Podcast #81

Uncovering the Nuances of High Acuity and Low Acuity Healthcare Marketing

Join us on this episode of Ignite as our hosts, CEO, Alex Membrillo, and SVP of Healthcare Marketing, Lauren Leone discuss high acuity and low acuity marketing in the healthcare industry. Gain valuable insights into the patient journey, effective advertising techniques, compelling value propositions, optimal marketing channels, and targeted approaches towards healthcare professionals. You’ll also learn the latest geo-targeting regulations that are reshaping the landscape of healthcare marketing.

Episode Highlights:

Lauren Leone: “For low acuity verticals, you’ve got to think about demand capture. There’s demand that already exists. You’re talking SEO, paid search, site remarketing. You may be doing a little bit of social remarketing. Make sure your listings and reputation programs are really solid, content marketing.”

Related Resources

Announcer: Welcome to The Ignite Podcast, the only healthcare marketing podcast that digs into the digital strategies and tactics that help you accelerate growth. Each week, Cardinal’s experts explore innovative ways to build your digital presence and attract more patients. Buckle up for another episode of Ignite.

Alex Membrillo: What’s going on everybody? Hope you’ve enjoyed my crazy LinkedIn videos. We are rolling from May into June and this is exciting. We’re going to talk about something we actually haven’t talked about on any webinar, round table, or podcast yet, the difference between high acuity and low acuity marketing. High acuity, think cardiology, orthopedics, stuff like that, plastic surgery, low acuity, dental, vet, derm.

Lauren Leone: Urgent care.

Alex: Urgent care, all the fun ones, no offense to high acuity. This will be really interesting because we have a mix of both. Generally, we had a lot of low acuity clients, still do, but we’ve got a mix now, so I think we can speak from experience. Oh, we’ve got Lauren. That’s the better voice you just heard. Lauren, what’s up?

Lauren: Hello? I’m sitting on this side today [crosstalk]

Alex: Yes, you are. I would prefer to do my left side next to Emily and Carly. Carl’s famous on this now. She got called out on a roundtable. I haven’t looked at the camera yet, so let’s start doing that, because I look purple. All right. Generally, Lauren, for those who are not yet aware, what is the difference in the patient journey from one to the other?

Lauren: I think a really popular buzzword right now is retail healthcare. You think of your low acuity as essentially the verticals or the healthcare decisions that a consumer is making that are like buying a pair of shoes. I’m going to do some quick research. I have a immediate need. My consideration is relatively low because what I’m getting out of it is not a complex medical decision. I may make my decision in 1, 2, 3 touches versus a lengthy research process. That would be low acuity.

The best version of that I mentioned is urgent care. I have an acute need, I need to find a solution right now. I’m going to sit down and in this single session, I’m going to pick someone and go.

Alex: Yes, high acuity. What’s the difference?

Lauren: Yes, high acuity. Myself, I tore my rotator cuff. I want to pick the best surgeon. I want to know what types of surgery are available to me. What type of devices do they use? What’s the reputation? Who is best for what I need in my lifestyle? Is it sport? What do I need as my outcome? You’re doing all of this research to really understand what does the recovery look like afterwards? Something where the decision is a lot more involved.

Alex: You may not know the kind of physician or provider of surgery that you need. You were mentioning the conditions. My shoulder hurts, this guy ran into me at soccer. I was actually there. I didn’t help you off the field. I still regret that, nor took you to the hospital, but we got it taken care of. You’re doing research, is that a way to advertise and say low acuity urgent care? I know I need urgent care, urgent care near me. Is this different, how you’d go about advertising this?

Lauren: Yes, exactly what you just said. If you were in a healthcare vertical where your patient is going to do a lot of research, they’re going to research their symptoms, they’re going to then maybe research a couple conditions, they’re going to be looking at types of outcomes. All of that is contextually relevant. Those are opportunities where they’re consuming content and you can be present in that journey by providing them answers to their questions. That’d be things like the people also asks [unintelligible 00:03:30] or longer tail organic search, or you can buy contextual display on sites where those terms, those conditions and symptoms are being mentioned.

Alex: The contextual display advertising, that violates none of the new FTC-HSS, none of that kind of stuff, right?

Lauren: As of right now, it does not. You’re not advertising to them. A violation of that would be something like the ad being– I’m trying to think of something a little bit more sensitive. Mental health, the ad being very specific to if they’re researching depression, then you’re following them everywhere with like, “You’re depressed, come see me.”

