Consumerism will continue to gain momentum in healthcare. It has never been more important to understand and research the unique needs of consumers (like our nontraditional, clinical competitors do). Likewise, it has never been more important to conduct primary market research and drive decisions to expand or maintain market share based on data specific to your hospital’s position in the marketplace, not the industry, in general.
Joseph Ridgway, President at Bruno and Ridgway Research Associates, Inc., reminds us that, “In the age of consumerism, we want to let consumer insights drive decision-making while creating unity between data and internal objectives. We call this strategic process, ‘The Consumer Solution.'”
Most healthcare strategists understand the importance of understanding the wants and needs of consumers. However, we know that hospitals and healthcare systems often suffer from budgetary constraints that limit their capacity to incorporate market research into their strategies. These healthcare teams may not have the resources to conduct full-blown research, but it is still critical for them to invest in understanding the consumer. Here is how we help them do it.
How to Conduct Market Research with a Shoestring Budget
There are options for hospitals who don’t have the resources to engage with consumers directly. Talking directly to the community you serve is the ultimate goal. However, if you are faced with budgetary constraints, an alternative option is to talk with your employees to learn what they hear about your hospital in daily life. Nurses, physicians, case managers, secretaries, technicians, etc. hear people talk about your hospital’s brand in both clinical and everyday settings. Whether in a restaurant, social gathering or during direct experiences with patients, people love to talk and share their opinions and experiences. Your staff is not immune to hearing about them. Plus, employees have valuable opinions too.
In addition to having an excellent read on consumers' awareness, attitudes and experiences with your hospital, employees and key stakeholders will also tell you how fulfilled they are in their jobs. Work-life balance and physician burnout are legitimate issues that hospitals face. A staff represents the hospital, but do their mission and values align with senior leadership? Finding out will create opportunities to enhance communication and offer new resources and programs for better work experiences. When employees are happy, the patient experience becomes stronger.
Research firms like Bruno and Ridgway, who specialize in hospital research, conduct cost-effective staff research on a regular basis for some of our hospital clients.