Hospitals and health systems are embracing new ways to improve patient engagement and communication by using panel-based research techniques.
The way people communicate is changing rapidly. Almost all households have access to the Internet. Smartphone and tablet use is widespread. Patients want to communicate with service organizations they trust and they want to do it at times that are convenient for them. Panel research allows this to happen.
Panel research uses web-based research tools. Customers are invited by email to participate in online surveys. Participants are asked if they want to continue to participate in future research. Typically, 60 to 70 percent say yes. This group forms the panel for future research.
Health care marketing and operations managers find panel research is a cost-effective way to:
- Collect useful information from thousands of patients at a fraction of the cost of traditional research;
- Engage patients to improve products and services;
- Build brand-loyal customers;
- Increase the number of patients likely to recommend services to friends and colleagues; and
- Improve decision-making by taking the guesswork out of new product development and service changes.
A number of hospitals and health systems use panel research to:
- Assess customer satisfaction;
- Identify actions needed to improve services;
- Test and improve new products and services, such as tele-health and medical home
- Assess print, TV and radio advertising;
- Understand the wants and needs of specific patient groups, such as Generation Y, Medicare, chronic care, mothers with young children and single men; and
- Recruit participants for focus groups and advisory boards.
Results from surveys in general and open-ended questions specifically provide content for e-newsletters, social media and public relations. Research can be conducted quickly and among target audiences to speed up decision-making.
CFM Strategic Communications is a national leader in providing panel research services to its clients. The company has more than 20 years of experience working with hospitals, health systems, health plans and physician groups.