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25 May 2020

Why each healthcare company should boost their innovation efforts

The COVID-19 pandemic outbreak has affected all of us out of the blue. It has had an unprecedented impact on our health and daily life. As the world is slowly waking up again, experts predict that we are facing a long period of “fighting back”.

The good news? Innovation has never been more important and new ideas are coming in thick and fast. If covidinnovations.com is anything to go by, it appears that most innovations come from the world of healthcare. Today’s context is very much an opportunity for healthcare companies. The momentum is there and healthcare companies should act on it. The time has come to switch to a human-centred approach. Here are some tips to get back on track.

Why each healthcare company should boost their innovation efforts

Empathize with your end-users

When is the last time you talked with a patient? And by talking, I literally mean having an actual conversation with them. Healthcare is moving beyond the walls of hospitals. Try to empathize with end-users and look beyond your offering or product. Consider their total journey and see this end-to-end journey as an opportunity.

Just think about a trip to the hospital. Of course, one of the key moments is when the doctor pronounces a diagnosis or delivers a treatment. But when people complain about their experience, it rarely concerns the skill of the doctor. They might refer to the moment right before, the reception at the hospital upon arrival, or to a moment after the visit, such as the instructions for home care. The more broadly you define the patient experience, the more opportunities you can identify for improvement. To help you define this journey, we’ve developed a patient journey template, which you can download here.

Go for agility

Adopt a testing to learn, rather than a testing to validate mindset. Healthcare companies are often faced with strict privacy and compliance rules. Clinical trials take a very long time, and this is a process you cannot influence as a marketer. That’s why the key is to innovate on the domains where you do have an impact. Over the years, there are probably new devices that are being used or the patient’s journey is probably completely different. It is important to balance high regulation with experimentation and market responsiveness. Stay continuously in touch with your patients and pivot when needed.

Activate your intrapreneurs

Can your employees already contribute to your innovation efforts? You don’t need a full-blown intrapreneurship program at the beginning, but some small initiatives can be enough to have a tangible impact. At The House of Marketing, for example, we regularly organize brainstorming sessions, both with and without our clients. Our consultants can also submit new ideas online, i.e. an online mailbox. Or just scan ideas online by activating a Google alert on your specific therapeutic domain.

Intrapreneurship encourages employees to be customer-centric and proactive. It describes a people-centric, bottom–up approach, one that pays off in terms of company growth, culture, and talent attraction. It also empowers and motivates all employees so that they are happier and more committed.

Identify your pitfalls

Easier said than done, you might think. And for good reason: it takes quite a lot of organization, experience, and stamina to embark on the innovation journey and to stay on the right track.

Four golden rules to keep in mind.

  1. Get your teams to embrace the vision behind innovation

Employees need to fully grasp the 'why' behind the intended change, how it will benefit the organization, their department, themselves, and the patient. When their contribution makes sense to them as individuals, their buy-in is guaranteed.

  1. Ensure role modeling by senior leadership

Senior leaders need to 'walk the talk' if they want to inspire, motivate, and engage employees. They should bring the vision to life and be fully supportive. By simultaneously collaborating with change agents, the vision can be reinforced and help drive the change.

  1. Make sure employees have the right skills to make it happen

Bridge the skills gap by training, recruiting, or investing in new collaborations. Make sure that employees can adapt the new vision to their individual situation.

  1. Enable a patient-centric organization

Give your teams the possibility to empathize with the end users/patients on a regular basis. Create the right processes, use the right systems and tools to stimulate the desired behaviour. Draw up KPIs and targets for the goals that are set.

Ready?

2020 will most likely be a crucial year for many companies. A wave of innovation is set to wash over us, designed for our new way of living. Marketers will have to re-invent what they do and how they serve their customers to adapt to a rapidly changing world.

Ready to start? Ready to change the game? We are here to support you. To learn more about our expertise in healthcare, visit our page:

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