Social Media and Healthcare
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Social Media and Healthcare
Articles and Discussions on the intersection of Social Media and Healthcare.
Relevant to Healthcare Practitioners, Pharma', Insurance, Clinicians, Labs, Health IT Vendors, Health Marketeers, Health Policy Makers, Hospital Administrators.
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7 Easy Tips to Make Your Own Medical Practice Website

7 Easy Tips to Make Your Own Medical Practice Website | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

Finding new patients for your practice can be difficult. One way you can get new patients is to create a medical practice website. Through your website you can reach out to new patients and keep your other patients updated with any news about their health and your practice. Here are seven easy tips to make your own medical practice website. 

1. Originality

You want your website to reflect your medical practice. Figure out what makes your office unique and interesting. Be sure to put in only original content, as you do not want to plagiarize on your website because that will cause people to distrust you. You also want to welcome new patients in to your office with your website. New patients will look for a website that is open and welcoming to them. They will want pertinent information on the front page and easy accessibility throughout the website.

2. Domain name

You will need to pick out a domain name. You want to choose something that is easy for your patients to remember and works with your practice. You can use the name of your business.com or the name of the founding doctors. Either way, you should choose wisely as this will be the first thing that people associate with you.

3. Images and graphs

You want your website to be eye-catching and using images and graphs will help your reader take notice of your webpage. Choose an image that is eye catching and pertinent to your practice. You want people to stop and look at your website so catch them with an image or graph first. If you run a pediatrics office you might want a picture of your staff dressed in silly costumes to show they want to serve you with a smile. Pictures of your offices and buildings will draw people’s eye and show them where they will be going.

4. Blog

You should publish a daily, or three times a week, blog with relevant information for your patients. It could be a blog about vitamins to help prevent colds or a blog telling them about a new prescription drug. Make sure you only include original content and use keywords to draw your people to your website. SEO’s, search engine optimizers, pick up on repeated words throughout a blog or website. The more keywords you have the higher your site will rank in a search. Do not put too many in but make sure you have at least three or four per blog, and four or five per page.

5. Layout

The style and format of your website will say a lot to potential customers about your office. If your layout is sloppy they might skip over your site to go and find another one they can maneuver through more easily. You can look up the best free website builder to proceed with your layout and design needs.

6. Site map

Never underestimate the power of a site map. If someone is looking for something specific in your website and cannot find it they will then look for a site map. If you do not have a site map on your web page they will leave and not come back. If  someone cannot find the information pertinent to them on your website they will look for it elsewhere. A site map offers a different way to search for things beyond a search button. Anything to draw new people into your site is a good thing.

7. Social media

Be sure to let your website be known on all of your social media pages. Provide a permanent link at the top of the page or wherever new patients accessing your social media will see it. You are your own best advertiser and you want to keep on top of promoting your webpage. The more you promote it, the more people will see it and maybe share it with their friends. You want your website to spread around the internet to draw in as many potential new patients as possible.

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Engaging Transgender Patients: Using Social Media to Inform Medical Practice and Research in Transgender Health

Engaging Transgender Patients: Using Social Media to Inform Medical Practice and Research in Transgender Health | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

Despite accelerated growth in the field of transgender health, mistrust between trans patients and their providers persists. Insufficient education for providers, research that overlooks patients' foremost concerns, and continued stigma and discrimination in medical settings are among the main barriers leading trans patients to delay or avoid care. Consequently, the transgender community often turns to social media as a self-serve resource for medical knowledge. This article discusses the benefits of directly engaging the trans community using social media to educate professionals, drive relevant research, and inform practice, to ultimately deliver higher quality care.

