Healthcare marketing needs to stop trying to push positive outcomes.

With new drugs, innovations, and technology popping up all over the place Healthcare needs to take a serious look in the mirror. In every department not the least of all marketing. There has been increasing demand for new evidence and definitions of positive health outcomes as it pertains to treatments, drugs, and practice. It has been and will always be a moving target. So let’s talk about why healthcare marketing should get out of the business of pitching positive outcomes.

The concept of a positive outcome being the result of a hospital or other healthcare visit is essentially implied. It is what is supposed to happen, we’ll get into whether or not people believe it actually does later. That being a marketing technique would be similar to the automotive industry using “you’ll get places faster” as a fundamental marketing pitch.

The general response to that is “Well, no shit.”

That is the reason the vast majority of patients engage the healthcare industry because they feel something is wrong and are looking to have it fixed. The rest of them are doing routine maintenance, annual physicals etc so that they hopefully don’t have to get something fixed. The concept of a positive outcome is essentially built into the industry going in. No one ever said I’m going to this hospital because they’re going to make my broken arm worse right?

So that being said the only thing that can come out of that marketing strategy is failure. If they come out with their problem fixed the system worked the way it should, not any better. If they come out not fixed the system failed. So the pinnacle of success means you met expectation everything else is abject failure. Because of this black or white outcome patients don’t buy into the “positive outcome” strategy. There needs to be “wiggle room” in healthcare marketing.

With the continual changing landscape of medicine, the increase in self diagnosis, distance diagnosis, and of course the internet education – none of which is going away or going to slow down – healthcare has to move past the dinosaur mentality of a positive outcome.

Because the options for patients are becoming more varied focusing industry wide marketing on a new message is becoming a desperate need, not a luxury.