If you are diagnosed with any disease/condition, what should you do first? Probably one of the first things anyone would do is go online. The healthcare consumer’s journey has largely evolved to be a digital journey at their moment of need. Patients are now turning to online search and social media for healthcare information.
Almost all businesses across the globe are waking up to the growing influence of social media, healthcare being no exception. In today’s digital universe, it is important more than ever before to be cognizant of your online reputation and as it can directly affect your digital footprint and brand perception.
Digital and Social Media have become necessary elements for practicing physicians. These are considered high-value interactive platforms by industry experts as physician-patient communication is faster and easier. Statistics say that nearly 80 per cent of US adults use the Internet and approximately 60 per cent belong to at least one networking site. Some years ago, it may have been an absolute matter of choice to market your practice and healthcare services on the Internet. But now, it’s an absolute must in order to survive and thrive. The numbers are compelling and are just too large to be ignored.
For the first quarter of 2015, Facebook users were about 1.44 billion, LinkedIn users were approximately 364 million and Twitter had about 236 million users. So for all the physicians, dentists, physiotherapist and hospitals, do you really have a choice of not putting effort into engaging your patients/potential patients online?
Not long ago, word-of-mouth and referrals were considered a primary channel of marketing for physicians. Over the last few years, the most startling metamorphosis has been the digital evolution of the industry. PwC’s recently published report on healthcare states, “At $2.9 trillion, the state of the U.S. healthcare industry is strong — and growing. Health care inflation is at its lowest rate in 50 years. About 10 million newly insured Americans are bringing in significant new revenue, but that’s only part of the story. The health sector is proving to be highly adaptive to disruption and innovation.”
Take the first step to protect your online reputation and request your Online Reputation Assessment.
The pressure on hospitals, physicians and healthcare providers has never been greater. Healthcare consumers, i.e. the patients, have now found new channels for information that are easily available at their fingertips. Gathering information via the Internet and social media has become embedded in our culture. Informed consumers, including payers and patients, garner information on the Internet to research potential providers. The various search engines employ user-created content on social media platforms, review sites, testimonials and blogs. Patients rely on the information they gather from these platforms and form opinions about visiting or not visiting a physician.
The rising volume of digital healthcare activity among online healthcare consumers is well-recognized by physicians now. Online physician interactions with patients form a foundation of trust and credibility in the minds of many others who read the conversations. The role of social networks in the field of healthcare has become critical for a patient’s lifelong health journey. As long as physicians use social media in an ethical and professional manner, they can benefit both patients and colleagues, enhance their own reputations and help to lead the revolution in this area.
Physicians who still haven’t embraced digital marketing will not only lag in their journey to growth and success but will face significant risks as they may lose out to the competition. Forward-thinking digital marketing approaches will provide tremendous opportunity to increase their online visibility, create brand equity, develop a positive online reputation – the key essentials to outperforming competition and sustaining consistent growth.