Understanding and better serving customers is the role of any business. Gaining satisfied patients can lead to increased funding, better healthcare rankings, and more repeat customers. It is well-known that it is less costly to keep an existing customer than it is to get a new one. The healthcare field is rapidly changing – investing in data analytics may prove to be an important competitive feature. However, with the focus on healthcare analytics, the question arises: where does market research fit?
Healthcare analytics examines data patterns within various healthcare areas to improve quality of care without excessive spending. The research can cover both broad and narrow focuses, allowing healthcare providers to focus on the most pressing needs. The overarching goal of this investment is to discover what works in a healthcare system and what areas need improvement.
Healthcare officials are increasingly turning to analytics to understand their consumers. In fact, a Research and Market report touches on the importance; it states the field will grow into a $34.27 billion industry by the end of 2022. Additionally, Dano Consulting’s recent research found 76% of healthcare survey respondents planned to increase data and analytics spending.
Healthcare analytics provides a combination of financial and administrative data that can aid patient care, improve procedures, and allow for better services. The secondary data is tracked over a specified time period, usually a month or several months. This longer time period accounts for external factors such as the political climate, weather factors, and others.
Healthcare market research takes a slightly different approach by analyzing the patient’s primary data. Qualitative or quantitative studies can provide insights into healthcare branding, patient satisfaction, or employee satisfaction. For example, a healthcare system used market research to reposition itself and ensure advertisements supported the new position as demonstrated in this case study.
Research, as with analytics, can drive business decisions. However, research can often provide more insight into the data. For instance, with recent technological advances, market research provides information about a patient’s non-conscious thoughts or feelings through methods such as facial coding. This information can then be combined with survey data to provide a whole mind analysis.
Market research and data analytics complement each other. Market research captures the consumer’s voice, while data analytics offers online behavior and patterns that may not be otherwise shared. However, combining them can validate findings and provide deeper insight.
For instance, combing data analytics and market research could determine that newly pregnant women enjoy close parking spaces, especially in the afternoon or evening. However, women often do not want to draw attention to their state yet. A hospital could take this research and reserve parking for the specific doctor’s office in the heavily traveled times. The parking sign could simply read, “Reserved for patients of Doctor X”. Without both insights, the hospital may have reserved the spaces at the wrong time or advertised the signs wrongly.
In summary, market research often provides deeper insights than relying on analytics alone. However, utilizing both methods may give insights not otherwise noticed.