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It’s Time to Embrace Design Thinking in Healthcare Marketing

Posted in Articles | 4 min read

Even before we were faced with a global pandemic and the subsequent aftermath, it was no secret that healthcare is a unique and complicated industry. And unfortunately, this reality creates resistance in our healthcare marketing strategies that too often favors comfort over improvement, particularly in value-based healthcare settings.

Why? It takes significant time and effort to craft a sense of self-confidence in our roles as business, clinical, and strategic leaders. This confidence comes from a foundational understanding of this industry and ability to recognize patterns. It also allows us to move faster and make decisions quickly without second-guessing.

Cultivating our roles with purpose and honing the ability to navigate an industry as consequential as healthcare demands exhaustive, comprehensive expertise with little to no room for error. After all, there are no ‘free’ moves in our roles—from the messages we send to our community, to delivering on those messages in every detail of the patient experience. Even down to the meticulous precision required in the operating room.

Even more reason to stay true to what we know, agreed? We beg to differ. To continue to grow, it is crucial that we challenge ourselves to approach work objectively and to embrace a different way of seeing and doing—and what better way than through embracing design thinking in healthcare.

Why Design Thinking Pairs Perfectly with Value-Based Healthcare 

One could easily argue that healthcare is the most over-regulated and under-designed industry in the world. That’s why it is our duty to up our game as healthcare leaders—continuously evolving and improving ourselves and our contributions to improve this industry. The communities we are tasked to serve trust and rely on us at their most vulnerable of times. We have a responsibility to never settle and grow complacent in what we put out into the world—from the stories we tell, to the services we provide, to the experiences we deliver.

This is a critical conversation in healthcare marketing and strategy. Design thinking is a particularly crucial element in value-based healthcare and with it, we can adapt to the evolving nature of the care landscape. Design can be leveraged at numerous stages of the patient journey to improve patient experience and patient engagement.

10 Compelling Reasons Why Design Thinking Should Have a Place in Your Healthcare Marketing Strategy

  1. Design gives us purpose—Intention drives our process and keeps us focused on our pursuits. Using design ensures that our healthcare marketing efforts are guided by reason and awareness.
  2. Design is awareness—Be present in exchanges with others. In design, we listen carefully and ask questions to deepen our knowledge and understanding of others. We focus on others instead of ourselves.
  3. Design opens us up to possibility—Everything in life is a prototype—from the conversations we have to the work that we do. In designing healthcare marketing programs, we recognize that things can change. We are never ‘stuck’ with what we have or what we’ve done.
  4. Design finds connections—Focusing on what connects us can allow us to embrace our community and ourselves. In design, we find commonalities as starting points for building relationships and strengthening patient engagement. Differences are not barriers but rather opportunities for learning.
  5. Design builds trust—Take time to invest in the people you seek to connect with—know who they are and where they are coming from. With design, we are purposeful and transparent in the development of authentic relationships that are the cornerstones of empathic patient engagement strategies.
  6. Design clarifies the complicated—Unnecessary effort and inefficiency are commonplace when we move too quickly. With design, we reflect and assess what’s working and what isn’t. Design removes unnecessary elements and enhances efficiency.
  7. Design envisions the future—Limitless opportunities for improving the future state of value-based healthcare are embedded in the current state. Through design, we not only envision and aspire to reach the ideal, but we build an actionable plan for achieving it.
  8. Design drives innovation—Innovation does not happen by chance. It takes a commitment to understanding human needs and identifying the underlying cause of challenges and inefficiencies. With design, there is a calculated pursuit to solve for a compelling need.
  9. Design has the power to move people—Reconnecting with what makes us passionate about our work is inspiring and the results can motivate others. Through design, solutions born from extensive research and understanding have the potential to change individuals and drive culture.
  10. Design is hope for an improved future—Empathy and compassion for others fuels the design process. With design, we lead with the desire to make conditions better for others. We are moved to see our efforts to fruition, and we continuously advocate for improvement. With design, healthcare will get better.

A “Rallying Cry” for Improving Healthcare Marketing Through Design Thinking

To inspire change across all domains of healthcare marketing, leaders must understand the power of design in a broader context, reap its benefits and champion its usage. LIFT is dedicated to transforming the point of view of healthcare leaders to embrace design thinking. We can help you see old challenges with new eyes and in a different way, to embody a strategically relevant and creative point of view, and to realize the potential for design to drive impact within your work, and across your organization.