Freddy Swan

Navigating the 6 biggest challenges healthcare faces in 2024.

2023 has been a rollercoaster ride, filled with healthcare systems juggling the customer acquisition act, keeping current clients on cloud nine, and doing the ROI tango—all while dodging trend curveballs and emerging rivals. Ho-ho-oh no, the struggle is realer than Santa’s workshop on Christmas Eve. But as the curtain falls on this marketing extravaganza, it’s time to prepare for the encore: 2024. Brace yourselves—marketing in the healthcare sector is about to face six major challenges in the upcoming year, and we’re here to guide you through the storm.

1. Fortifying the walls with cybersecurity

As digital health initiatives skyrocket, so does the risk of cyber breaches. Healthcare is one of the top industries facing cyberattacks and rising risks, and it feels like a new breach or ransomware attack is announced every day.1 It feels like we’re in a constant game of cat and mouse with hackers. The feline-rodent remedy? Implement multi-factor authentication, fortify firewalls and make sure your third-party vendors are HITRUST certified. Because in this digital age, staying secure isn’t a trend, it’s a necessity.

2. Navigating shortages and burnout

By the 2030s, the country could be faced with a shortage of nearly 200,000 nurses and 124,000.2 With projected shortages of nurses and physicians, the healthcare workforce is at risk of burning out faster than a candle in a hurricane. How do you reignite it? Invest in automation to ease administrative burdens and streamline processes. Hire more staff when necessary to alleviate pressure and workload. Because happier staff means healthier operations.

3. Cracking the Telehealth code

Telehealth is a conveniently wrapped, accessible gift. But not for everyone. Poor internet and a lack of devices mean some patients (often the ones that need it the most) are left out in the digital cold. The cure? Simplify appointment bookings, engage with re-engagement email campaigns and remind patients of the importance of in-person visits. Because in the world of healthcare, inclusivity is the best medicine.

4. Remodeling effective payment models

Payers and patients are demanding new payment models — such as bundled payments, disbursement to patient-oriented care providers, global payments, and shared savings — that encourage care providers to coordinate services and promote preventive care.1 So how does your organization remodel? Keep an eye on early adopters, fine-tune new payment models and balance the delicate equation between reducing costs and improving patient outcomes. This should keep you on-trend and in-demand. After all, it’s not just about saving lives; it’s about saving the budget too.

5. Decoding big data

More and more healthcare data is being generated, it’s scattered across multiple parties and systems including payers, providers, and patients. There’s no single “source of truth” that providers can use to optimize the patient experience.1 With healthcare data scattered like confetti, harnessing its power is a lot like herding cats. How do you corral your kittens? Embrace data-driven decision-making, integrate analytics into your organizational DNA and implement non-relational IT infrastructure. Because clarity is key, and data is the guiding light.

6. Stitching the holes in the economic fabric

Less income from investments can impact an organization’s ability to finance capital purchases. Higher interest rates mean organizations are faced with higher borrowing costs.3 Inflation rates are skyrocketing, squeezing the life out of operating margins. Your lifeline? Reassess your supply chain, analyze spending data, and rebalance investment portfolios. Because financial health is as vital as the well-being of your patients.

As we approach 2024, these challenges may seem daunting, but with the right strategies, they’re conquerable mountains. Let’s face them head-on, armed with knowledge, wit and a dash of humor. Because in the healthcare marketing arena, the best medicine is a healthy dose of preparation and a spoonful of resilience.

Let Frederick Swanston guide you through these 2024 trends, ensuring another triumphant year in the ever-evolving world of healthcare marketing.

1 Medium. “7 Major Challenges Facing the Healthcare Industry in 2024.” November 14, 2018.
2 The Hill. “The US is suffering a healthcare worker shortage. Experts fear it will only get worse.” September 28, 2023.,felt%20more%20than%20among%20physicians
3 CLA Connect. “6 Health Care Headwinds in 2023 and What to Do About Them.” January 19, 2023.