Marketing in the Healthcare Sector of the Future

24 March 2017

On 15 March the Jaarbeurs Exhibition Centre hosted the ‘Marketing in the Healthcare Sector of the Future’ conference. It presented the main developments in the healthcare market and the central role that the patient plays in it. Existing healthcare providers need to modify their business models to keep up with market developments and the fast-changing role of the patient.



The most important developments in the healthcare sector that were mentioned included digitisation and digital platforms, individual profiling, artificial intelligence and quantified self. These developments are all directly or indirectly related to the process of personalising healthcare, which concentrates on the patient. It is essential to have knowledge about and involvement of patients in order to ultimately continue to develop and improve healthcare. You can see that patients are increasingly calling the shots, having a greater demand for information and also looking for new information supply options.

In order to truly be able to make an improvement, it is hugely important to have structural input from patients for proper policy development. However, it is striking that many healthcare institutions still do not operate in a sufficiently market-driven and patient-driven way and that “Marketing” is still a “dirty” word in the healthcare sector. But the developments cited above don’t get you out of having more patient focus and patient participation. Having this allows healthcare institutions to further improve the quality of healthcare, whilst also making efficiency improvements in processes, allowing costs to be better kept under control.


More Professional

To increase patient focus and patient participation, Marketing in the healthcare sector needs to become more professional. This means a structured approach with enough provision of people and resources and attention within the organisation, particularly at a management level. At present you can see that attention to Marketing still has a largely internal focus and is predominantly aimed at customer satisfaction surveys, communications, quality and safety.

But the real focus should be on the customer, the patient, who is at the heart of it all. I believe healthcare institutions can still learn from commercial businesses who think a lot more about focusing on customers. The knowledge about their customers that such businesses collect, analyse and then act upon ultimately drives their commercial success. Harnessing the experiences and data of the end user, the patient, is invaluable to the ability to make improvements in the healthcare sector.



Privacy plays an extremely important role in this, but if it is the patient that calls the shots and decides what data to share and with whom, it is ultimately beneficial for the patient and the healthcare institution.

Personally I think that the scepticism surrounding Electronic Patient Records is a good example. You can observe that this development of sharing data about the patient is becoming increasingly commonplace in the healthcare sector. As a patient, when you go to a medical appointment, you do actually expect the doctor to already know your situation and have thought about the different treatment methods and advantages or disadvantages for your individual case. Without the provision of this data, and without the participation of the patient in the process, that would not be possible.



Essentially, healthcare institutions need to think hard about gaining better insight into patients’ wishes and needs through a patient-driven approach and having sufficient patient participation. The data collected as a result will play a crucial role, particularly when it also analysed and delivers the right insights in order to take correct and well-informed strategic decisions.

Get the data to work for you and dare to innovate with the primary developments in the healthcare sector in the field of e-health. When healthcare institutions successfully bring this to light in the market, particularly for patients, this will be the future of Marketing in the healthcare sector.

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