Demand creation transforms the economics of all businesses and has revamped the healthcare industry, as well. Looking back, this industry was thriving on word-of-mouth referrals, and patients sincerely followed the physician’s advice for treating their health conditions. But today, things are different. Healthcare has been transformed in this era of digitalization and patients are now empowered to use this medium for making their health decisions.
Physicians need to embrace the change and adapt themselves in the new marketplace
To survive in the ever-changing scenario of digital healthcare, physicians need to change their frame of reference. Healthcare services have undergone a paradigm shift through various channels such as mobile apps, Internet consulting, social media, emails, websites and so on. If you feel you can still run your hospital or practice with the traditional approaches, you have almost no chance to thrive in the present marketplace. You may be the best in your area of specialization, but in the present day scenario, tech-savvy patients will opt for a physician who has a good online presence and is rated highly by other patients. So the option is clear: Either change or perish.
Constant patient engagement
A digital marketing plan can be successful only when it touches these three parameters: content marketing, social media and the patient (user) experience. Physicians/hospitals need to constantly engage patients through a multichannel approach. Having an active presence on various social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn and an active profile on the major physician-review websites is a must. These provide an excellent opportunity to physicians for engaging, interacting, collaborating and learning from patients. After a thorough analysis, the lessons can be inculcated to deliver better healthcare services.
Innovate and evolve to cater to the changing mindset of patients
Consider taking some time away from your practice to study the digital “body language” of your target patients/potential patients. It will help you understand exactly what their needs are, the kind of healthcare experiences they are looking for, what the competitors are offering to cater to their needs, how you can channel your strengths to win them over and what the major threats can be while targeting patients through online marketing.
Take the first step to protect your online reputation and request your Online Reputation Assessment.
Use innovative approaches and assorted online channels to connect with patients. For instance, sometimes you can use Pinterest to post healthy-living tips, exercises to remove abdominal fat, healthy snacking options to stay fit, while simultaneously you can organize a diabetes awareness campaign on your Facebook page. To further diversify, you can record your videos and post them on Youtube to educate and engage people about the life-threatening effects smoking can have on their body. Just let the ideas flow out of the box and experiment with them.
Be a partner to help people lead healthier lives
The broad reach of the Internet and social media has put physicians in a prime position to drive patient welfare initiatives. They can reach out to a large number of people searching for reliable, up-to-date and easily comprehensible medical information. As a physician, it’s your moral duty to help people lead healthier lives. You can share lessons from your clinical experiences to help patients learn about prevention of diseases and how to deal with them in case of occurrence.
You can also encourage some of your patients who have fought with life-threatening diseases to start an online community and communicate with others who are sailing in the same boat. By creating and monitoring platforms to share knowledge and experiences, you will create support in the community, where your presence will definitely be noticed by many others.
Blogs are also a simple, informal yet effective way to connect to your patients. You can educate them about various new treatment options, the latest procedures, new drug developments for various diseases, general health tips, disease prevention tips and so on.
The nexus of all these connections will be your practice. Needless to say, it will provide wide brand exposure to a huge set of online information readers and digital health consumers. It will also create opportunities for your online visibility and help develop a positive online reputation. Digital conversations are the new levers for healthy reputations in healthcare.