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How to Use Health Risk Assessments in New Patient Engagement Campaigns

By Wellsource, Inc.

Today’s healthcare consumer is changing. They are more digital-savvy than ever before—7 in 10 patients want their experience with healthcare providers to be as easy as their brand interactions in other industries. They expect a seamless experience that’s personalized to their needs. They are seeking out self-serve information and resources— 60% of patients conduct a general internet search when searching online for healthcare services or care sites.

And at the end of the day, they’re using online tools to understand their health, seek care options, and schedule appointments more than ever. In response, healthcare marketers are increasingly turning to engagement tools that will help their marketing programs weather this changing landscape and help patients find the right care, at the right time.

In this article, we’ll explore the use of a health risk assessment (HRA) as one tool in a healthcare marketer’s toolkit—and how an HRA enhances a digital marketing campaign with measurable results.

The start of a digital journey: how patients search for and find providers

In healthcare marketing campaigns, the typical flow of the campaign is as follows: a combination of advertising and search engine optimization will land potential patients on a microsite or web page. Typically, the page will feature some details on the program or service-line and provide a link or a phone number to call to schedule an appointment.


From the prospective patient’s point of view, this next step— calling to make an appointment— can feel like a big commitment. What’s more, they might not have gained anything of value in that webpage visit. Did they learn more about their personal health risk? Or what might be the appropriate next step for them?

Offering website visitors an option to take a health risk assessment is also one way to provide a “soft” conversion option that provides additional resources and education to the patient, while still collecting the data a healthcare marketer needs to continue to nurture a patient’s journey to care.

Health risk assessments help the patient self-identify their need for care while building brand recognition before they’re ready to hit submit on that “contact a provider” page.

A more engaging conversion tool: health risk assessments turn unknown website visitors into activated patients

A more engaging—and less high stakes—next step to offer at this point in a service-line specific marketing campaign is a health risk assessment, a self-guided questionnaire that evaluates a person’s risk for a specific disease or condition. These 2-minute assessments are designed to educate patients about their health risks and encourage patients to seek the appropriate care with your hospital or clinic.

  • For healthcare marketers, HRAs collect valuable patient information so they can provide more personalized follow-up campaigns.
  • For patients, a quality HRA will provide a good user experience that builds on a hospital or health system’s existing brand equity.
  • For hospitals and health systems, an HRA provides critical insights into the performance of their marketing campaigns—measurable ROI.

What about Health Risk Assessments for Population Health & Wellness?

Many population health and wellness professionals use comprehensive HRAs that cover all dimensions of a person’s total well-being, including nutrition, fitness, stress, sleep, mental health, and biometric information such as blood pressure and cholesterol.

Learn more about health risk assessments for population health and wellness programs in our Ultimate Guide to HRAs.New call-to-action


Here's how health risk assessments can drastically improve conversion rates at this point in the patient journey:

  • As a tool designed with theories of behavioral economics in mind, HRAs encourage patients to complete the survey (providing many new pieces of patient data) and take appropriate action upon completion.
  • They are an engaging way to educate patients about their health risks, with a personal report tailored to their health concerns.
  • They’re a tool for patients with high intent to seek care to actively raise their hands. Recognize that taking an HRA at all is an important indicator that the patient is considering care or ready to take an action.
  • HRAs generate the data you need to really personalize the patient experience. Each completed assessment provides more information on the health risks of that person, so you can personalize follow-up outreach that will best suit each individual’s needs. Low risk? Drop them into a nurture campaign to remind them of annual wellness visits. High risk? Follow up direct outreach from patient navigators—who have HRA results to make for more meaningful outreach and conversations.

Personalization at scale requires data, and today’s healthcare consumers expect to be treated as individuals. HRAs are a way to provide patients with a personalized experience and gather the data needed to build more individualized marketing programs.

Health risk assessments in action: a case study for a bariatric program campaign


Here’s an example of how one hospital center used health risk assessments to drive more personalized outreach to potential bariatric patients. Virginia Hospital Center (VHC), a community-based hospital in the Washington, D.C. area, was looking to increase patient visits and service-line revenue for their bariatric programs. Their previous marketing campaigns had brought traffic to informational landing pages and BMI calculators, but they weren’t getting patients to schedule visits nor were they collecting contact information needed for more follow-up with patients.

They partnered with Wellsource to launch a Wellactivate bariatric health assessment. The Wellsource team worked closely with VHC to identify opportunities to highlight the assessment, including placement on the website, ad copy for social media, and paid search campaigns. Within a 3-month period, the campaign generated:

  • 710 unique visitors to the HRA
  • 158 new contacts considered eligible for bariatric surgery
  • 25 new patient visits

In terms of tracking results from their marketing campaign, the VHC team could directly associate new consultations with HRA completions. “The value of the assessment as a marketing tool was in having a specific and engaging call to action,” explained Cathy Turner, Director of Health Promotion & Senior Health at VHC. “This is the first time we’ve had a good closure of the loop, connecting marketing leads to appointments the physician group schedules, to surgeries booked.”

Learn more about the VHC campaign and the Wellactivate assessment for bariatric surgery in the full case study here.virginia-hospital-case-study-cta

Tags: engagement, health risk assessment, patient acquisition

This is the first time we’ve had a good closure of the loop, connecting marketing leads to appointments the physician group schedules, to surgeries booked.”

Cathy Turner, Director of Health Promotion & Senior Health Virginia Hospital Center