Nick Ragone serves as Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing and Communications Officer for Ascension

Click here for Nick’s column in Modern Healthcare (subscription may be required).

In a new column, Nick Ragone, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer for Ascension, says the industry must quickly adapt to changing consumer expectations and experiences, meeting consumers when, where and how they’re making healthcare choices.

“Consumerism is dramatically changing the healthcare landscape and expectations,” he writes in Modern Healthcare. “As we consider new ways to deliver care, we must also strive to understand how consumers are making healthcare choices, what the influential factors are, where they are consuming information, and how to overcome barriers to making a choice in the current healthcare environment.”

Nick says this means using data and behavioral analysis to respond to specific consumer needs. At Ascension this means focusing on consumer health management, brand experience, consumer “find-ability” and “share-ability,” and provider validation.

Consumers now can directly access more information about symptoms, diseases and conditions than ever before. “This transparency and accessibility have allowed consumers to take something as important as healthcare into their own hands,” he says. “We meet consumers where they are by generating tools that help patients design a birth plan, decide when to see a doctor, tour a facility and interview doctors through online profile videos. This personalized approach has allowed us to interact with our patients from the very beginning of the patient journey and throughout the experience.”

Nick notes how unifying the brand across sites of care amplifies the need for Ascension caregivers to provide a consistent brand experience and brand promise. And finding and sharing stories of real patients, families, providers and caregivers gives voice to that experience and promise.

“By capturing real stories from patients and providers in a thoughtful way, we can share positive experiences that are already happening,” he says.

“Just like any other consumer-focused product, consumers want to know that they are making the best choice when it comes to their healthcare and the health of loved ones—and they are searching for information to validate it. When making choices and recommendations, profiles of care, personal testimonials and success stories are supporting provider endorsement and referral—particularly in online communities and social sharing.”

Click here for Nick’s column (subscription may be required).