Keywords: transgender, barriers to care, community participatory research, social media, medical education

Introduction

The transgender community faces many barriers to care; among these are inadequate provider training, lack of information that reflects patients' expressed needs, and discrimination in medical settings.1–3 For decades, trans patients have been filling in the gaps of their own care, often out of fear and distrust of medical professionals.4 Instead of relying on providers, patients frequently look inwards toward their community for medical knowledge and advice. Social media, in particular, enables this self-serve model to thrive.5,6 To improve the quality of trans health care, providers and researchers must not only expand our body of medical knowledge but must also work to reduce barriers to care. In this article, we discuss how providers and researchers can begin addressing these specific barriers by engaging directly with trans voices across all health care touchpoints. Social media provides a useful tool through which the medical community can connect with transgender patients to learn firsthand about their real needs and experiences, subsequently informing practice, education, and research.

Barriers to Care in Transgender Health

Lack of trans-specific expertise has been found to be one of the largest barriers to care, yet the necessary medical curricula are largely absent.2,7 A median of five hours is dedicated to teaching LGBT-related content, and a third of programs reportedly spend 0 h on LGBT health-related content during clinical training.8 Three quarters of medical students report receiving less than two hours of curricular time devoted specifically to transgender clinical education.9 This oversight in education extends to practice; while resources do exist, providers are often at a loss for how to fill in their knowledge gaps.10 In a 2017 study of practicing endocrinologists, 80.6% reported no training on the care of transgender patients, although 80% had treated a trans patient.11 In another recent study, nurse practitioners expressed their frustration at the lack of published evidence to guide practice, turning to the media or their patients for information.12

Despite an increased availability of research in trans health, the answers (and even the questions) that matter most to patients are notably absent from the medical literature. For example, over half (51.5%) of trans masculine individuals bind their chests daily; however, there have been only two studies on chest binding to date.*,13 Similarly, while only one in four trans people access transition-related surgery, a disproportionate amount of clinical research is devoted to surgery.14 The questions raised on social media point to ways in which trans patients are not receiving proper information about their care, as well as felt needs that are being overlooked by current research.6,15

The result is a community hesitant to interact with the medical system. Nearly one-fifth of transgender patients delay health care because of fear of discrimination.14,16 Inappropriate provider behavior, such as purposely misgendering, asking unnecessary anatomical questions, and gossiping or mocking, further dissuade trans patients from seeking care.3,17 Patients of color and/or with disabilities experience higher levels of discrimination, in addition to those facing transportation, financial, or insurance barriers that prevent them from accessing care in the first place.3,7,14,18,19

A first step toward identifying and addressing these gaps in care is to establish conversations that bridge disparate stakeholders with a shared interest in transgender health. Yet even when invited to do so, trans patients may be hesitant to educate medical providers or participate in research.20 Concerns around logistics, fear of being outed, and minimal compensation, along with a lack of awareness of participant opportunities, all contribute to this friction.4,7 Thus, increasing trust between trans patients and providers is a critical element for improving communication between these parties.

Using Social Media to Engage Trans Voices

Other medical fields have recognized the benefits of using online spaces to build trust with patient communities, in part, for the unprecedented access to patient conversations. For example, the field of oncology found that interactions on social media transcended patient-provider hierarchies and facilitated meaningful education.21 Engagement through social media can generate peer-to-peer education and foster support, and debunk health myths.22 Learning about patients outside of clinical settings allows professionals to see their patients as individuals rather than stereotypes, people to fear, medical oddities, or merely “teachable moments.”23

The transgender community thrives on social media as a resource and path to authenticity, permitting the negotiation of what it means to have a marginalized identity, while allowing for anonymity when needed.5,24 Medical professionals can engage with the trans community on an equal plane through online forums (Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, Reddit, and Twitter), where popular trans individuals boast 50,000, 100,000, and even upwards of half a million followers. Social media serves as a platform to discover resources, learn about gender-affirming providers, and build community in the process.5,6 A recent study by Seattle Children's Hospital found that the Internet plays a particularly strong role in the lives of trans youth and their caregivers.15 Another instance of successful patient-provider interaction online can be seen in Reddit's Transgender Health AMA thread. Active participants included prominent trans health providers and institutions such as Dr. Johanna Olson-Kennedy, Dr. Joshua Safer, and Fenway Health; they answered questions posed directly by patients, sharing evidence-based information with the community.

