2024 Hospital & Health System Marketing Trends

Explore the healthcare marketing trends that are redefining how hospitals should reach and engage patients in 2024.

2024 Hospital & Health System Marketing Trends

Hospital marketing in 2024 is a different beast than you may be used to. Tightening HIPAA regulations have affected every aspect of digital marketing in healthcare, from advertising, to reporting, to websites. Upticks in consumer disengagement and distrust have redefined what digital marketers need to do to reach and connect with patients. Healthcare groups can no longer rely on generic marketing that worked in previous years. The landscape has changed here in 2024, and requires a focus on connecting with patients and developing patient-centric content that engages them at every step of their journey.

Table of Contents

So, what are the important healthcare and hospital marketing trends for 2024? Here’s what you need to consider:


HIPAA’s Impact on Digital Marketing

The past three years have seen a flurry of activity with regard to HIPAA guideline updates. Here’s a super-brief timeline to catch you up:

September 2021 – FTC issues a policy statement that all health apps and connected devices must comply with the Health Breach Notification Rule. 

December 2022 – HHS Office for Civil Rights issues new Bulletin with new guidance on Personal Health Information and how it is shared with online tracking technologies:

Regulated entities are not permitted to use tracking technologies in a manner that would result in impermissible disclosures of PHI to tracking technology vendors or any other violations of the HIPAA Rules.”

February, March 2023 – FTC fines GoodRx, BetterHelp for HBNR violations. 

July 2023 – HHS and FTC issue a joint letter to 130 hospitals and health systems, emphasizing the risks to Personal Health Information from tracking technologies like Google Analytics. 

November 2023 – American Hospital Association files lawsuit challenging HHS guidance and the new regulations. 

2024 (You Are Here) – ???

It’s not clear exactly what will happen next. But we’ve seen the FTC go after healthcare groups of all shapes and sizes—not just the big players in the industry—which suggests that they are serious about enforcing these new stricter HIPAA regulations. While the AHA’s lawsuit may buy them a little time, the writing is very much on the wall with states also tightening privacy laws: HIPAA is here to stay, which means hospitals, digital marketers, and everyone else will all have to adapt – no matter how reluctant they are to update their technology.

With fines of up to $50,000 per violation in 2024, it’s clear that whether you’re a healthcare marketer or a hospital, you cannot ignore HIPAA guidelines. 

Develop a Strategy to Ensure HIPAA Compliance

After you’ve made your organization aware of the issue and assessed your risk of tracking technology violations, it’s time to strip all those non-compliant Meta and Google tracking pixels and build a roadmap towards a HIPAA-compliant future with appropriate martech: 

5 Components of a Data-Enabled Advertising Platform That Protects Patient Privacy

Quality Signals

Capture quality signals with AI-powered call trackers like Patient Prism and Liine that can report on booked appointments, or use platforms like Mixpanel to capture onsite activity and Nexhealth to capture booked appointment data.

Informed Algorithms

Customer Data Platforms transmit data back to your advertising platforms in a fully HIPAA-compliant way. CDP options include Tealium, Rudderstack, and Freshpaint, a healthcare privacy platform designed exclusively for healthcare needs.


Holistic reporting tracks all patient activity across locations, channels, and brands. ETL tools like Funnel.io automate the Extraction, Transformation, and Loading from various sources into a central data warehouse.

Queryable Reporting

Your gathered data needs to be fast and easy to query for flexible report creation based on stakeholder needs. ETL tools can direct data to platforms like Google BigQuery for data warehousing and Looker Studio for data visualization.


End-to-end measurement captures the complete patient journey, from initial engagement to healthcare outcomes and ROI. A good CDP can help facilitate that via integration with your current systems, but a comprehensive end-to-end solution is a little more complex and involves multiple pieces of martech. 

If you want a better sense of how to do that, here’s a more in-depth guide to How to Build a Full HIPAA-Compliant Martech Stack.


Omnichannel Full-funnel Advertising Strategy is a Must in HIPAA-regulated World

There are safe ways to leverage data and engage patients through advertising. Since you can no longer use the Meta or Google pixel to build advertising audiences, you must use a full-funnel strategy instead.

