Over the last few years, the Internet has become a one-stop destination for people to find solutions for all their needs. The healthcare industry hasn’t remained insulated and has witnessed a “tech-tonic” change that can be attributed to digital and social media paving their way into the industry. For all the health problems, people refer to “Dr. Google” first and analyze their options before making any decision.
If we talk about the impact Internet has made on the healthcare, it has taken the industry by storm. Providers are left with no option but to embrace digital mediums for marketing their practice to the target patients. On the other hand, digitally empowered consumers now resort to the Internet to find answers to their healthcare wants, needs and preferences. They leverage it to access health-related consumer reviews, post their own health experiences and interact with others on health forums or groups.
Studies and research carried out worldwide have proved the exponential increase of the use of digital platforms for making health decisions. Let’s have a look at some statistics:
According To A Study At The Pew Research Center:
- In the US, 70 percent of Internet users looked online for health information in 2012.
- Of them, 30 percent specifically searched for reviews on rating sites, where anyone can write anything under a near guarantee of anonymity.
- More than 700,000 physicians are listed on Vitals.com, the largest of the patient review sites, which attracts more than 13 million visitors a month.
- One in four (26 percent) adult Internet users have read or watched someone else’s experience about health or medical issues.
- About 16 percent of adult Internet users in the US have gone online to find others who share the same health concerns.
Healthcare consumers, i.e. the patients, no longer accept blindly what a physician tells them. About one in three American adults have gone online to figure out a medical condition. These soaring numbers clearly demonstrate that patients have taken responsibility for their health and the decisions that affect it. With a change in scenarios, physicians are left with the option to embrace this change.
Evolution Of A Patient-Centric Approach In Healthcare
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A patient-centric healthcare approach in this digital era means a revised definition of quality. Unlike the old days, services in healthcare are no longer limited to just cost as consumers now evaluate quality and experience in the same equation. Healthcare providers have largely adopted the patient-centric approach, which revolves around continually questioning patients to assess their needs and the effectiveness of the care they are receiving. Based on the inputs, analysis is done and outcomes are implemented to provide the best experience to patients. Patients are digitally empowered healthcare consumers who have many other options to choose from if they aren’t satisfied with the quality of care and healthcare services provided to them. To enhance the credibility of their practice, to be in the good book of patients and to attract new patients, a patient-centric approach helps build a strong foundation for physicians.
A Better Patient Experience Now Starts With A Better Online Experience
While the world is connected through the Internet today, it’s quite hard to understate the importance of online patient experiences. Driven by the excellent online customer experiences they have had with services in other industries, healthcare consumers now have an inclination for the same in healthcare, as well. Engaging and interacting with patients on their digital journey is imperative for building positive patient relationships. Providers who use digital media for communication and provide mobile health solutions are preferred by consumers over the others who are sluggish digital adapters.
From the emergence and wide acceptance of “Dr. Google,” it’s evident that the healthcare industry is in a phase of radical transformation and will continue to expand horizons to a new era of health care: Health 2.0. Physicians who leverage digital power will definitely be a preferred choice with digital health consumers and can position their brand as a partner in patients’ health in their lifelong journey to health and wellness.