If you are looking for ways to attract and retain patients at your practice, it is essential for you to keep women in mind when developing a marketing strategy. Women are not only the largest single group of healthcare consumers; they also are primary healthcare decision makers – for themselves as well as their families. What’s more, they are increasingly using the Internet and social media sites to educate themselves and to communicate with other women in their communities about healthcare issues. Facilities that can tap into this phenomenon have a huge advantage when it comes to influencing women to choose their particular practice.
Women the Largest Healthcare Consumers
Why is attracting women to your practice so important? First off, it is important to keep in mind that women, as healthcare consumers, wield an incredible amount of consumer power. They are, in fact, the largest consumers of healthcare and around 57% of all medical expenses in doctor’s offices last year were incurred by women of all ages. There are two main reasons why this should be so. The first reason is simple biology. Women, because of their childbearing and special reproductive health needs, simply tend to need more medical care than men.
The second reason is more sociological. The demographics of the workforce are changing and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the workforce in America is becoming both older and more largely female. Women often received medical insurance through their employers, and this increase of women in the workforce is giving women more access to regular healthcare services – including, of course, radiology services. Add in the women who receive health insurance through government programs like Medicare and Medicaid, and you will see that the numbers are astronomical – and the radiology clinic that can cater to women and meet their needs will have a huge advantage due to sheer numbers alone.
Women are the Primary Healthcare Decision-Makers – And Not Just for Themselves
Apart from being the largest consumers of healthcare in the United States, women are also the primary healthcare decision makers. As a matter of fact, according to the Department of Labor, women make an astounding 80% of healthcare decisions. These decisions do not just include healthcare decisions that they make for themselves – they also make them for their spouses, children and, increasingly, elderly parents who require more extensive healthcare as they age.
Another point to consider is increased access to the Internet. An article from Healthgrades notes that the medical education the Internet provides combined with websites where women can connect with others about healthcare matters, women are more educated about their choices and rights than ever. This choice has led them to set high standards for the quality of healthcare they receive. This means that a radiology practice – or indeed any healthcare practice – must be able to meet these standards if they wish to retain not only a female patient but her husband, children and aging parents.
How a Healthcare Practice Can Cater to Women
If you are wanting to attract women to your radiology practice – or indeed to any healthcare practice – you should keep these tips in mind that are outlined in Peoria Magazine in their article on Catering to Women as Healthcare Consumers:
• Tap into social media/ new technology. Women today rely heavily on social media to make healthcare decisions, and a radiology practice can use this to their advantage by having a social media, interactive site in place that can attract and retain women more easily. The Healthgrades site notes that one way to build this relationships is to offer extensive online patient educational resources that allows women to network with doctors and healthcare professionals as well as other women in the community. Healthgrades notes that this gives the facility a chance to display the expertise of their professional staff while developing an ongoing, complex dialog with the patient community.
• Rethink traditional marketing/ PR strategies. It has been found that rather than marketing a certain product – in this case, radiology services – to be sold women are more influenced by the idea of building a relationship with their healthcare providers. Peoria Magazine writes about the importance of marketing to women as healthcare consumers noting that strategies like branding, that appeals directly to women, can help to attract and retain consumers from this very important demographic.
• Make it accessible. In general women lead busy lives. A healthcare facility that can cater to this and increase the accessibility and ease with which women can utilize services, will have a strong advantage over competitors in the same field. Offering extended clinical hours and online services for women will help women to track their healthcare status, get test results or make/ change appointments.
• Just listen. One of the largest complaints that women have about healthcare professionals in general, is that their doctors “don’t get them”. Taking the time to listen and getting to know your female clients may seem time-consuming in the busy world of healthcare, but it can make a huge difference to women when it comes to choosing a practice – or choosing to return to it for further services in the future.
It may seem to you at the outset that attracting women to a radiology or other healthcare practice might require extra effort in regards to marketing strategies. However, your efforts can be well worth it, given the incredible influence that women have both has health care decision makers and consumers.
So, what are some of the ways you’re appealing to the female demographic and making healthcare more accessible for them?