Considering the New Healthcare Customer, the Family Caregiver

 Considering the New Healthcare Customer, the Family Caregiver  Considering the New Healthcare Customer, the Family Caregiver

If you work in the healthcare industry, you are familiar with the increased focus on “patient-centered care.” In a constantly evolving industry, healthcare communications professionals are under constant pressure to meet consumer demands, as well as attract new customers. New changes and research suggests however, that by placing too much emphasis on messaging targeting only the current patient needs, marketers are potentially missing out on significant revenue.

According to an Ad Age Insights report, not only should messaging connect with the patient, there should also be attention paid to the caregiver, specifically Gen Xers and Baby Boomers who are influencing health-care decisions for their aging parents and, ultimately, are becoming more concerned and active about their own healthcare situation.

This is a challenge for marketers as we are talking about two different things here, first how to engage this group to make the right health care decision as the caregiver, and secondly how to involve them when thinking about their own healthcare future.

First off, it’s important for marketers to craft messages that consider the needs of patients as well as the caregivers who influence health-care decisions.

Caregiving can often take a toll on a family’s finances as well as an individual’s personal health as they neglect their own needs in order to tend to their aging parent’s requests.  The nonprofit Ad Council and AARP took this into consideration when they distributed a series of public service announcements that raised awareness of the impact of family caregiving as the nation rapidly grays – and to help overwhelmed individuals toward resources that may ease the strain.  (Shown below)

According to a 2009 estimate, more than 42 million Americans perform some sort of consistent care for older or impaired adult relatives or friends. Therefore, it is fair to assume that healthcare entities could benefit by altering the value of this message to reach this group.  The nature of the message, how it’s communicated, and the action that may follow should transform as the health care industry revolutionizes to cater to the demands of this growing population.

A key message in healthcare campaigns should have a focus on providing the caregiver with resources, but moreover, and most importantly, remind them not to neglect their own needs. By creating this two-tiered approach marketers can reach this audience first to accommodate their parents’ needs, but then follow-up to make them start thinking about their own ever increasing healthcare concerns.

Furthermore, we most often see ads that discuss the quality and effectiveness of care, but to this group, healthcare costs are a major factor. An AARP report found family members provide a staggering $ 450 billion worth of unpaid care annually, and giving the consumers the opportunity to “comparison shop” would prove beneficial to these money-conscious younger customers.

We know there are many factors to be taken into consideration when crafting healthcare campaigns, but it is worth noting trends and challenges the everyday consumer is facing when considering their healthcare options.  Creating options that assist not only their needs, but also their obligations as caregivers can help build loyalty, trust and a long-term partner.

 Considering the New Healthcare Customer, the Family Caregiver

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