The times they are a changin’. Bob Dylan probably wasn't referring to the healthcare industry when he penned those lyrics, but how true they ring now. Modern healthcare is transforming right before our very eyes and the way everyone—patients, doctors, administrators—views this multi-trillion dollar industry. Sites like WebMD and the Mayo Clinic are encouraging patients to seek out health information online before they see a doctor, even featuring a symptom checker to use before making an appointment with their physician.
As healthcare marketing professionals, it is our job to work with these changes by understanding the following four trends:
Increased reliance on technology, social media and digital marketing.
Today, doctors are making a different kind of house call. With telemedicine, doctors can conference one-on-one with patients through video on smartphones or computers to give their patients medical advice without having to go into the doctor’s office. According to American Well®, 64% of consumers would see a doctor via video. Consumers are also turning to social media to find health solutions.
Investing in online information channels like websites, blogs, social media, and others leads to sharing knowledge and expertise where your audience is looking. This is the opportunity for health care organizations and providers to showcase their expertise, so their target audience is sure to see it.
Digital marketing, SEM, and online reviews play a large part in health care. Patients want to be able to find their doctor online and leave reviews and feedback about their visit, while physicians want to be able to manage their online reputation and see what their patients are saying about them.
It’s important for physicians and health care practices to know how their patients perceive them. With more people relying on the Internet for health information, they’re also relying more on online reviews and comments about others’ experiences at their physician’s office.
Greater focus on cultivating relationships, not just patients.
Gone are the days of the family doctor showing up at home with his stethoscope and black bag. However, with doctors seeing more patients for a shorter amount of time, patients still value personal attention and face-time with their doctor.
By offering educational classes, workshops, and events designed to allow constituents to interact with the medical community, the relationship that once took place in the home can again take place within the health center. Creating an atmosphere where doctors and administrators understand this is essential to retain and keep patients happy and ensure trust in their medical provider.
Strategic targeting of physicians and future employees.
Marketing strategies cannot be so narrowly focused that they only reach potential patients. To continue to provide cutting-edge services and technology to those patients, it is crucial to attract top-notch physicians.
We know reaching this audience isn’t easy, given their time constraints and hectic schedules. As healthcare marketing professionals, we understand where to find this audience and what techniques resonate with them to get your message across.
An invitation for consumers to participate in their healthcare process.
The Affordable Care Act has opened the doors and allowed people to gain a new view of their healthcare process. By offering patients access to health information online, it has created a culture where consumers want to participate in their healthcare process.
It is up to marketing professionals and their organizations to make sure they welcome this participation, rather than shut it out. The times may be changing, but marketing professionals can help health care providers navigate these changes and develop thoughtful, creative strategies that produce real results.