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Consumer Science Key to Bolstering Engagement in Health Care

Patient speaking with their primary care doctor

In its article, "Consumer science is an opportunity for bolstering engagement in health care," Health Evolution discusses the importance for health care organizations to apply scientific methodologies beyond basic demographics to more effectively engage and retain patients and members.

Taking a page from the consumer products and retail industries, health care organizations need to recognize that one-size-fits-all approaches to patient or member engagement will not appeal to most health care consumers, because they do not all think and act alike or are driven by the same motivations. A population of consumers needs to be segmented beyond physical characteristics to adjust engagement and messaging to be more personally relevant.

The article points to the fact that analysts predicted last year that consumer science holds the potential to reshape the ways health care organizations collect and analyze relevant data to understand emotional motivators and apply those learnings to engagement efforts. According to a Deloitte report, "Such segmentation can help [health care organizations] tailor their interaction with consumers, whether they are looking for a new health plan, doctor, or support in dealing with a chronic condition - just to name a few examples."

So, what is an example of this type of segmentation?

Psychographic Segmentation

Psychographics pertain to people's attitudes, values, beliefs, lifestyles and personalities and are core to their motivations, priorities and communication preferences. Psychographic segmentation groups people according to these shared characteristics to allow for targeting and engagement that resonate more strongly and activate desired behaviors.

The consumer science of psychographic segmentation dates back to the late 1960's and has been used extensively by companies such as Procter & Gamble, Walmart, CVS and Walgreens, as well as among automotive and financial companies, to design and sell products with much success. Psychographic segmentation came into the spotlight in the mid-2010's in a Harvard Business Review article titled, "Psychographics Are Just as Important for Marketers as Demographics," because it could be used to drive more insights about consumers' decision-making processes.

PatientBond uses a proprietary psychographic segmentation model developed by ex-P&G executives to personalize engagement to deliver unmatched clinical and financial results.


At a high level, PatientBond's powerful technology platform seamlessly delivers personalized content to engage healthcare consumers. Specifically, PatientBond provides a healthcare consumer (patient, member) engagement platform that uses sophisticated, scientific methods for understanding consumers, integrating a proprietary psychographic segmentation model and machine learning with dynamic digital workflows to personalize two-way, healthcare consumer communications. PatientBond’s mission is to leverage Healthcare Consumer Insights and Innovative Technology Solutions to help its clients build a tighter bond with their patients and members to improve health outcomes, increase revenue and reduce costs.

Health Evolution interviewed Justin Dearborn, CEO of PatientBond, on the importance of consumer science in health care.

"CEOs leading health systems, health plans, or life sciences companies should understand that consumer science methodologies can be applied to increase effectiveness of patient engagement programs," stated Mr. Dearborn.

Each psychographic segment requires unique engagement strategies to maximize results. How one positions a message with specific words and phrases is important, as is the channel of communication.

Dearborn explains that one psychographic segment with less attention span prefers text messages because they are short and get to the point. Another consumer segment responds to email because it allows for more information and education. A third psychographic segment wants a phone call because they feel dehumanized in the system and a human message is more personal and feels less like being part of an assembly line.

As the Health Evolution article points out, organizations need to adjust messages to an individual’s priorities and motivations to activate behaviors. Even a message that reaches 30 percent of recipients still results in 70 percent of people in that target audience missing the communication entirely. Ideally, health care organizations use a channel mix designed for a patient or member of a specific psychographic profile.


The article lists many opportunities for leveraging psychographics in health care, all of which have proven successful:

  • Improving engagement rates for service line marketing
  • Increasing participation rates for cancer, diabetes or mammography screenings
  • Influencing behavior change with lifestyle modification programs
  • Reducing unnecessary hospital readmissions
  • Enhancing medication adherence rates
  • Enabling patients to pay their bills more quickly

Health care organizations can enhance their clinical, marketing and business strategies using tried-and-true consumer science methodologies like psychographic segmentation. To learn more about psychographic segmentation and its practical application in health care please download this informative whitepaper on the subject.

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