Driving patient behavior change to impact population health

At this year’s Healthcare Marketing & Physician Strategies Summit (HMPSS), April 30-May 2 in Salt Lake City, healthcare marketing professionals will share a wealth of ideas for branding and promoting provider organizations and services. To deliver full value to their organizations, there is another critical but largely overlooked undertaking for healthcare marketers, one that offers enormous rewards: marketing’s role in driving patient behavior change in support of population health initiatives.

Finding your way with population health

Marketers, healthcare executives and physicians know that keeping people well and out of the hospital is imperative to healthcare organizations’ future. Promoting greater adherence and increasing patients’ participation in their own care is essential for all patients – and especially for those whose chronic conditions cause them to consume the most care. Changing these patients’ behavior to align with what their doctors tell them can yield tremendous benefits not only for the patients themselves, but also for provider organizations participating in population health programs.

“The actual definition of population health is the health outcomes of a group of individuals, including the distribution of such outcomes within a defined group. From a practical standpoint, payers and insurance plans now offer strong financial incentives for providers to measurably improve health within patient populations, particularly among those patients who are responsible for the greatest healthcare expenditures, such as patients with diabetes and congestive heart failure. Improving the health of such patient groups requires empowering them to better follow doctors’ orders.

A perfect fit for skilled marketers

Healthcare marketers are uniquely equipped to affect the necessary behavior change for this empowerment, for two reasons:

  1. The goal of every marketing campaign is to change the way people think, feel or act. When we seek to increase awareness and promote engagement with a healthcare brand or service, we are creating a change. All successful marketers are largely agents of change.
  2. Healthcare marketing professionals can apply their existing skillsets to support population health. It’s a small step from promoting healthcare brands and services to helping patients make behavior changes for the better.

Learning how it works


Two marketing professionals from leading healthcare enterprises will join NDP’s founder and principal, Susan Dubuque in presenting this exact topic at HMPSS, in a session titled Marketing’s Role in Behavior Change at 12:30 p.m. on April 30. For marketing professionals whose organizations are considering or currently participate in population health initiatives, this really is a must-attend session.

Susan and her colleagues will share with you evidence-based theories and models from public health and related disciplines that healthcare marketers can leverage for population health strategies. They’ll walk you through the successful efforts of one health system to improve the health of an underserved population and they’ll share strategies to align your traditional marketing efforts with newer population health objectives.

The current focus on population health is absolutely essential to improving the lives of those who need our care most while curbing the rise of healthcare costs. This responsibility should  not be relegated solely to clinicians and utilization review professionals. The addition of sound marketing strategies can help your organization achieve optimal results.

And everyone wins. The marketing team shines. The organization thrives. The patients and the community enjoy improved health.