The authors created an online medical perspectives series, Transgender Health: Patients and Providers,§ as another model for promoting patient-centered understanding of trans needs and trans health. Since its launch, over 100,000 views and almost 50,000 unique visitors have found their way to Patients & Providers. The series features guest articles from international providers, representing the fields of psychology, endocrinology, pediatrics, emergency medicine, surgery, social work, nursing, and research, in addition to patient perspectives. By offering themselves as resources, both parties reduce the friction for interactive medical education. The series is hosted on a website** recognized for its accessible intercommunity knowledge, with easy to understand resource articles about nonbinary identity and transition. Medical professionals also make use of this platform, and it is referenced within the UCSF Center of Excellence for Transgender Health Guidelines.†† This dual use by both patients and providers makes it an ideal online space to invite providers into conversations they are already listening to, but perhaps not actively participating in. In one popular article,‡‡ questions were sourced directly from trans community members through social media and reader e-mails, with answers written by primary care physician Dr. Kevin Hatfield. This post-exemplifies active provider engagement with patients' foremost questions and concerns.

However, the limitations to social media must be noted. Anecdotally, some providers reached out to the authors privately (by e-mail or Twitter Direct Message); they were hesitant to publicly endorse practices that are not yet fully supported by medical associations (e.g., starting/stopping hormones and informed consent), even though they use these in their medical practice. While patients are afforded the safety of online anonymity, providers may feel compelled to self-identify, to affirm their legitimacy as professionals. As one commenter shared, “Currently, there's silence and shame on both sides of the Dr.'s table.”§§ Among the technical shortcomings, it can be difficult to quantify the impact of this and other online efforts. Real-time or elaborate back and forth dialogue can be stunted on platforms with character limitations (Twitter), nonthreaded posts (Tumblr), or partial digital privacy (Facebook). Moreover, online samples may skew toward a representation of younger, genderqueer participants; they are not a reflection of all trans identities or needs.25

Conclusion

Our ability to deliver optimal trans-specific health care is severely limited by insufficient trans-specific medical education, a paucity of research that addresses the expressed needs of patients, and discriminatory behaviors in medical settings. Providers guessing what their patients want not only fails to help but can also potentially cause harm. Trans patients need to feel safe enough to seek out trained medical professionals informed by relevant evidence-based research and affirming practices.

The authors recommend using social media to drive professionals' exposure to, and understanding of, transgender lived experiences. Specific engagement tactics can include following blogs and individual accounts, or participating in virtual conversations through community hashtags, to track the diffusion of inaccurate health information, demystify frequently asked questions, or inform crucial talking points overlooked in patient interaction. Virtual interactions also mitigate some of the institutional, logistical, and social barriers that prevent the transgender community from trusting local and global providers in person. In addition, using these transparent data to inform practice and research questions holds institutions and researchers accountable to a public, community audience. Trans-led initiatives on popular platforms bring together both patients and providers as experts of their experience, inviting us all to learn about one another's real needs. Community-driven medical education, research, and practice can expand our notions of transgender health, yielding rich relevant data, and ultimately higher quality care.

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5 Strategies to Drive Patient Retention in the Digital Age

5 Strategies to Drive Patient Retention in the Digital Age | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

Across industries, increasing customer retention rates by 5 percent increases profits anywhere between 25 to 95 percent. This may frame patient retention as an obvious way to increase profits, but in the current healthcare market, it’s much easier said than done.

Why? Patients have become discerning customers – they have plenty of healthcare options, and aren’t hesitant to shop around and compare healthcare networks on patient care, price, and overall experience. Furthermore, Millennial customers, who already outnumber the Baby Boomer generation, are more likely to proactively research cost information, medication coverage, and doctor quality ratings.

