Healthcare marketers have pinpointed an increase in patient appointments as one of their biggest successes in 2022, according to a recent study out of Actium Health.

The CRM Intelligence company released results from its study last week, finding that three-quarters of healthcare marketers said their outpatient numbers have risen over the last year. Additionally, most healthcare marketers — about 71% — said they are evaluated based on their success in boosting those appointment bookings.

“Overwhelmingly, marketers are measured by their ability to drive patient volume and appointment bookings,” Alan Tam, chief marketing officer at Actium Health, said in a statement.

Throughout last year, healthcare marketers stated that growing outpatient volume and driving appointment bookings were some of their top priorities. However, they also included defining brand strategy and brand building, digital marketing and social media, as well as data-driven marketing techniques.

Still, healthcare organizations tend to rank appointment bookings and outpatient volume as high on the list when it comes to evaluating marketers.

Outpatient volumes rose by a variety of methods, but paid media campaigns and online scheduling were cited as the most effective approaches, followed by always-on campaigns, mobile apps and ad hoc campaigns.

Three out of 10 marketers said they used customer relationship management (CRM) as a tool to encourage patients to book appointments, while more than 40% reported the tool was “extremely effective.”

Ultimately, the survey showed that “CRM alone is not enough for what healthcare marketers — and the organizations they represent — are looking to achieve,” Michael Linnert, founder and CEO of Actium Health, said in a statement.

“Like healthcare delivery itself, effective patient outreach marketing is about aligning the solution to the delivery,” Linnert added. “Just as you wouldn’t use a general anesthetic when a local works equally well with lower risk, you don’t need a broad marketing campaign when you can target them to your highest value patients most likely to make appointments — and make it easy for them to take action.”

While healthcare marketers cite the importance of driving patient volume, patient retention also remains crucial, Tam explained.

“One thing missing in these findings is a high prioritization of patient retention,” Tam said. “When [new] customer acquisition can cost five times more than retaining an existing customer, it makes sense that healthcare marketers move retention up in their list of priorities, and identify tactics and tools that both activate patients to make appointments and cultivate a sense of satisfaction and loyalty while doing so.”