Healthcare is irrefutably going digital.
From the obvious changes, like the switch from physical to computer-based patient records in our clinics and hospitals, to the news of increasing patient reliance on the Internet and Social Media to make healthcare decisions, it is now impossible for physicians, medical facilities, and even medtech and biotech organizations to ignore how integral online marketing and engagement will be to the future of the industry.
Patients are using online services to connect with their doctors and find more information about their conditions, services, and prescriptions.
Polls suggest that over 85% of patients use Internet search engines to make informed decisions about their care before choosing a clinician. Over 30% of patients use social media platforms such as Facebook to discuss their healthcare experiences.
Social Media is an emotional environment where brands, campaigns, people, and ideas must build engagement and trust, and the patient-consumer often seeks out hospitals, physicians, government institutions, friends, and even patients they do not know personally to find out more about their conditions, medications, and clinical options.
Blogs, for example, are a popular space for people with chronic illness to discuss the experience of their treatment and offer advice and support.
Medical experts are now beginning to capitalize on the movement. One in three patients has used an online portal to communicate with their doctors and/or access medical records.
The patient-consumer wants their medical information and care fast, accurate, and in abundance, and the digital age is increasing this desire.
Now, about a quarter of US hospitals have social media accounts, the most popular choices being Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare (now effectively Swarm), YouTube, and blogs.
The only solution is to join the online revolution, because it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.
In order to be trusted, the modern hospital, physician, and healthcare company will need to be a thought leader online. Most importantly, they must be accessible.
In order to capitalize in this new economy, experts in the healthcare industry need to:
- Create and maintain an online presence.
- Understand the way patients are making healthcare choices online, which includes the use of smartphone and tablet apps, health insurance websites, health information websites and blogs, hospital and medical practice sites, digital healthcare trackers, healthcare exchanges, and social media.
- Capitalize on those patient-consumer choices, which includes having your own website, blog, social media accounts, and online marketing strategy.
- Be prepared to manage your reputation online.
- Stay on top of industry leaders and the competition.
- When in doubt, seek the advice of online marketing experts in the healthcare industry.
Because the digital space can no longer be ignored in healthcare, the only choice is to take action to make sure your brand stays competitive in this new economy. Without a presence and strategy online, healthcare entities will fail to gain an edge in the marketplace.