Healthcare Through a Marketer's Lens: Our Conversation with Miranda Madar, Director of Marketing at Resurgens Orthopaedics

Currently the Director of Marketing at Resurgens Orthopedics, one of the largest orthopaedic groups in the country, Miranda Madar has built her career around strategic development and creative storytelling for some of the world's most powerful brands. Previously, Miranda was the Global Communications Manager for The Coca-Cola Company where she was responsible for creative and strategic development for core global brands including Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, and Coke Zero. As a member of the Content Excellence team at The Coca-Cola Company, Miranda led the production of a web-based film called "Small World Machines" which demonstrated how a shared moment of happiness could bring the world a little closer together. The film was honored with 11 Cannes Lions awards, including three Gold Lions. Earlier in her career she worked for several blue-chip advertising agencies including Ogilvy & Mather and Moxie Interactive.  Radix Health associate Nikki Sangha spoke with Miranda about how Resurgens Orthopaedics is leveraging marketing to engage their patients. 

Nikki: You've got a fascinating background, having spent time at Coke, among other companies.  How did you make the transition to healthcare?

Miranda: It has been fun and varied. I have worked with a number of clients who range in industry. For the most part, it has always been consumer facing. So when I transitioned into healthcare marketing, I didn’t so much look at it as a change in industry as much as just a simple change in category. To me, it seems as though healthcare marketing is still serving the patient, who is in fact a consumer, especially in this day and age where people have a lot more resources and are able to do their research a lot more on their own terms. That makes them a much more informed and educated consumer, and I think we have to treat the patient more like that these days.

Nikki: How do you use what you've done in industries such as food and beverage or retail and apply it to healthcare? What are some of the similarities and differences?

Miranda: Great question. I think fundamentally as just general consumers, people are looking to improve their lives, whether it is something big or small. Their everyday lives are already complex, and they’re just looking for an easier way to do things or something that will make their lives better in some facet. Healthcare is a very complex problem usually, and they only think about it when something bad is happening or in order to prevent something bad form happening. I think in that way it requires a little bit more effort in terms of education and patience because when someone is looking to find information or choose a doctor, it does take some more time and can’t just be an impulse purchase. You do need to do your research and some due diligence, and we need to be mindful of that. I think everything that I have been able to glean from my experiences before has been driving me towards this direction and allowing me to help people make better and more informed decisions for the problem that they have at that moment.

Nikki: What channels are you using to communicate with potential customers?

Miranda: We do try to have a very integrated marketing approach where we use multiple channels to reach our target audience in as many ways as we can. Some of those are billboard advertising, television, radio, online channels, email campaigns, and custom newsletters. Social media is also very effective. We try to employ several different channels all at once so that when a person is looking for us, even subconsciously, we start to penetrate their mind. They are reminded of us when the time comes.

Nikki: As a patient, the first step in any healthcare transaction is determining which physician to select.  How does marketing support patients as they wrestle with this decision? 

Miranda: Again, it goes back to education. We make sure that we have very thorough bios on our providers. Whether it’s in the office or online, we really make sure that people can recognize the credentials that all our physicians have. Even when they call to schedule an appointment and are going through what their issues are, our schedulers are very knowledgeable on which providers might be the most appropriate. We help guide them through if they are having trouble deciding whom might be best for them, which location might be most appropriate, or if they do need to see a specialist in one specific area or more of a generalist.

Nikki: Online research is huge, and patients really rely on that when deciding on a provider. For reviews that are negative, do you review and respond to those comments?

Miranda: Yes, absolutely. I think that is critical and we do it on a very regular basis, in fact we do it on real-time. We do look at positive and negative comments and try to address all of them, as near to real-time as possible. If there is a negative comment, we do want to go out and research the issue and make sure we understand it from the patient’s perspective, as well as the provider’s side, because sometimes there are two sides to the story. We can offer them to call our site manager directly and figure out exactly what’s happening and how we can repair that issue or relationship. But also we want to make sure that other patients recognize that we are responsive.

Nikki: What are some of the strategies you're pursuing to provide an unparalleled customer experience?   

Miranda: A lot of it happens from an operational perspective. I would say much of the hard work is done through our front desk and our schedulers, making sure that our phone calls are returned in a timely manner, appointments are scheduled in a timely manner, follow-up and reminders are completed on a regular basis, and front desk is the best there is and most pleasant to interact with- courteous, always responding with a smile, and making sure they answer all patient questions. We try to cut down on wait times as much as possible. Accessibility is always a big factor so we try to make things as convenient and quick as we can. Paperwork is also hard and cumbersome so we try to eliminate that or at least make it so that people can fill out or print out forms in advance so that they are not stuck doing them in the office, whenever possible. Filling out surveys afterwards is also helpful for both the patient and us because it gives us feedback and addresses ways that we can improve and continue to make things better down the road.

Nikki: A recent Accenture survey shows 77% of patients think that the ability to book, change, or cancel appointments online is important. How are you and your marketing team working with the practice to respond to patient demands for greater convenience and more control through the use of digital self-scheduling tools?

Miranda: Accessibility is hugely important to patients. Whatever the mechanism patients use to schedule their appointments, it should be in the format that they prefer. Online scheduling is very convenient because it give them the flexibility to do this on their own terms. We are working with Radix Health and want to make sure that we have this function embedded in our website if possible as well as ensure that it is easy to use, flawless, and suits our providers and patients.