Alex: You’re implying [crosstalk]

Lauren: It’s a brand play. You can be there, but what you can say is still very much a gray area that you need to be buttoned up on.

Alex: I got it. It violates nothing at least currently. It’s safe there in Google. Is that the main way we use [unintelligible 00:04:22] Those things can do it too or contextual best done by Google because they have the biggest website network.

Lauren: There are so many networks out there now. I usually recommend more based on the audience and who you’re trying to reach, and then looking at where am I going to best find that individual?

Alex: Who’s got the best websites for this [crosstalk]

Lauren: Who’s got the best targeting capabilities, whether it be contextually, do they have access to that type of inventory? There is inventory contextually, like cancer is a really good example, where a lot of the networks contextually don’t allow you to target that. There are areas that are off limits, but if you’re looking at something like a pain or a general condition, look across the different DSPs and see what makes the most sense, what has the best tracking capabilities and reporting, are there networks that also have [unintelligible 00:05:12] services? What is it that you need? Just select based on that.

Alex: It feels like brand is way important in these higher acuity service lines than, let’s say, dental or urgent care. Is that a play? Do you have to expect going into this, I want to find patients for this orthopedic surgeon, I’m going to have to spend more on brand advertising in a variety of different ways? If so, what are the things outside of displays, the HCP targeting, et cetera, but brand, important, more important?

Lauren: I shouldn’t say it’s more important. I think it’s just that there’s enough volume at the bottom of the funnel in the retail healthcare to potentially still get what you need out of it, to get the volume to be present when people are searching. In the high acuity, the reason why the brand, and more so the consideration section of the funnel is important, is because there isn’t this massive volume of people just searching cardiologists near me, clicking, making a decision, and just going through with it.

They’ve usually done all of that research and they’re going to have a brand recall throughout it. It’s being present. They want someone who’s in it to educate them as a thought leader. That’s where the brand piece comes in. It’s not brand for brand play. I’m not talking just brand reach and frequency for the sake of doing it. We’re talking about still very targeted around what the user needs to know in the research.

Alex: Okay, got you. Let’s talk about what the user needs to know. Are the value propositions that we’re putting on landing pages ad for these high acuity surgery type groups different? What are the value props? Low acuity is access to care. You can get into urgent care right now. I imagine it’s different for an orthopedic surgeon, what you’re [crosstalk]

Lauren: Yes, urgent care, dental, one of the big things, you’ve got proximity payer, a lot of the– reputation is still part of it, but you’re looking at someone convenient, on my way home from work, it’s not going to be a big burden to me to get there. I have to go there every six months. In something like a surgery, you’re considering who is the best person. I may drive an hour to go to the best option. I want the person who has the best reputation.

I want to know their outcomes. I want to know how long they’ve been doing this. I want to know, do they have an ASC, do they have physical therapy as part of their practice? I want to know the full picture of, do they have what I need?

Alex: That’s interesting, the continuum of care. Am I going to a hospital setting going to be more expensive for me insurance or we go in a surgery center, and then do they have PT. That’s important. I chose my orthopedic surgeon because there was a PT group in the same thing, and they would talk to the doctor, “I didn’t go to something that was even closer actually.”

The whole continuum must be addressed. You’re talking about that. Do we ever address technology? Does that matter? Is everybody a MOH surgeon in dermatology? [unintelligible 00:07:48] like for like or do you find that some of the higher acuity providers actually have some differentiators?

Lauren: There’s definitely differentiators. The providers themselves and the reputation are also a much bigger deal in those areas. You pick your dentist. I’m not saying everyone does it this way, but I’m usually looking for appointment availability. I want the 8:00 AM time slot on Friday morning so I can get it done before work. It’s not like the dentist and their 25 years in business, that is the main draw for me, but certainly, that is what’s going to draw me to a MOH surgeon, to someone who’s going to be really affecting your health in a significant way.

Alex: Top channels, low acuity. What’s your favorite thing? You’ve got a group coming online with Cardinal. What would you tell them? You’re going to focus on these things first and then next, and then we’ll talk about same thing for high acuity and wrap up, because that’s where everybody’s head goes. What marketing channels should I be focused on?