With the ever-changing healthcare landscape, marketers must put a focus on patient retention in order to achieve significant growth for your health system. Attracting new patients is beneficial, but keeping them within your healthcare network has the potential for greater ROI.

Let’s take a closer look at five strategies to drive patient retention in the digital age:

 

1. Build Strong Relationships with Multi-Channel Engagement

Each customer has a set of preferences on how, where, and when they want to engage with their health system. That’s why it’s essential for marketing teams to design multi-channel engagement campaigns so customers have the information they need to take the next step when and where they need it.

With an HCRM, marketing teams leverage comprehensive customer profiles using customer and patient data to gain insights into communication preferences. With this information, customers receive more effective and proactive engagement from the provider.

Here are four steps to help you use multi-channel campaigns to build strong relationships and drive patient retention:

Bring Your Data Together—Consolidate your data to one location and begin to establish a central database for all customer and patient information. The use of software, such as an HCRM, integrates data to provide consumers and patients with a seamless experience across channels. 

Find the Right Customers—Target patients who will find your campaign relevant to their healthcare needs. Leveraging an HCRM and predictive and propensity modeling, healthcare marketers can employ precision marketing techniques to pinpoint the right patients to up-sell and cross-sell services.

Use the Right Channels at the Right Time—When deciding how to engage patients throughout your campaign, consider patient preference and access to each channel (digital or otherwise). As the campaign runs, optimize accordingly.

Leverage Journey Mapping—Patient journey maps are where it all comes together. They provide a roadmap for patient engagement and create positive patient experiences and foster loyalty. Patient journey mapping gives marketers the insight and understanding needed to elevate patient experiences at any stage in the journey by keeping consumers and patients engaged based on their needs and preferences.

 

2. Personalize Interactions

As the healthcare market becomes more consumer-centric, healthcare organizations must work to personalize engagement efforts. Personalized interactions improve patient satisfaction, foster patient loyalty, and re-claim customers from competing healthcare networks.

When patient satisfaction improves, healthcare organizations often see fewer missed appointments, reduced readmissions, and more on-time payments, which all contribute to an increase in patient lifetime value.

Take a look at these three tactics to personalize interactions in your healthcare system:

Make Patient Experiences Simple & Efficient—Consolidate any and all communications with patients and ensure a seamless experience across all channels. For each campaign, take advantage of the channels that your audience prefers and is likely to engage.

Automate patient processes where you can to save them time before and after appointments. Maintain clear and consistent communication with all patients in your network.

Quickly Resolve Inquires—Prepare your healthcare call center agents so they can resolve issues quickly and drive patient retention. Develop a set of best practices that call center agents can use to resolve the most common inquiries. With guidelines for agents in place, they’ll be able to personalize call center interactions quickly and effectively.

Use Data-Driven Insights to Provide Actionable Recommendations—Leverage your 360-degree patient views to understand where customers are on their healthcare journey and what exactly they need. Look into channels preferences, campaigns they relate to, and the in-network site of service most convenient to them. Use data insights from the call center, such as the average speed of answer, average hold time, and first call resolution rate, to determine where you’re lacking in your engagement efforts.

Let’s walk through an example:

An existing patient visits his primary care physician complaining of a nagging shoulder injury. The physician recommends physical therapy and gives a referral to sports medicine specialist. After one week, the patient hasn’t followed up to make the appointments, so a call center agent reaches out to the patient to encourage him to schedule the specialist appointment and help him find a physical therapy location near his office. As the patients waits for his appointment, he receives emails with relevant resources to help alleviate his shoulder pain.  

3. Add Convenience Wherever You Can

Consumers are accustomed to technology and now expect immediate, personalized healthcare at their fingertips. With 34 percent preferring retail clinics and 24 percent preferring acute care clinics, Millennial customers aren’t looking to primary care physicians as a first option.

