The point of care is a versatile channel that has changed dramatically in recent years with an array of new capabilities that have expanded its use cases for marketers. Yet some of these advancements have flown under the radar, and consequently, marketers’ understanding of the channel hasn’t evolved to include the impact of new technologies and digital targeting.
There are many reasons why the point of care is an essential piece of a successful omnichannel strategy, and it’s a channel that can be used throughout the product life cycle. But marketers whose concept of the point of care centers on wallboards and print materials may miss out on the full value the channel can provide.
Whether you’re exploring engagement possibilities at the point of care for the first time or catching up on advancements you may have missed, there are a few things you should know before launching your point-of-care campaign. Here are three key insights that will help you maximize this channel’s potential.
1. It’s not just a reminder channel
When many marketers think of the point of care, they solely think of it as an opportunity to remind patients of media they may have seen earlier through mass-media channels such as TV. And while that’s one thing the channel can do, it’s not the only thing: It can also do the heavy lifting of raising awareness—especially where mass-media channels are falling short, says Jason Celestino, Lead Client Experience Manager at Phreesia Life Sciences.
“What people don’t really realize is that their other media isn’t reaching their target patient all the time—and even if it is, we know that the further a patient is from exposure, by the time they get to the point of care, that brand awareness and recall is much lower than we would think,” he says.
That fact is reflected in Phreesia survey data collected at the point of care. In a recent survey, just 5% of patients with a specific health condition recognized a leading brand, despite more than $280 million in TV ad spend. Another survey showed that after more than 21 billion asthma TV impressions, 31% of surveyed patients couldn’t recall a single brand name.
That awareness gap points to a different opportunity for point-of-care media. Particularly as TV media prices increase, and consumer privacy restrictions hamper digital media’s ability to reach high-quality patient audiences, the point of care can be an effective place to implement strategies across stages of the marketing funnel traditionally reserved for mass media.
“So many patients, by the time they get to the point of care, don’t really have brands top-of-mind,” Celestino says. “Point of care truly is more than just a reminder channel—it’s an awareness channel.”
2. It’s more digital than ever before
The point of care isn’t what it used to be. New digital capabilities have revolutionized the space in recent years, proving to be of critical necessity with the accelerated adoption of telehealth, which has expanded the point of care well beyond the four walls of the doctor’s office and brought audience-based, rather than location-based, strategies to the fore.
While wallboards and print materials in the physical waiting room are still part of the picture, “Point of care is more digital than ever before, and with that, we have many new opportunities,” says Dave Leitner, EVP and Head of Media at Klick Health. And the list of opportunities will only continue to grow as the number of digital doctor-patient touchpoints increases, he predicts.
Patients already make appointments, check in, get updates and communicate with their providers online, opening the door for marketers to reach them in new ways both before and after their appointments, whether that’s in a virtual waiting room, during intake or through a post-visit reminder email.
And, as remote patient monitoring gains in popularity and wearables feed a continuous stream of data to healthcare providers, “It’s going to translate into more moments where patients and HCPs need to connect, which should create more opportunities that serve point-of-care messaging,” Leitner says.
3. Messaging matters
While it may be tempting to reuse creative that’s worked on other channels at the point of care, it’s not the way to go, says Jennifer Tesoroni, VP, Director of Multichannel Media at SSCG Media Group. No matter the stage of a product’s life cycle, “Having very specific messaging for point of care is important,” she advises.
Instead of recycling content, Tesoroni suggests that marketers think through the patient’s healthcare journey and the doctor-patient conversation to determine what types of resources would be most helpful, whether that might be a copay card, a doctor discussion guide or a post-visit reminder message.
“We’re not just taking a general banner and plopping it in,” she says. “We’re working with the client, working with the creative team, to make sure we have the right message for the right time.”
The result is a campaign that successfully maximizes the channel’s capabilities. “That’s our one opportunity to be able to make an impact,” Tesoroni adds, “so we want to make sure it’s not wasteful.”