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Affect the Behaviors of Health Care Consumers

Ultimately, your promotional campaign will not be successful unless it influences specific behaviors. Here are the important behaviors for a promotional campaign to focus on:

  • Accessing the report.
  • Spending at least a few minutes looking at the report.
  • Using the information in the report to help me decide if I am getting good care from my current provider.
  • Using the information in the report to figure out what I can do to improve my own health.
  • Using the information in the report to select a new provider.
  • Telling family, friends, and work colleagues about the report.
  • Discussing the report with health care professionals, or even with employers and policy makers.

Access Versus Use

The first two behaviors on this list are absolutely critical, because unless people find your report and spend those few minutes looking at it, they cannot really use it. So driving these behaviors has to be a primary goal of your campaign.

However, people will be more likely to find and look at a quality report if they believe it can help them do something else that is important to them. So you have to keep the last three “use” behaviors in mind as you design your promotional efforts. You may have other specific uses that you want to encourage, but these three are likely to be relevant to almost any report for a consumer audience.

Behaviors of Other Audiences

This guidance assumes that consumers, or some subset of them, are your primary audience. But you may also have other uses you want to drive in other audiences. For example, you might want to:

  • Encourage the providers you are rating to use the reports to identify where they need to make improvements in quality.
  • Encourage purchasers to make their decisions based on this information as well as other considerations.

Your broader promotional campaign can address these needs as well. However, a single promotional activity rarely works with multiple audiences. You need to focus on one audience for each promotional effort (although your messages should be consistent across audiences).

Also in "Clarifying Your Objectives For Promotion"

Page last reviewed December 2015


The information on this page is archived and provided for reference purposes only.


AHRQ Advancing Excellence in Health Care