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Healthcare CMOs face these challenges. What do you do about them?

The work of healthcare CMOs has never been more complicated. Rapid changes have rocked the entire industry. Ever-shifting regulatory mandates, high standards from web-savvy consumers, and a nationwide push toward value-based care all present an array of challenges for healthcare organizations.

And amidst all this, it falls to the CMO to find new ways to build up a brand and engage patients. It’s no simple task.

So we decided to interview 11 CMOs at major hospitals. We wanted to see how they’re approaching their work. They consistently reported five major challenges, and posed some unique ways to approach them.

You can find all five challenges in this thought leadership article. Have a look if you want to explore these issues in depth. This blog post will examine two of the five most important obstacles that CMOs face.

First challenge: becoming value-based organizations

Transitioning to value-based care has become one of healthcare’s most complex problems. Organizations often struggle with leaving the fee-for-service model behind, because value-based reimbursement demands substantial investments of time and energy.

But the benefits have become too compelling to ignore. Hospitals that successfully make this shift see improved patient outcomes and lower costs, and can offer more patients access to care. That explains why 50% of US hospitals have moved toward value-based care as of 2016.

The CMO plays an important part in this transition—they need to show patients the benefits of value-based reimbursement, and they need to listen to patients in order to find ways to add value to their care experience.

As Bill Miller, Director of Strategic Marketing and Intelligence at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, put it, “The more we research it, the more we realize that the next generation of consumers has a very different set of expectations within the healthcare environment and those expectations are not driven solely by pure medical expertise. It’s driven by the whole experience: the convenience, the bedside manner, everything delivered on their terms.”

This is especially true now, as patients have brought a consumerist mindset to healthcare. Because they’re responsible for a substantial portion of healthcare costs, they take the time to carefully evaluate options before making a choice. They do the bulk of this research online. And that means healthcare organizations should carefully curate their websites.

Healthcare CMOs should ensure that their organization’s websites have accessible, transparent information. They should also guide their organizations to embrace the patient-consumerist mindset.

Second challenge: understanding the modern healthcare consumer

What else do patients expect from their providers? A survey from Deloitte shows that patients want a highly personalized experience of care. They want clinical staff to hear and understand them, and to give them clear instructions.

Many organizations strive to offer that experience. To do that, they need to understand their customers. So they’ve increased their research budgets, created dedicated marketing-intelligence teams, hired data-analytics professionals, and turned to market feedback on consumer preferences and expectations.

Parsing data will enhance understanding, but it’s also important to hear from the patients directly. That’s why collecting real-time patient-experience data has become a priority for many CMOs.

By gathering feedback immediately after a care event, organizations gain insight into why patients were—or weren’t—happy with their experience. The data collected within 72 hours of an encounter reveals root problems with care processes, and gives organizations the opportunity to respond before issues escalate.

The CMOs we spoke to were quick to recognize the opportunity implied in real-time feedback. They saw new ways to incorporate recent and relevant patient experiences into their branding efforts, such as reaching out on social-media, using patient stories in marketing campaigns, and incorporating patient feedback into organizations’ websites.

Our own surveys confirm how much patients rely on feedback to make healthcare decisions. A full 32.51% of consumers report that patient ratings and reviews of doctors are the most important information on a hospital website.


The consensus reached by the surveyed CMOs: a real-time feedback mechanism can be a powerful marketing tool—as long as you make that feedback transparent for patients.

Ready for more insights?

The two points above are a small sample of what we learned from our CMO surveys. In the thought leadership article we produced on the subject, we explore three other challenges that CMOs face every day. The article offers some other ideas on how to leverage patient experience in marketing, how CMOs can help their organizations embrace transparency, how to build patient loyalty through better relationships, and more.

If these sound like valuable insights to you, please see our thought leadership article to learn more.

And if you’d like more statistical healthcare data, please explore our resources.

Thank you for reading.