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How Healthcare Marketing Data and Analytics Can Lead to Better Patient Engagement

Published Mar 18, 2022, 01:18 PM by Environics Analytics
Learn why healthcare analytics matter and how to use them to reach and engage with the right patients


Imagine riding your bike in a small town⁠ somewhere on the outskirts of the Greater Toronto Area. You pass through a few quaint neighbourhoods sprawling with retired couples that have escaped the city for a quieter way of life.

You come up to an intersection and in front of you is a 12-foot-tall billboard for a new birth control medication. It asks you to “talk to your doctor today.”

Out-of-home advertising never felt so out of place. The remedy: effective marketing informed by healthcare and demographic data combined with analytics.


The patient’s journey doesn’t always start at the doctor’s office

The path to medical advice and treatment might start with a Google search or a conversation with family members and friends. Whenever symptoms begin to show⁠—often well before a visit to the doctor⁠—it’s important to recognize that healthcare is often a personal choice, and patients can influence their own treatment.

Because of the healthcare landscape in Canada, life science and pharmaceutical companies are looking for effective ways to engage directly with consumers appropriately while following the strict rules for marketing prescription medications.

Marketers in the pharmaceutical space can benefit greatly from a better understanding of their ideal patients and how to best reach and engage with them. Learning about patients from a variety of perspectives⁠—including their psychographic, behavioural and health attributes⁠—is essential to uncovering valuable insights. And knowing how and where to reach them in a privacy-compliant manner is key to optimizing marketing budgets.

Most brands use data and analytics in their marketing strategies to reach the right audiences. Even with the complexities surrounding pharmaceutical marketing, there are several creative ways to improve marketing spend and maximize both ROI and market share.

A pharma brand speaking to the right audience potentially reaches patients and caregivers who could walk into a doctor’s office empowered and armed with more information to take control of their own or dependent’s health.

A February 2021 article by Strategy found that some pharma companies started their digital transformation in the wake of COVID-19 and are now pushing for better patient engagement and activation. Data insights are key to making patient engagement work.

Examples of patient data insights include:

  • Digital media consumption
  • Demographics and how they affect decision-making
  • Access to medical care and health insurance
  • Trust in the healthcare system and healthcare professionals
  • Disease prevalence
  • Effort towards health


Painting a picture of the patient

The steps and avenues patients take to navigate healthcare can vary and depend on who they are and where they are in exploring their condition(s).

To better connect and engage with potential patients, use segmentation when executing patient engagement activities.

Let's look at three patient segment groups in Canada to paint a picture of who they are and understand their journeys in accessing healthcare and prescription drugs:

An infographic showing segmentation attributes for three PRIZM segments: young singles and couples, older and aging citizens, and diverse and multicultural families.

The table above compares three segment groups of the Canadian population: their surrounding demographics, perceptions about personal health, trust in the healthcare system, how they make decisions about their health and how they access prescription drugs. 1


By combining PRIZM® segmentation with data from CommunityHealth, Psychographics, DemoStats and Vividata (Gender), we can better understand and engage with these patient groups based on health-related variables and other factors, including:

  • Ailments
  • Self-perceived health
  • Healthcare utilization
  • Substance use
  • Sexual health
  • Mental health
  • Views on healthcare authorities
  • Family structure
  • Household size
  • Personal care product consumption


What does it look like to reach patients using healthcare insights?

Gathering the data comes first. Interpreting the data is the critical next step for engaging with the right patients.

For instance, when promoting a specific medication indicated for children to adults 12 years and older, it’s important to note key insights about the ideal patient (i.e., families), and keep in mind who the decision-makers are and where they spend their time.

Here are some useful statistics to consider for social media awareness:

“Large, diverse families are 43% more likely to source healthcare information from social media and 21% more likely from a friend or family member.” 2

It is equally important to consider who your ideal patients trust with their health. In addition to the figures above, we know that large, diverse families are 20% more likely to not fully trust the advice of their doctor. 2

Based on these data, you'll want to conscientiously craft marketing messages and diversify your marketing and promotions with your ideal patient in mind.

And if you’re considering partnering with a virtual healthcare app, it’s useful to know who is accessing virtual healthcare and how likely they are to make more virtual appointments in the future.

Our COVID-19 healthcare research with Caddle ® shows that young couples and singles are 29% more likely to continue using virtual healthcare even when in-person visits become more accessible post-pandemic. This information helps determine if your medication is appropriate for the virtual app’s active users based on their demographics and behaviours.


If you understand your audience, you can effectively market to them and ultimately help improve their health and quality of life.

Being patient-centric can uncover valuable insights to understand the patient and paint a clear and holistic picture of whom you’re trying to reach.

Data analytics can help enrich your knowledge about how healthcare patients differ in demographics and lifestyles. And data analytics can reveal how patient differences affect decision-making, trust levels and engaging with healthcare systems and medical authorities.

You can achieve marketing spend efficiencies and sustainable frameworks for promoting new healthcare products with the right mix of healthcare data and patient insights. And you’ll be able to make meaningful connections with patients and build up trust in your brand.

Learn more about how we help the healthcare industry and get in touch to start leveraging the power of data and analytics for your organization.


1 Data are derived from combining the All Things Health survey from Caddle® and Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) administered by Statistics Canada, which collects detailed information on the health status of Canadians. The survey collects views from approximately 113,000 respondents, aged 12 and older, from households across all provinces and territories.

2 According to data from the All Things Health survey conducted in partnership with Caddle® on September 4, 2021.


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Vividata (Gender)


PRIZM is a registered trademark of Claritas, LLC.



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