Humanizing the Future: Balancing AI Innovation and Personal Touch in HME Marketing

Published in Women's Health on March 06, 2024

Shannon Kofta, Vice President, VGM ForbinBy Shannon Kofta, Vice President, VGM Forbin

As someone deeply invested in the evolving landscape of healthcare, it’s clear to me how the growth of the HME industry, fueled by the increasing needs of our aging population and the surge in chronic diseases, is creating new horizons. This sector, on track to soar from $36.6 billion in 2023 to an impressive $62.9 billion by 2032, opens a realm of digital marketing and web possibilities in 2024 that are both exciting and challenging. This is a journey we’re all part of, shaping a future where health and technology converge.

This sector is on track to soar from $36.6 billion in 2023 to an impressive $62.9 billion by 2032

Marketers need to ensure their strategies comply with HIPAA guidelines.

Regulatory Landscape: HIPAA’s Growing Influence

Recent HIPAA regulations have deeply impacted digital marketing in healthcare. Marketers need to ensure their strategies comply with these guidelines, as non-compliance could result in severe penalties. This compliance extends to all digital marketing aspects, including advertising, reporting, and the use of marketing technologies.

Shifts in Marketing Technology

To comply with HIPAA, marketers are now utilizing customer database platforms (CDPs) that can interface with technology and anonymize protected health information (PHI). The adoption of CDPs like Freshpaint and Rudderstack, which offer HIPAAcompliant modes, is crucial for marketers in this space.

HIPAA-compliant call tracking and analytics are becoming essential tools. These solutions provide insights into patient engagement and help in optimizing marketing strategies.

AI cannot replace the need for human oversight and expertise.

Regulatory Landscape: AI and Human Oversight

AI’s Role and Limitations 

While artificial intelligence (AI) technologies like ChatGPT are influential in the healthcare marketing space, particularly in search engine optimization (SEO), they cannot replace the need for human oversight and expertise, especially in complex healthcare topics.

In 2024, the integration of AI in digital marketing strategies, particularly in the HME industry, is a vital development. This trend is driven by a combination of technological advancements and the need to cater to increasingly sophisticated consumer needs.

AI’s Role in Marketing Strategies

Enhanced Customer Experience
AI is transforming digital marketing by enabling brands to deliver improved and customized customer experiences. By understanding consumer preferences and behaviors through data analysis, AI helps marketers craft more precise and effective strategies. This approach not only enhances user experience but also streamlines marketing efforts, saving time and resources.

Chatbots for Engagement and Lead Generation
AI-powered chatbots have become pivotal in digital marketing. They serve as virtual assistants, providing instant responses to customer queries, improving engagement, and even collecting leads. This technology allows for more dynamic interaction with customers, enhancing the overall customer service experience.

Personalized Marketing and Sales Enhancement
AI technology is used by retail and e-commerce brands to track customer preferences and behavior. The insights gained from this analysis enable businesses to offer more tailored product and service recommendations, leading to more effective marketing strategies and potentially increasing sales.

Targeted Advertising
AI-driven digital marketing facilitates targeted advertising by analyzing user data to predict future behavior. This capability allows for the creation of more focused ad campaigns, ensuring that marketing efforts reach the most relevant audience. Innovative campaigns that leverage AI, such as augmented reality (AR) and geolocation, exemplify the potential of AI in creating unique and effective marketing experiences.

The AI market is set to grow significantly, reaching $52 billion in 2024.

AI in the Home Medical Equipment Industry
The AI market is set to grow significantly, reaching $52 billion in 2024, with major medical device companies investing in AI and machine learning technologies. These investments are aimed at improving diagnosis and treatment efficiency, which can also extend to more effective marketing and distribution strategies for home medical equipment.

$52 billion in 2024

The landscape of AI marketing tools is expanding, offering innovative capabilities like predictive analytics and personalized customer experiences. These tools are transforming the way brands interact with consumers and analyze data, making them essential for marketers in the HME industry to understand and utilize effectively.

Marketing Landscape: Funneling Patient Engagement

Full-funnel Advertising Strategy 

With the limitations on data availability and tracking pixels, marketers are adopting full-funnel advertising strategies. These involve using broad targeted video campaigns at the top of the funnel to create awareness, followed by more targeted efforts as potential patients move down the funnel.

