We feel access is one of the most important aspects of care, and as such is critical to the patient experience. Access is not only about being easy to get to, but extends to aspects as varied as building design, digital strategy, and capacity. It so happens that access was the topic of one of the talks at SHSMD 2016. Last week we recapped our top takaways, but this week we wanted to take a deeper dive into what access really means.

"...at the end of the day (patients) are going to make choices based on their own needs, and you as a healthcare marketer have to understand those leads"

- Excerpt from Crux Points Podcast

A key point about access is that it centers around the patient. Access cannot be provider-centric, but instead must be oriented towards patients. In this line of thought, it must also be specific to individual patient groups. Not all millennials or stay-at-home moms approach healthcare the same way, so it is important to understand the drivers and motivators of patients.

One way we approach designing access for such varied populations is through persona development and audience segmentation. Through this type of research, we work towards understanding the specific attributes of groups of people within the population. With this data in hand, hospitals and healthcare organizations are able to adapt their marketing and communication efforts to reach these segments, as well as designing care to cater to their individual needs.

Technology also plays a big role in improving patient access. Telehealth and mobile health have already made big impacts on improving access to patients without the means or motivation to seek care in person. At the same time, transportation companies such as Uber and Lyft have begun partnering with hospitals to assist patients in getting to their appointments, improving compliance and outcomes.

One thing is for sure: access will continue playing an ever larger role in healthcare. Fueled by advancing technology and by new policy around meaningful use and value-based care, hospitals must cater to patient when considering access.

To learn more about access, as well as our other key takaways from SHSMD 2016, listen to our latest episode of Crux Points podcast. As always, we're happy to chat more about our approach and how we can help your organization. Get in touch at hello@castandhue.com or on Twitter @castandhue.

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