Personalized Healthcare:

3 Steps to Building a Personalized Healthcare Journey

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Have you ever thought about the different experiences that cater to you every day? Really stopped to think about them? Probably not! Experiences that feel like they’re designed (or personalized) for you actually don’t make you think at all. They simply let you do what you want or need to do, without missing a beat.

Experiences that feel too “one size fits all” or make you jump through ten hoops to perform one task are the ones that make you think – and not in a good way. They cause friction. And that friction has consequences. A 2021 McKinsey & Company report revealed that 76% of consumers get frustrated when they don’t receive the personalization they expect. Often, they go somewhere else.

Getting personal is good for your health

In the healthcare industry, personalization takes on new layers of complexity. Each person’s journey is unique. Each journey entails aspects that directly or indirectly affect people’s health. In some cases, a journey may result in saving people’s lives.

This complexity makes healthcare personalization matter more than ever. Different details are relevant to different audiences who are on different personal journeys, even when they follow the same essential experience roadmap.

It starts with a plan

If you’re on a healthcare marketing team, trying to tackle personalization can feel daunting. Where do you begin, when there are multiple audiences to consider and multiple rules and regulations to follow while facing a barrage of competitors and the constant pressure to do more with less?

A sound strategy with clear, concise steps is imperative. Taking each step one by one can help you simplify your path to a personalization approach that meets your needs — and your audiences’ expectations.

Step 1: Define your audience

The single-most important aspect of a personalized experience is understanding the audience(s) for which it is designed. Take the time to get to know them, recognize them as unique individuals, and craft personas that clearly define their needs, behaviors, goals, and expectations.

For instance, your audience might comprise patients who are dealing with various stages of heart disease, struggling to find the right weight-loss solution, or researching dental implant options. Each of these audiences have different needs, goals, and ideas about what personalization means.

Dentists building a practice or surgeons seeking robotics will have different expectations than investors looking to capitalize on trends or hospital administrators needing solutions to integrate with minimal disruption.

Getting to this level of knowledge takes research, time, and patience. But it’s a worthwhile exercise. When you can understand who your audiences are, you can start to define what they expect from a personalized experience. And if you prefer to get help creating personas, we have a team for that!

Step 2: Design holistically

At this point, it might be tempting to jump to ideas like: “Let’s launch an email nurture campaign!” or “We should update our website!” However, designing the user experience (UX) for personalization is a holistic process that leverages all channels. It’s a “sum of all parts” approach where the total effectiveness is truly greater than an individual element.

Before you start planning what you want to do, consider what your audience needs and wants to accomplish – and where they want to do it. Ask questions like:


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What actions do they want to take?

  • Schedule appointments or request product demos?
  • Chat with sales reps or care providers?
  • Set glucose-check reminders or take digital CME courses?


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What do they want to do on their phones vs. their PC vs. their wearables vs. in person?


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How does their experience look and feel when they move from your website to your brick and mortar to your social platforms to your mobile experience?


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Are they getting what they want and need?
How and where can you make it easier?


These answers will help you design an experience that covers personalization from a holistic perspective. When you know what your audiences want, and you can mind your gaps, you can design an omnichannel experience that seamlessly delivers the content, tools, and interactions they need, where they need them — friction-free.

Step 3: Align your data, transparently

If personalization was a car, data would be the engine. In other words, data is the only thing that activates personalization and makes it “go.” While privacy rules and HIPAA regulations might seem like engine-stallers, transparency is the key to igniting data’s potential. What might surprise you is that audiences are willing to hand you that key, as long as you respect their boundaries.

For instance, a 2020 survey found that patients want a personalized experience based on data, with 72% placing the top priority on data that allows their doctor to see their problem and personalize a solution. It rides on letting people know how their information is being used — and giving them control over what and how much to allow.

That means you need to take a good look under the hood of your data systems. Uncross your wires and get it organized. Make your data usable so you can tap into its power. Data will help you personalize your communications in real time — and let you switch gears as needed to continue supporting your audience on their journey.

Start getting personal

Personalization involves creating a seamless, omnichannel experience that recognizes your audiences as unique individuals, sharing relevant information while giving them full control over when, how, and how often to engage and participate.


If you are pressed for time or are not sure how to get started, we can help. Check out our services to see how we can kickstart your journey to healthcare personalization today.


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