- Digital technology plays a pivotal role in building trust in the healthcare business.
There are a ton of things that you have to keep in mind when starting any business. The healthcare sector can be even more challenging for a variety of reasons, since you have to deal with more regulatory red tape (such as HIPAA), evolving trends and a growing number of people that have frustrations over healthcare inflation.
One of the biggest challenges that you need to deal with when running a healthcare business is the need to grow trust. You need to know how to leverage digital technology to effectively grow your healthcare business and ensure your customers feel trust. The growing benefits of using digital technology to build trust is one of the reasons the global healthcare business is projected to be worth over $780 billion by 2028.
Starting a Healthcare Business Requires Building Trust
When running a successful healthcare business, establishing and maintaining trust is the currency that fuels everything. It’s the foundation of patient loyalty, the bedrock of brand reputation, and the key to unlocking positive outcomes. But in the digital age, where information zips around at the speed of light and privacy concerns loom large, building trust can feel like navigating a minefield.
The inherent distrust in healthcare—stemming from complex procedures and information asymmetry—gets amplified online by the rapid spread of misinformation and concerns about data security.
So, how do you, as an entrepreneur, business owner, or senior professional, navigate this landscape to ensure the success of your healthcare brand?
This article will help you with it as we explore the pillars of trustworthiness in healthcare branding. You’ll also learn some simple but effective strategies for building and maintaining brand trust.
The Pillars of Trustworthiness in Healthcare Branding
In a world saturated with information and plagued by uncertainty, patients crave healthcare providers they can truly believe in. So, how do you, as a healthcare brand, cultivate this precious commodity in the digital age?
The answer lies in building a foundation of trustworthiness, forged from the cornerstones of:
- Transparency and authenticity: Healthcare brands must be transparent in their operations, policies, and outcomes. This transparency builds trust and fosters credibility.
Authentic communication, devoid of marketing jargon and false promises, is key to forging genuine connections with consumers.
- Expertise and credibility: Demonstrating expertise, qualifications, and certifications is crucial in the healthcare sector. Displaying credentials, showcasing industry affiliations, and highlighting experience solidifies a brand’s credibility, reassuring consumers about the brand’s competence.
- User-centric approach: Prioritizing the user experience and offering personalized content tailored to individual needs is paramount. User-centric strategies that focus on addressing consumer pain points and providing solutions elevate trust levels significantly.
4 Simple Strategies for Building Brand Trust
Trust is something that has been lacking in healthcare. Deloitte wrote an article a couple of years ago on this topic, which is something your healthcare business needs to take to heart.
Building trust isn’t a passive endeavor. It requires actively bridging the gap between perception and reality. Implement the following strategies to convert your patients into your loyal advocates:
- Be Transparent & Embrace Open Communication
Imagine walking into a doctor’s office with no idea what to expect. That’s how patients feel when healthcare brands shroud themselves in secrecy.
To overcome this, embrace transparency across all channels.
Use clear, simple language in your website content, explain medical procedures in understandable terms, and be upfront about policies and costs. This doesn’t mean divulging everything, but it does mean treating patients like partners, not just subjects.
Patients want healthcare providers who are open and transparent in their communication. This means actively listening to patient concerns on social media, responding to online reviews, and engaging in an open dialogue about challenges and successes.
You can also refer to the RAND researchers’ study on price and quality transparency in healthcare markets. According to this research, consumers often lack information on the actual prices of healthcare services, and price and quality transparency are being pursued by the federal and state governments.
One such example is the recent Tepezza lawsuit, alleging hearing loss side effects. This lawsuit could’ve been avoided had the company been upfront about its potential risks and side effects.
Tepezza, a medication used to treat thyroid eye disease, is now facing legal disputes related to potential hearing loss risks. This lawsuit emphasizes the need for healthcare brands to be upfront about potential side effects and openly communicate with patients regarding any concerns.
As TorHoerman Law puts it, ‘Always stay true to the people.’ By prioritizing open communication and actively engaging with patients, healthcare brands can build trust and navigate such situations effectively, earning the loyalty that comes with acting ethically and transparently.
- Prioritize Patient Privacy and Data Security
In the digital age, data is healthcare’s most valuable asset and also its biggest liability.
The HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) data breach portal documented about 295 breaches in the first half of 2023, involving around 39 million individuals. This represents a significant increase from the previous year, when an average of 1.94 healthcare data breaches involving 500 or more records were reported each day in 2022.
So, patients are within their rights to be concerned about who has access to their medical information and how it’s used. To ease such patient concerns, focus on robust data security measures, and implement clear opt-in and opt-out options for data sharing.
Ensure you’re following industry rules and regulations like HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), as it helps keep patient info safe. Moreover, it also shows the brand cares about doing things right, thus boosting customers’ trust in the brand.
Remember, trust is built on a foundation of security, so treat your patients’ data like the precious treasure it is.
- Leverage Expert Testimonials and Reviews
Highlighting validation from medical key opinion leaders (KOLs) and community physician testimonials goes a long way in influencing healthcare consumers.
Especially when the latest innovations lack long track records, patients rely heavily on respected expert perspectives before trying them out.
Curating video testimonials and written reviews from doctors who actively prescribe your treatments – only after substantiating positive experiences – provides authentic reassurance. Encourage patients to leave reviews on platforms like Google, Yelp, and relevant healthcare directories. Respond to all reviews, thank patients for their feedback, and address any significant concerns.
Being transparent about maintaining an existing relationship with reviewers fortifies credibility. Patient cynicism grows when promised outcomes seem too good to be true without balanced professional corroboration.
Remember: Authenticity is key. Don’t manufacture or manipulate testimonials. Let your genuine commitment to patient care and positive outcomes shine through.
- Focus On Patient-Centric Content & Engagement
Forget generic marketing campaigns; healthcare brands need to connect with patients on a personal level.
Create content that addresses their immediate concerns and pain points. Offer practical health tips, educational resources on common conditions, and personalized support through interactive features and online communities. This isn’t just about information; it’s about building relationships and fostering genuine connections.
A 2022 study by the Pew Research Center revealed that 50% of 18- to 29-year-old adults trust information from social media sites. This highlights the importance and power of user-generated content (UGC) in healthcare.
Encourage patients to share their positive experiences through reviews, testimonials, and social media posts. But don’t ignore negative feedback. Address it head-on, learn from it, and demonstrate how you’re working to improve.
To sum it up, building trust in the digital age isn’t just about checking boxes. It’s about cultivating authentic connections with your patients.
By embracing transparency, focusing on patient-centric content and patient privacy, and leveraging expert testimonials and customer reviews, you’ll earn the patients’ trust and unlock a wealth of benefits. Loyal patients become your brand advocates; positive online reviews attract new patients; and trust translates to better patient outcomes.
Never forget that, in healthcare, trust isn’t a luxury; it’s a necessity. And in the digital age, where patients have more choices than ever before, building trust is the key to not just surviving but thriving.
Remember, trust is the bridge that connects healthcare brands to the hearts and minds of their patients. So, invest in building that bridge and watch your brand flourish in the digital age.