Rich Briddock, SVP of Strategy & Analytics at Cardinal, shares that,

 If you want to engage effectively with prospective patients and you can’t use first-party patient lists anymore, one way you can do that is through what we call a full-funnel strategy. Essentially, what that means is you would utilize broad targeted video campaigns at the top of the funnel. Just to let them know about your business and drive some awareness. You might use 15-second to 30-second video clips to just explain the business to those consumers.”  

From there, ad engagers move through the funnel toward conversion. 

Research from Google shows that taking a full-funnel approach is the best way to improve conversion rates:

healthcare marketing trends 2024
Source: https://marketingplatform.google.com/about/resources/rituals-boosts-sales-with-google-marketing-platform/

A comprehensive strategy for digital advertising aims to reduce the overall expense of generating leads at the bottom of the sales funnel. Based on our experience, presenting direct-response advertisements to individuals who have not previously engaged with your brand can inflate the cost per acquisition (CPA) by over 400 percent.

Healthcare consumers typically fall into one of three categories:

  1. Awareness
  2. Consideration
  3. Decision (ready to convert)

Implementing a full-funnel strategy allows you to maintain a broad reach with low ad-serving costs and selectively guide only qualified audiences toward your call-to-action (CTA) ads. This is achieved through the use of precise ad group structures that help you pinpoint the stage of the funnel a prospect is in. As a result, you can deliver a message that aligns with their current decision-making process stage. If a prospect engages with a specific ad, it serves as a signal regarding their position in the journey. Armed with this information, you can then present them with ads that are most likely to resonate with them.


Reaching Disengaged Healthcare Consumers

Disengaged population segments necessitate that marketers have a better understanding of consumers to improve marketing performance and impact. That’s especially important in healthcare, where there is growing disengagement amongst consumers. A recent report showed that consumer engagement in healthcare was down in most regions across the U.S. between 2022 and 2023, with numbers decreasing by as much as 19 percent in some areas.

One of the significant drivers in this disengagement comes from a growing lack of trust in providers. All of it adds up to make a big impact on retention, resulting in patient leakage.

No-shows and patient attrition are, in turn, adding up to significant losses in revenue. 

In 2024, healthcare providers must invest in retention and reactivation. To do that, you need to deepen your understanding of patient needs and motivations – and specifically, what is preventing them from getting care. These answers aren’t always easy to hear, but it’s important to stay objective and:

  • Recognize how patient populations may be shifting, and how your brand may need to adapt
  • Conduct research to measure patient perceptions of their care and treatment experience
  • Consider what kind of services patients want to receive, and what you’re offering
  • Identify any potential issues with your brand or patient experience that could drive disengagement

Once you understand what’s preventing them from getting care, you can adapt your marketing strategy with a two-pronged approach: 

1.) Patient Reactivation

Reclaim those disengaged patients by developing workflow automation to help them overcome those barriers and return to the doctor’s office. One great way to do that is by investing in a HIPAA-compliant patient engagement and reactivation solution like Brevium.

2.) New Advertising Campaigns

Reach out to patients with a full-funnel campaign that connects with users and breaks through their barriers. This involves catching them at multiple points along their journey. And remember that radical and unique creative is crucial for grabbing their attention.


Healthcare Consumers Demand Authenticity

As mentioned above, patients aren’t trusting providers these days. The growing use of AI is feeding fears that search results are unreliable. Patients are asking themselves:

  • How do I know this comes from a doctor?
  • Can I believe what I read online?

In this climate, authenticity and originality are key. Healthcare groups must prioritize their brand and their experts. Content can’t be generic or appear to be AI-generated. You must prioritize a unique POV that’s backed by research. Show the people behind your brand as the authors of content and as advocates of your brand. 

Here are some tips for getting that done:

Be Original

Being “original” in your content can mean exploring unique angles. Consider adding your unique take on content rather than regurgitating what already exists online. Of course, in healthcare, that doesn’t mean that you can just go with any notion. Any content you generate in the healthcare space needs to be vetted, accurate, and held to the highest standards. Never sacrifice quality in pursuit of originality.

