navigating the evolution of healthcare marketing: insights from industry leaders

panel discussion at HCIC 2023

Technology will heavily influence the future of healthcare in ways we can’t yet imagine. So how do you balance solving for today’s needs with the innovative thinking required to anticipate tomorrow’s challenges? Jeremy Mathis, an Account Partner on our team, and a panel of our clients explored that question and more at this year’s Healthcare Internet Conference (HCIC) in Los Angeles, California.

Panelists included:

  • Paula Berberick, VP, Brand Marketing at Sharp HealthCare
  • Nick Cifuentes, Director Web Experiences at Stanford Health Care
  • Robin Ward, AVP, Customer Analytics and Marketing Technology at Penn Medicine

The conversation spanned a wide array of topics, from measuring marketing effectiveness to imagining how AI might shape how we engage with key audiences. Regulation and compliance were a theme throughout, and that’s no surprise: we’ve witnessed transformational shifts driven by the OCR bulletin addressing online tracking. This milestone has clearly reshaped how healthcare organizations gauge the effectiveness of their marketing efforts and prompted a reevaluation of digital experiences offered to current and prospective patients.

What follows is a recap of the conversation facilitated by Jeremy and featuring Paula, Nick, and Robin.

Adapting to Regulatory Changes

The Impact on Healthcare Providers

In contemplating the hurdles encountered by healthcare providers in effectively reaching particular audiences, Paula Berberick, highlighted the imperative of adapting to these changes. The utilization of online platforms for sharing essential health information necessitated adjustments to uphold compliance standards without sacrificing accessibility. The prioritization of compliance, under the guidance of legal and compliance experts, underscores a dedication to upholding credibility amid the intricate landscape of healthcare marketing.

Collaboration + Compliance in a Changing Landscape

Building a Digital Privacy Task Force

Robin Ward introduced the collaborative efforts underway at Penn Medicine. The establishment of a digital privacy task force, comprising communication and digital experts, highlights the commitment Penn Medicine’s taking to address ethical concerns in data collection beyond marketing. This partnership between marketing and privacy/security departments is crucial for ongoing success in healthcare marketing and something all systems can learn from.

Proactive Change in Data Tracking

Nick Cifuentes shed light on the proactive measures taken by Stanford Health Care to improve patient experience online. Acknowledging the inevitability of addressing challenges related to data tracking, his organization has invested in education, collaboration, and a structured approach to data management. The incorporation of a Customer Data Platform (CDP) demonstrates their commitment to enhancing campaign execution and data security.

Analytics + Measurement Challenges

Evolving Measurement Strategies

In the face of intensified demands for marketers to demonstrate a positive return on investment, Robin discussed Penn Medicine’s journey in evolving measurement strategies. The challenges with GA4 and the search for platforms with HIPAA compliance under a Business Associate Agreement (BAA) underscore the complexities of adapting to changing measurement approaches.

The Future State of Healthcare Marketing

Adapting Strategies in Response to Regulatory Changes

Jeremy asked the panelists about the future of healthcare marketing in the wake of regulatory changes. Robin provided insight into Penn Medicine’s enterprise-wide data collection initiative, emphasizing the transition to server-side tracking. The ongoing adjustments reflect a commitment to understanding and adapting to the evolving landscape of data privacy.

Looking Ahead to 2024

The panelists shared their perspectives on the future of healthcare marketing in 2024 and beyond. Paula anticipates testing, analytics, and resource allocation being areas of focus and maturation for healthcare marketers. She emphasized the potential role AI could play in streamlining the creative development process. Robin highlighted the need for industry and government clarity on permissible data collection and addressed concerns about Google’s approach to HIPAA compliance. Nick stressed the importance of forward-thinking partners, investment in privacy-by-design, and compliance to advance the industry.

Tips + Key Learnings

Balancing Short-Term Tactics with Long-Term Strategies

In their closing remarks, Paula emphasized the importance of balancing long-term brand-building strategies with short-term response tactics despite resource constraints. Robin stressed the connection between data, action, and the pathway to achieving goals. Nick highlighted a focus on frameworks, key performance indicators (KPIs), and investments in a robust Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system.

As the healthcare marketing landscape continues to evolve, these insights from industry leaders provide valuable perspectives on how industry leaders are navigating regulatory changes, fostering collaboration, and adapting strategies for future success. The challenges posed by the evolving digital landscape underscore the importance of a proactive and collaborative approach to ensure the continued delivery of impactful healthcare marketing.

Thank you to Jeremy and our three partners, Robin, Nick, and Paula, for their candor and expertise. If you’re interested in connecting with Jeremy or another expert at Fathom, let’s start a conversation.