HMPS 2023 Takeaways: Navigating the Future of Healthcare Marketing

In the wake of the Healthcare Marketing and Physicians Summit (HMPS) this past April in Austin, we’ve all returned to our routines, invigorated and brimming with fresh insights. The invaluable opportunity to reconnect in person with our colleagues in healthcare marketing was a breath of fresh air. After weathering a global health crisis that altered the way we communicate and do business, we finally got a well-deserved moment to appreciate our resilience.

The team at Parallel Path relished every minute of it, from catching up with familiar faces, and supporting our clients, to forging new relationships in health and wellness marketing. We returned home enlightened, even more, driven in our mission to help humans flourish through our partnerships in health and wellness.

Here’s a recap of some of the essential takeaways from HMPS 2023:

The Privacy-HIPAA Conundrum: As privacy regulations and HIPAA continue to shape the digital marketing landscape, healthcare marketers must stay agile. The discussions ranged from the implementation of Meta pixels on websites to the intricacies of remarketing. The dance with privacy continues, and it’s a tune we must master.

Put it into Action:
For instance, a healthcare marketer wanting to leverage Facebook’s advertising capabilities has to grapple with the challenge of Meta’s pixel on their website collecting patient data while complying with HIPAA regulations. As many as 40% of the top hospitals in the US still have Facebook tracking pixels on their home page while others have removed it or never placed the pixel in the first place. 

Alternatively, healthcare marketers are using broad demographic data, like age or location, to target potential patients without violating privacy laws. The conversation around HIPAA and digital marketing is ongoing and in many ways is more of a grey area than simply black and white. Parallel Path stays close to this ongoing dialog as we develop and execute marketing strategies for our healthcare client partners. We continue to advise our client partners to seek legal counsel regarding their position and compliance with privacy and HIPAA regulations. At the very least, this topic should be front of mind and part of the conversation between healthcare marketers and their marketing agencies.

The TikTok Wave: Healthcare marketers are increasingly embracing TikTok as a key tool in their digital stack. Diane Lang from Nationwide Children’s Hospital (one of our esteemed clients) shared valuable insights into navigating TikTok. The consensus? Make authentic TikToks for TikTok, get verified, and be ready to invest in paid media to grow your audience. Interestingly, healthcare institutions ranging from Baylor Scott & White Health to UCLA Health are already making waves on the platform. With Generation Z and Millennials utilizing TikTok as a primary search engine for health-related information, it’s a fantastic opportunity for healthcare organizations to reach, inform, entertain, and engage with their health and wellness consumers.  

Put it into Action:
Nationwide Children’s Hospital, for example, has been using TikTok videos, often featuring healthcare professionals, offering advice, busting myths, and encouraging viewers to seek help if needed. This approach creates authentic content that resonates with the TikTok audience while promoting their healthcare brand. 

Recruitment Marketing’s Rising Star: The current tight labor market has propelled recruitment marketing near the top of healthcare organization marketing objectives. With traditional recruitment tools proving insufficient, healthcare marketers are crafting engaging campaigns to attract top-tier talent. Even organizations like the University of Michigan Health, which never needed to “market” for recruitment, are now deploying comprehensive campaigns.

Put it into Action:
University of Michigan Health has created a comprehensive recruitment marketing campaign that spotlights the benefits of working for their organization. They use branded videos featuring current employees highlighting their workplace culture. Nearly every healthcare marketer in attendance raised their hand when asked if recruiting was now one of their core responsibilities. 

The AI Content Revolution: Artificial Intelligence (AI) is transforming the way healthcare marketers can scale content, with tools like ChatGPT rivaling seasoned healthcare content writers. However, content managers must be vigilant, as inaccuracies can creep into AI-generated content. The new role? Part editor, part prompt engineer, constantly testing and learning to harness AI’s full potential responsibly. Modern healthcare markets are embracing AI for improved efficiency and effectiveness without compromising the quality and integrity of their content. 

Put it into Action:
A healthcare marketer could use AI tools like ChatGPT 4.0 to generate blog posts or articles at scale. For instance, they could feed the AI a prompt about the benefits of regular exercise, and the AI would generate a comprehensive article. The content manager would then review and edit the AI’s work to ensure accuracy and relevance.

Lessons from Consumer Marketing: Healthcare marketers can draw inspiration from consumer marketing to humanize and forge emotional connections with their brands. It’s no longer sufficient to merely increase brand awareness. The challenge is to enhance favorability and affinity for your health brand, transforming from a mere billboard buyer into a service line brand builder.

Put it into Action:
A healthcare organization could create
a series of emotionally resonant films of healthcare consumers who are living their best lives. These stories could be shared via their website, social media, email newsletters, and paid media creating a more human and relatable brand image.

As we digest the wealth of knowledge gleaned from HMPS 2023, it’s clear that healthcare marketing is navigating exciting and challenging waters. As we adapt to changing landscapes and employ innovative tools, we do so with an unwavering commitment to our mission: improving human life through our work in health and wellness.


Looking for a healthcare marketing partner? Parallel Path is the proven guide for leading health and wellness brands who are ready to explore inventive and high‐performing marketing strategies.

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