Omnichannel Patient Engagement

An omnichannel strategy is becoming crucial to engage patients effectively. This approach encompasses various digital touchpoints, ensuring brand exposure through organic and earned content, which helps in building brand authority and trust.

Enhancing Patient Experience

Marketers are focusing on enhancing patient experience through personalized communications, such as appointment reminders and educational information, as well as the development of patient portals and mobile apps for more personalized healthcare experiences.

Growing disengagement among healthcare consumers and their demand for authenticity are challenges that marketers need to address.

Addressing Patient Disengagement and Demand for Authenticity

Growing disengagement among healthcare consumers and their demand for authenticity are challenges that marketers need to address. Patients are increasingly skeptical about the reliability of online information. 

As a result, there is a greater emphasis on generating content that is authentic, backed by research, and reflective of the healthcare provider’s unique perspective and expertise.

Digital Transformation

The healthcare industry, historically slow in adopting digital technologies, is now experiencing a digital transformation. This change is driven by HIPAA concerns and private equity investments, leading to the adoption of technologies such as online appointment booking, centralized customer relationship management (CRM), call tracking, analytics, and patient engagement automation tools.

Digital Transformation

Prioritizing Website User Experience

Improving website user experience is a top priority, aligning with Google’s focus on good digital experiences. Effective websites need to provide quick access to information and include content that adheres to the E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) guidelines set by Google. This involves creating original, relevant, and up-to-date content that directly answers patient queries.

As we stand on the brink of 2024, I see a vibrant future unfolding for the HME industry, driven by a blend of technological innovations, evolving regulatory landscapes, and the ever-changing needs of patients. For us marketers, this isn’t just a professional challenge; it’s a personal mission to stay ahead of the curve. We need to embrace HIPAA-compliant strategies with open arms, harness the power of new technologies, and always keep our focus on the patient experience. This is more than just a business; it’s about making a real difference in people’s lives through our work. Let’s rise to the occasion and lead this transformative journey with compassion and innovation.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE

VGM Playbook Elevating Performance Harnessing Human CapitalThis article was originally featured in the VGM Playbook: Forecasting 2024. To read the full article and more like this, download your copy of the playbook today


TAGS

  1. dmepos
  2. forecasting
  3. playbook
  4. technology
  5. vgm

From Our Experts

Connections, Community, and Innovation: The Focus at Heartland Conference's Networking Experience thumbnail Connections, Community, and Innovation: The Focus at Heartland Conference's Networking Experience The VGM Heartland Conference stands out as a premier event, celebrated for its exceptional networking opportunities and memorable social events. Understanding Compression Therapy: A Vital Approach for Wound Management for Venous Insufficiency and Lymphedema thumbnail Understanding Compression Therapy: A Vital Approach for Wound Management for Venous Insufficiency and Lymphedema There are various kinds of compression that can be used to treat wounds in the wound care field. DME: A Growing Industry Shaped by Changing Healthcare Landscape thumbnail DME: A Growing Industry Shaped by Changing Healthcare Landscape There is a tremendous reason for optimism in the durable medical equipment (DME) provider community today. It's a market that's poised to experience significant growth in the coming decade, driven by a myriad of compounding factors. Exploring Focus at Heartland Conference 2024: What's on the Agenda? thumbnail Exploring Focus at Heartland Conference 2024: What's on the Agenda? At Focus at Heartland 2024, taking place June 10-12 in Waterloo, IA, prepare for unparalleled educational sessions with our diverse array of specialized tracks that can help you get insights for your women's health business. [Important Announcement] Updated 855S Application Released thumbnail [Important Announcement] Updated 855S Application Released For those businesses that have been patiently waiting for the 855S application to be updated with the Lymphedema Compression Treatment items as a product being offered, it is finally here. 2024 Audit and Compliance Forecast thumbnail 2024 Audit and Compliance Forecast President of The van Halem Group, Wayne van Halem, provides his insight on what suppliers should expect to see from an audit and compliance perspective in 2024. Registration Opens for Focus at Heartland 2024 thumbnail Registration Opens for Focus at Heartland 2024 Registration for the Focus at Heartland Conference is now open. We are looking forward to Essentially Women and VGM Heartland Conference joining forces to bring the women's health community together at this exciting event taking place in Waterloo, Iowa, June 10-12. Welcome to 2024. Let's Talk Root Causes! thumbnail Welcome to 2024. Let's Talk Root Causes! Kim Cuce explains how to identify the root causes of issues that DMEPOS providers often face.