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Marketing innovator spotlight: Devin Hill, Baylor Scott & White Health

As anyone in healthcare can attest, keeping up with the times can be a full time job. At NRC Health, we believe that staying ahead of the curve means actively listening to our customers, our market, and our partners. In the spirit of “none of us is smarter than all of us,” we embarked on a market research project of our own, interviewing marketing innovators from more than 15 partner organizations.

As a preview of the exciting results to come, I want to share an excerpt from my conversation with Devin Hill, Director of Market Research at Baylor Scott & White Health.

AB: To start, why did you choose a career in healthcare and why do you stay in healthcare?
DH: Oh wow, okay this goes all the way back to me being in my first day of grad school and being asked the question: what do you want to do when you finish? At the time, I played sports and I said well… it’s either going to be something sports related or health related because those two things are always going to be there. I ended up in healthcare because I received a phone call from the VHA one day while I was over at my parents’ house offering a $5/hour internship and I took and it. I stay because I love what I do. We’re all working to make people better. I always say that if every healthcare company lived this mission fully, we’d all be out of business. So in a way, my job is to close us down. We’ll see if that ever happens.

AB: This is a two part question: first, what is your philosophy on or definition of consumer loyalty in healthcare? And would you say that loyalty in healthcare is different from other industries?
DH: I’m going to start with the second part first and say yes, consumer loyalty in healthcare is different. You don’t impulse-buy healthcare. You don’t drive down the street and say hey, I’m going to have a triple bypass today, I’ll stop in over there. It’s different in that people can be loyal to us, Baylor Scott & White Health, without being loyal to any one facility. If my employer changes insurance, I’m going to be looking to see if they have Baylor Scott & White physicians in the new network. They’re going to be looking for the brand, but not necessarily a specific doctor. It doesn’t have to be Doctor Devin Hill every time. Doctor Devin Hill would love for that to be the case, but we know that’s not how consumers make decisions these days. The idea of consumer loyalty is changing because our consumers are not necessarily making individual decisions anymore due to the development of ACOs and narrow networks. The decision starts with the employer who has to say “Yes, I want to be a part of that network”. If we’re not a part of that group, then the conversation ends right there.

AB: Right, it does. The “consumer” or buyer you’re targeting really changes when you’re working within the confines of an ACO.
DH: Yes, which means we have to go to payers and employers to make sure we’re a part of the conversation. I tell our team, consumers these days have options, not choices, and we need to make sure we’re an option.

AB: As the healthcare industry continues down the path towards consumerism, how do you see the relationship between marketing & patient experience evolving—or do you see it evolving?
DH: We work fairly close with our Patient Experience team today and the interactions/relationship continues to grow, but we’re on our way. One thing we are known for in our market is our patient testimonial campaign… we really own that type of campaign in this area. If you come to our markets and see someone on TV talking about their healthcare experience, it’s going to be a Baylor Scott & White Health ad. We do a good job with those and patient experience has been key, because you have to have patients who want to speak. We’ve been lucky—it’s hard to find a topic where there isn’t a patient who wants to come out and talk about their experience with us. It goes both ways—our social media team helps out patient satisfaction by watching everything patients are saying about us online, so we can react promptly. If someone is posting something negative about their experience while sitting in one of our locations we can have someone address it quickly. That prompt response builds patient advocacy.

Thanks goes out to Devin and the rest of our marketing leaders for sharing their perspective and lending their expertise to this project!

Need More?
Stay tuned for NRC’s forthcoming research brief on 2016/17 healthcare marketing trends, challenges, and vision.

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