Some hospitals are using patient data to create targeted marketing campaigns, the Columbus Dispatch reports.
About the Marketing Trend
The approach -- often called predictive analytics or customer-relationship management -- is becoming more common with the increasing prevalence of electronic health records.
According to Medseek -- a provider of patient data processing services -- about 25% of U.S. hospitals currently use predictive analytics to tailor their marketing efforts.
For example, the hospital system OhioHealth uses predictive analytics to send targeted messages to patients who:
- Have diabetes;
- Have a history of heart disease; or
- Recently gave birth.
In addition, Mount Carmel Health System in Ohio uses patient data to create targeted reminders about:
- Colorectal screenings;
- Health fairs; and
- Seminars on joint replacement.
Advantages of the Technique
Officials from OhioHealth and Mount Carmel said that targeted marketing campaigns allow them to educate patients about health conditions while making use of limited advertising funds.
They added that targeted outreach efforts are an effective way to communicate with patients and expand preventive care efforts.
Privacy, Security Concerns
Some patients are comfortable with the idea of their health information being used for marketing purposes, as long as the data are secure. However, others are wary about the idea of their personal information being used without their consent.
Officials from OhioHealth and Mount Carmel said that their use of predictive analytics complies with HIPAA privacy and security regulations. Both health systems use third-party companies to process their patient data, and such business associates are bound by health data privacy laws.
OhioHealth and Mount Carmel officials also noted that they encrypt patient data so an individual's health information cannot be accessed by unauthorized employees (Sutherly, Columbus Dispatch, 11/12).