Your healthcare practice or organization has its own unique approach, however. Use this opportunity to highlight the one-of-a-kind approach and patient experience that your healthcare institute brings to the table. What do your providers wish more patients knew? How can you address questions that often get ignored? Dig deep here to find out what patients want to know, what information gaps exist, and introduce your authoritative and original voice and answer into the mix.

Focus on Your Community & Patients

Like it or not, many prospective patients will view your hospital or healthcare organization with suspicion. Whether you are a multi-site organization with 100 locations or a single hospital, the default way that you will be viewed is usually as some sort of faceless corporate “Big Healthcare.” The best way to dispel that distrust is to connect on a human level; people demand authenticity and want to hear from people like them. 

Tell your patients’ stories

Go beyond the boilerplate testimonials and think about what makes a good story that will resonate with your audience. A good story has multiple characters, a plot, conflict, and resolution. A great story also has something unique to your patient experience. And ideally, you want to accomplish all of that concisely, because attention spans are limited.

Practice empathy

Try to think of everything from a patient’s perspective and imagine what concerns they might have. “Meet the Physician” videos will put a face and human story to the care patients will be receiving. Educational content can help answer lingering questions patients might have. Video facility tours can calm patients nervous about having a procedure or giving birth in a strange place.

Embrace video

Video isn’t just a great way to show authenticity and build trust; it’s also the bedrock of an effective full-funnel strategy. Videos can add a touch of personalization to any point in the funnel, from ads on Facebook, to personalizing pre-procedure emails. Imagine a patient nervous about a colonoscopy, who then gets an email with a video where the patient’s actual gastroenterologist gives an overview of the procedure, preparation, and answers frequently asked questions.

Best of all, the video you’ve created can often be repurposed and reused. General videos can build brand awareness on Facebook, Meet the Physician videos can bring life to an “About Me” page, Procedure overview and FAQ videos can go on Top of Funnel service and treatment webpages, etc.


Consumerization of Healthcare

In 2024 more than ever before, patients are consumers. Gone are the days when everyone who needed any sort of medical attention dutifully went to the big hospital in the nearest major city. Patients today have a wide variety of options, and they are increasingly very choosy in exercising those options, thus making marketing a crucial part of any hospital or practice’s operations.

How Did We Get Here

The short answer is: Technology.

The longer answer is: Patients have increasingly been looking for other healthcare options, and technology finally caught up to make that desire a reality. It’s not as if consumers were previously thrilled always to have to go to the big hospital in an inconvenient location. That’s just where the hospital was. But nobody likes adding a lengthy commute to an emergency room visit or a procedure they’re already not looking forward to. Patient frustration was always present and only grew as patients could not connect with their physicians to answer questions or concerns. However, they were pushed to call and make an appointment, which might involve waiting another month. But what could they do? The hospital was the only game in town.

Until it wasn’t. In 2024, everyone has a complete searchable healthcare directory in their pocket, courtesy of Internet-enabled smartphones and Google search to find locations near them. Sometimes, that location is mainly online, thanks to the rise of telehealth options that have become more prevalent since the start of the ongoing Covid pandemic. And now, that location may even be a local retailer.

Retailers Enter the Fray

When it comes to raw commercial real estate, no hospital can match the ubiquity of big national retailers like Walmart, Costco, and Best Buy. And some of these retailers are leaning into primary care services to capture customers who are already in their stores. Perhaps it was the next logical step after Walmart’s in-store pharmacies. For retailers like Walmart, it’s an easy way for their brand to provide convenience and drive further customer engagement.

There’s no question that retail healthcare will further disrupt the healthcare industry as consumers find themselves offered another choice – and one that’s as convenient as their local shopping center. 

How Consumerization Has Changed Healthcare In 2024

Patients Google Everything

They’re Googling your hospital, every practice in a 10-mile radius, online reviews of physicians, and any other information they can find. They’re also googling their symptoms, common complaints about procedures, and anything else you can imagine. Today’s patients do not calmly accept you as the all-knowing authority; they have done the research, and you need to earn their trust.

Healthcare is a Consumer Good

Healthcare is now like any other product or service that consumers can buy online – they want to do research, compare reviews, see locations near them, etc.  And just as mom-and-pop stores learned when Amazon became popular, this means loyalty is dead. If you can’t give consumers what they want when they want it, they will find a provider who can.

