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Bringing the human element to your healthcare digital roadmap

Summary: Digital roadmapping may sound like it's all about tech, and that's true to an extent. But if you're making decisions based on backward-looking data, gleaned from a website you want to replace, you'll just end up in the same place.

When I go on road trips, I like to use Wayze. Besides the fact that I can get my trip narrated by Chris Rock (a delightful feature; highly recommend), it gives accurate information about road conditions reported, not by satellites, but by other humans on the road, in real time.

What if digital strategy was like that? Rather than only using past analytics data, what if we could harness real-time human feedback to build a roadmap that meets consumers where they are today, not where they were a few months or years ago?

Bringing the human element to your digital roadmap

What is a digital roadmap?

Your digital roadmap is the set of objectives and priorities over either a one- or three-year period that guides how your system approaches digital. It should include:

  • 70% known projects and business-as-usual goals—those things that are proven, and that help keep the lights on,

  • 20% needle movers—new initiatives with an expected ROI, and

  • 10% game-changers—things that haven’t yet been tried but have great potential for impact.

But if you’re basing your decisions on data that is old, that you got from a website you know you need to improve, you risk making the wrong improvements. It’s like putting used oil in a new car.

What’s often missing is the human element. The way consumers approach healthcare has completely changed in the last three years. Consumers value choice and low-friction transactions, and they’re starting their healthcare journeys online—doing research, comparing pricing, and making decisions about which providers to go to. Understanding the attitudes and motivations of consumers in various parts of their journey, from awareness to advocacy, and aligning those with key points of content and conversion on your website can guide how you approach continuous improvement of things like your Find a Doc or Request and Appointment tools.

Personas, personalization, and aligning with the plan

Having alignment is at the center of humanizing your digital roadmap, but aligning the fast-moving, organic nature of human behavior with the more measured, predictable pace of your digital roadmap can be challenging. Here are a few things to consider.

  1. Are your personas past their sell-by date?
    If your personas were developed pre-pandemic, the answer is yes. Re-examine how you’re defining your audience segments, and where you’re getting the data to validate your personas. Don’t rely only on survey results; people can fall into many categories at once without realizing it themselves. Consider employing a digital ethnographer to help better define who you’re talking to, and what it is they’re expecting from your brand.

  2. Is your personalization as good as your targeted marketing?
    Healthcare has been much slower to adopt personalization than retail brands, which is a shame considering how much effort is put into targeted marketing efforts designed to drive traffic to the website. Ensure your consumers’ experience is just as personalized once they get to your site, so they convert quickly.

  3. Are you operating from a unified digital strategy?
    Many health systems suffer from silos and competing priorities when it comes to digital. Your strategy will define your roadmap, and shine a light on what audiences to focus on for greatest ROI.

Most important of all is to have a plan, but not the plan. Be open to change, and revisit your roadmap every six months to validate how things are going. This should include a multidisciplinary team including your digital agency and digital ethnographers to help guide the way.

Want to learn more about how to make your digital roadmap more human-centric? Check out our on-demand webinar with our friends at Feedback, or drop us a line!