Why Digital Marketing Has Become the Health-Care Industry’s Rx for Revenue

Published in: Ad Age

Could digital marketing help cure the health-care industry?

Before the recession, nonprofit hospitals were posting revenue growth of 7% or more, but that slid to 3.9% last year, the smallest increase during the 23 years Moody’s Investors Service has collected the data. Hospitals brought in an average of $11,299 in net revenue per adjusted patient admission in 2012, up 7.6% from $10,497 the previous year, according to the American Hospital Association. But admissions are falling as higher insurance rates prompt patients to seek more affordable care outside of hospitals and crimp the demand for elective procedures.

That’s left hospitals, clinicals and medical centers — which Kantar Media said spent about $1.8 billion on U.S. measured media last year — scrambling for ways to attract revenue-generating patients while also controlling spending.

Many are turning to search, mobile and social for cost-effective marketing that reaches the growing number of consumers who look online for health-care information. Paired with advice from referring physicians, the internet is helping patients make more informed hospital choices. “The consumer-to-patient journey is largely a digital journey at their moment of need,” said John Weston, CMO at Mayo Clinic. “If I were diagnosed with something tomorrow, one of the first things I would do is go online.”

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