Patients are More Financially Cautious

Most patients today will search for which practices accept their insurance before choosing a provider. And many patients delayed elective treatments during economic downturns, such as the early days of the Covid pandemic.

Care has Moved Online

If there’s one truth about 2024, it’s that everyone is online. And many consumers prefer the convenience of doing as many things as possible online. That includes things like getting updates from their healthcare provider, messaging their physician, receiving virtual care, etc. Some consumers are finding an increased appreciation for telehealth options, but even those who don’t will still appreciate a patient portal or some other way to communicate with your office without having to schedule an appointment and show up

How Hospitals and Health Systems Can Respond To Consumerization

The obvious way to respond to increased consumer choice is generally twofold: Improving the quality of your product or service, and increasing your marketing efforts to ensure consumers are aware of the quality of your offerings.

But when it comes to healthcare, it’s no longer enough to provide good care in person. As mentioned above, consumers want everything online. Creating a better “digital front door” will both improve the value and perceived value of your offering by giving consumers what they want the most: a convenient way to do everything online.


Digital Transformation: The Digital Front Door and Beyond

It seems like ‘digital transformation’ has been the main topic of conversation for a while now in multiple industries—except for healthcare, that is. Let’s be honest; healthcare is an industry that has lagged behind in terms of digital advancements. Whether this stems from concerns around patient privacy or entrenched analog workflows, technological adoption in healthcare has historically been low compared to other sectors.

That’s changing now. 

Having a “digital front door” has become an absolute necessity for any hospital or health system. Consumers are used to paying their bills online, scheduling appointments online, ordering food online, and using apps to manage everything from their finances to their health. They have come to expect this level of convenience, and since they are now also comparing healthcare providers online, if you cannot provide that level of convenience, they will find a provider who can.

Patient-Centric Features of a Digital Front Door

Online Appointment Booking

Online booking via a website is one of the biggest ways to streamline operations. Patients love it, and your administrative staff will be free from the phones for the first time, allowing them to focus on more critical goals and tasks. According to the 2022 Kyrus patient access journey report, consumers continue to prefer online booking, with over 40% in favor of online booking options and one-third of patients citing it as a factor when considering which practitioner to choose.

Digital Appointment Reminders

Easily integrated with online appointment booking, this is helpful for patients and helps you to reduce no-shows


Patients not only appreciate the ability to reach out to their provider but are more likely to respond to a text message than to pick up a phone call as well. Healthcare consumers expect a smooth digital experience, which will continue in 2024. They are looking for transparent, proactive communication that helps them do what they need to do and do it quickly. 

Digital Check-in and Forms

Reduces waiting room time and creates a better experience for everyone involved.

Online Payments

Not only highly desired by patients but also less likely to get lost than a mailed bill.

Telehealth Options

Consumers who can’t easily drive to appointments especially appreciate the convenience, but hospitals may also appreciate telehealth as a method for triage of emergency patients.

Marketing Technology Behind the Digital Front Door

While the digital front door is the most visible part of a hospital’s digital transformation, another key component of the digital transformation is the technology that backs it up. Technology investments are being prioritized due to HIPAA concerns, giving marketers more tools with which to work. Technology adoption can also improve operational efficiency and the patient experience.  Here’s where we see the most investment:

  • Centralized CRMs: The more of the patient experience is moved online, the easier it is to get a holistic view of the customer journey with a centralized database.
  • Call tracking and Analytics: Gathering data from phone calls and integrating it with the rest of the CRM.
  • Patient Engagement and Automation: Using data and educational content to drive patient activation. (e.g. sending information on screenings to patients who reach relevant age milestones)
  • Review Generation Technology: As patients become consumers, reviews become more critical.

Why Hospitals and Health Systems Must Invest in Digital Transformation

Digital transformation isn’t just a hospital marketing trend; it’s a world trend. Consumers live their lives digitally now, whether they’re booking a flight or ordering take-out. And just as a consumer choosing between two restaurants might choose the one with online ordering, a consumer choosing between two healthcare providers will often prefer the one with a patient-centric digital front door. But that’s just one reason you should be investing in digital transformation. Other reasons include:

Communicating your value

Again, it’s not enough that your patient experience is better; patients need to see that it’s better. When they’re searching online to choose between providers, a good digital front door (including patient portals, apps, good UX, etc.) serves double duty by also providing you with a marketing advantage.