Lauren: Low acuity, you’ve got to think about demand capture. There’s demand that already exists. You’re talking SEO, paid search, site remarketing. You may be doing a little bit of social remarketing. Make sure your listings and reputation programs are really solid, content marketing. That’s going to be the foundation of it. On both of these sides, tracking, of course. In the low acuity, where I still recommend moving up the funnel, is in a new market, a de novo, an acquisition with a brand name change.

You still need to go into those markets and say, “We are here. We provide this service. We’re taking appointments. Come see us.” Does that need to be like 80% of your budget forever? Probably not. You’re going to get on a cadence where you have a ton of retention in your current patient base, and maybe new patient is just replacing some of the turnover. There’s enough demand in search, SEO, organic and paid, that you can get what you need out of it.

In the high acuity space, you’re looking at needing to be present further up the funnel. We’re talking about maybe longer tail keyword optimization, both organically and paid. Symptom based, condition based keywords. Not expecting that person to click through and convert at a 7% to 10% rate, but to bring them to an experience to just educate them, potentially capture an email or a phone, not schedule with me right now. Then you’ve got your contextual display. You probably want to do some video. You mentioned HCP targeting, which I think we can talk [crosstalk]

Alex: Yes, I was talking about any clever ways there. Urgent care doesn’t need it, but a cardiologist or orthopedic surgeon do. How do you do it?

Lauren: In HCP targeting, you’re looking at who is referring, who is owning the health of this individual, who is helping them identify if they have an issue, what conditions to go home and research. Hey, I really think you should get an MRI. You may need to repair that shoulder, you may need to do something more on your knee than just physical therapy. Start looking into it. In those cases, we can use NPI numbers to match to device IDs and get in front of healthcare providers as well.

This is not a replacement for field teams relationships and sales reps to be out in the field knocking on doors. This is one of those door openers. When you do go knock, you do drop off a gift basket, you do pick up the phone and call the providers that they say, “That’s a great company. I know of them. I saw their video online. I know that they’re reputable. I saw that that doctor has 4.8 stars on Google.” There’s a recognition there and therefore a willingness to take the call, to take the meeting, to give the referral.

Alex: Yes. You’re hoping when your field team reaches out, they remember you from all the ads you’ve been serving in. Do you need a big practice with tons of locations for that? I imagine you need some scale.

Lauren: Yes. You’ve got to have enough inventory to serve. If you’re trying to reach-

Alex: Two locations and [crosstalk]

Lauren: -primary care providers in a 5 mile radius, and it’s this super small thing, you’re probably going to end up finding that when you do the NPI match. Then match those to IDs. You have fallout at each of these things. There’s just not enough inventory to serve. You’re looking at something more like multi-location businesses. We’ve got a plastic surgery client and they’re specialists in what they do, people travel in from all over the country. Why not let all of the healthcare providers that could refer to you across the country know about you so that they can send their patients.

Alex: All right, Ed, we’re pitching you. It’s coming on next. I like it. There was a recent ruling in New York with some of this HCP targeting, you cannot target a hospital with any kind of geotargeting. It’s not HCP. That’s a geotargeting thing, right?

Lauren: That’s not healthcare providers. What changed is certain states are saying that where a person goes, so if I physically walk into a medical building and then I leave that building and you use my presence there to target me, you are violating HIPAA because you are using the fact that you know that I’ve been to a certain facility and therefore potentially have a certain condition, that becomes PII, my physical whereabouts. There is some gray space and that area is evolving and it’s likely that that could expand into other states. This concept of people use the word geofencing or geoframing of healthcare facilities that are not your own. You can always do it too.

Alex: Yes. It’s for conquesting too. “Hey, you left a dermatology.” Check it out. I think that’s in New York, so I won’t say anything political about New York and the constraints they have on everything, but that’s happening there. Keep an eye on that. You’re not going to be able to geotarget people leaving provider groups. That’s another cool thing that these display advertising, these DSPs can do that maybe they can’t do anymore.

All right, well you got a little news tip there. We’re bringing you tips. That was fun. We haven’t done high acuity, low acuity. If you want to reach out, find Lauren. She’s the smarter one on LinkedIn. Find her. Most people do. They bypass me anyway. Thanks for joining, Lauren. See you later.

Lauren: See you guys.

Announcer: Thanks for listening to this episode of Ignite. Interested in keeping up with the latest trends in healthcare marketing? Subscribe to our podcast and leave a rating and review. For more healthcare marketing tips, visit our [email protected].

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