver platter to my competitor. So we need to be really important about thinking about the ramifications and the interconnectivity across the different audiences.

Host: Then let me ask you about this. How do we create the right systems of engagement to reduce overhead costs, which everyone is looking to do improve care coordination, which everyone is looking to do and make care more accessible. How do we weave that into this?

Jessica Friedeman: It's a perfect tie to the previous question. Health systems don't have unlimited budgets, as you said. So often we are focusing on what is the service line that drives profitable growth? What are the high value services? And so intelligent engagement is all about reducing that ineffective spam. So instead of sending a thousand direct mail pieces, we send 252 people that are really likely needing your service. So we might get as many patients through the door, but at a much lower spend and therefore a much higher ROI. It also requires that appreciation of supply and demand. So we talked about this before, if we don't understand those sort of demand that we can handle within our health system, then again, we need to look to establish strategic partnerships or else the strategies will essentially sail. And then I think also optimization putting a campaign out to market.

No campaign is perfect. And so an integral investment in real time performance metrics and dashboards that essentially respect a digital world where you can drop a keyword or adjust a call to action within minutes, if not seconds. And then I think finally it's the call center experience. So especially as it relates to care, coordination, making care more accessible, we know that phone calls convert 10 to 15 times better for instance, then web leads. Faster at a higher retention rate. And I'm not discounting web leads. It's very, very important, but again, it's that digital front door strategy that recognizes different channels of conversion. And I also think contact centers are going to be really important going forward in terms of providing that sort of human tie, that sort of hub among all the various care team members and all the technologies, the wearables, and otherwise that continue and more so will surround a patient.

Host: That frontline communication is so important. You mentioned the call center experience, and that is so true. I think that gets overlooked when we throw the word digital around actually the human on the phone actually has a really important role to play. And you had a quote in there. I love it. Intelligent engagement is all about reducing ineffective spend. That is so good. Everybody should tweet that out, tweet that out and give Jessica freedom and credit on that if you would, please. Okay. Thank you. Okay. Last question, Jessica, thank you so much for your time. So all of this is a big transformation. It's huge. So can you tell us, what have you seen work in how organizations begin to tackle this mind shift?

Jessica Friedeman: It is a big transformation, but I think health systems are already moving this direction. I think COVID has helped us accelerate a bit. And I also think that pacing is just fine. So respect the maturity of your own organization. There are important building blocks. We talked about infrastructure, data, analytics, engagement, layers, but you really don't need to tackle all of this at once. What you do need to do is respect that there is a sort of message to this first of all, timing. So if you build the proper infrastructure, if you have that core in place, it becomes much simpler to add on additional data sets or additional tools. And then I think the second is respecting the existing ecosystem of technology. So what has your organization already invested in and make sure you select tools and data and analytics that can easily plug into that healthcare world and more importantly, actually enhance it right, and provide additional value to it. And I think finally, just in closing, one thing we haven't really talked about is partnership. Just like I'm saying, don't jump in too fast, make sure you're supported and partnership can be everything from perspective strategy setting to much deeper hands on extension of your team, but there is an element of human resources that can help maximize the investment in any data and technology cause nothing fully replaces the human brain power.

Host: So true and a great point to wrap up on. So thank you for those three points. Number one, timing, number two, respecting the existing ecosystem of technology and then three partnership, because as you said, nothing replaces brain power. Jessica, this has really been informative and insightful. Thank you so much for your time. We appreciate it.

Jessica Friedeman: Thank you for having me.

Host: That is Jessica Friedeman of Healthgrades. And I want to let you know Healthgrades HG Mercury Platform is healthcare is a leading intelligent engagement platform that accelerates growth through smarter patient acquisition and retention in a highly competitive consumer driven marketplace. For more information, please visit And this has been the SHSMD Podcast, to learn more about SHSMD please visit That's S H S M And if you found this podcast helpful, please share it on all of your social channels and please hit the subscribe or follow button to get every episode. It's really important that you do that. And we would appreciate it. This has been a production of Dr Podcasting I'm Bill Klaproth. So ya!