Streamlining new patient onboarding

Patient information and scheduling must all be entered into your system at some point. Why not let the patients enter that information for you while also gaining their appreciation?

Improving patient communication

The easiest and most reliable way to communicate with your patients is automatically. Having automated messages tied to various demographics or milestones along the patient journey assures that patients are receiving the relevant and useful information they need, from appointment reminders to post-procedure advice.

Educating patients

In addition to building trust in your brand, educating patients and making it easy for them to find the answers they need means that they won’t be calling your office with questions that could have easily been answered online.


Healthcare Marketers Embrace AI

We’ve talked a lot about the importance of digital transformation for hospitals and how HIPAA-compliant AI tools can help healthcare systems organize their patient data. But one of the newest hospital marketing trends in 2024 is that healthcare marketers are starting to use AI not just for gathering marketing data but in ad platforms for testing and even generating the ad content itself. Here are some of the key marketing AI innovations:

Automation Uses AI-Analytics to Optimize Ad Campaigns and Boost Open Rates

AI-powered data analysis has been a mainstay of healthcare marketing for years now, and the abilities of AI data analysis are only growing. AI is now capable of not only analyzing things like Return On Ad Spend for various campaigns, but can be used to automatically reallocate ad budgets on the fly to ensure that your ad budget is being spent where it will get the most return. Given enough data, some AI analytics can even use statistical modeling to offer predictions for various ad campaigns before you launch them.

And AI analytics can also predict customer behavior – and adjust to compensate accordingly. Marketers with a good set of data on customer demographics and email campaign open rates can feed those into AI-powered reporting tools, draw conclusions about what is effective for certain demographics, and automate the next round of emails to be more optimized with specifically targeted campaigns.

Facebook Offers AI-enhanced Features for Ad Creatives

While Facebook has used machine learning to analyze user behavior for many years, in late 2023 they finally released their first generative AI-powered features for ad creatives in Ads Manager. These features include:

  • Background Generation: Creates multiple backgrounds that complement your product images (Available only for Advantage+ catalog ads)
  • Image Expansion: Automatically adjusts your assets to fit different aspect ratios (Available in Advantage +creative)
  • Text Variations: Generates multiple new versions of your original ad copy (Available in Meta Ads Manager)

For any marketer who knows what it’s like to finally put together a great ad, only to then need hours more to source proper backgrounds, tweak text for various outlets, and resize everything 50 times to fit in various aspect ratios, these tools can save a lot of time and mental energy.

Personalized Ads Can Now Be Automated

Facebook is far from the only place using AI to tweak advertisements. New AI-powered creative tools can automate the production of multiple versions of an ad based on the guidelines you feed it. So whether you need to resize an ad or present your call to action with a less somber tone, GPT-driven technology can automatically adjust your ads for you. 

With AI analyzing user preferences, data can be gathered to automate recommendations for which ads will perform best with a certain demographic or even generate email subject lines tailored specifically to a certain audience. AI tools can leverage your data to automate targeted recommendations, freeing marketers to focus their work on the creative portion of the process rather than the endless minuscule adjustments.

Fully AI-Generated Ads Are Possible… But Not Recommended

Here in 2024, it seems like the powers of AI are boundless. With AI being able to generate text with ChatGPT, visuals with Midjourney, and now video with Sora, it’s easy to imagine creating advertisements entirely with AI and skipping the human element entirely.

That would be a mistake.

AI is absolutely a great time-saver for marketers, allowing them to automate A/B testing, resizing, background generation, etc. AI can even be used to generate ideas in a pinch. But for all its powers, AI cannot yet match human capabilities for ad production. Consumers have come to associate obvious AI-generated images with low quality, and text from ChatGPT often reads as awkward.

This is a perfect time for marketers to return to the fundamentals of effective advertising: Developing great ad creative and messaging. AI can certainly help improve efficiency, but good copywriting, graphic design, and video production are not as easily replaced.

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