Also, Millennials are most likely to consider the availability of telemedicine options as extremely important. These insights show that convenience is a significant determining factor when Millennial patients consider their healthcare options.

Although it may seem impossible to live up to these expectations, there are steps you can take to make your patient experiences more convenient.

First, make sure all platforms are integrated and provide seamless online experiences. In today’s healthcare environment, many customers look for information online to help make a decision. Make sure any relevant information regarding costs, what to expect, or insurance is easily available on your website.

Next, take advantage of predictive analytics and machine learning to anticipate customer needs (and next steps) for better health outcomes. These technologies analyze data and provide insights for marketers to use to make more informed decisions more quickly.

Last, take advantage of virtual care and other new technology you can integrate into your health system. The presence of virtual care allows healthcare organizations to help patients anytime anywhere.

Let’s take a closer look at some examples of virtual health and other technologies that can add convenience to patient experiences:

Telehealth: Physicians use a webcam and web hosting platform to provide virtual care to patients.

mHealth: Mobile health apps provide patients with easily accessible healthcare information.

Social Media: Healthcare organizations can start broad discussions or respond to specific patient needs/inquiries.

Wearable Technology: Devices like the Fitbit and Apple Watch track patient health metrics, such as heart rate, and could be monitored in applicable patients (with their consent) to improve health outcomes.

4. Attain a Higher Standard of Service

Providing better service may seem like the simplest way to retain customers, but in order to achieve it, cross-departmental cooperation and collaboration is necessary. Although it may seem the marketing team has little control over quality of service, there are things you can do to change your patients’ perception of the care they receive.

Use these three keys to improve the quality of service in your healthcare organization:

Transparency: Make patients feel like they have control over their healthcare by providing them with all information needed to make an informed decision. In addition to healthcare portals, consider creating content patients and customers can reference when they have a specific issue. Become a trusted resource for your patients beyond in-person visits.

Availability: From appointments to surgery, a healthcare organization should make sure patients can be seen in a timely manner. Marketing needs to be involved and aware of operational issues. For example, the marketing teams shouldn’t run a campaign for a service line that doesn’t have appointments available for months.

Hospitality: Go the extra mile for your patients whenever you can. Use an HCRM enabled engagement center to create positive patient experiences both in and out of the hospital. Simple actions like confirming appointments in advance, scheduling appointments in advance, and reaching out for over-due visits not only speed up processes, but make patients feel good about your healthcare organization.

5. Seek Customer Feedback

The last – and maybe most important – strategy to retain customers is to listen. Administer patient feedback surveys to gain an understanding on of how patients feel about your healthcare organization on a group and individual level.

Like any other piece of content, you’ll want to use the channels your patients prefer. This may mean reaching out through an email, a phone call, or even a direct mailpiece. Analyze your results and look for trends. If you find a common issue, dig a little deeper and act on that feedback to resolve the situation.

For example, let’s say that an analysis by the marketing team reveals many patients are upset about waiting over three months for orthopedic surgery. As a result, patients are seeking other care options and the hospital is losing potential revenue. In coordination with the operational leaders, it’s determined that the service line is understaffed for the current market demand and there is a need for an additional surgeon to join the hospital.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, patent retention is all about providing excellent service. Your marketing team should work in concert with healthcare providers to proactively engage patients and promote wellness.

Invest in tools and tactics that help make patients feel special and not just “one of many”. The more patients that you’re able to keep in your healthcare system, the greater the ROI and patient lifetime value.

Stay on top of your patients’ changing preferences, and make them want to stay. Learn more about how to deliver world-class patient experiences that improve patient loyalty and drive patient retention.

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Digital Marketing & The Front Desk: Can They Work Hand-in-Hand?

Digital Marketing & The Front Desk: Can They Work Hand-in-Hand? | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

Can your medical front desk staff handle your marketing in their “spare time?” We advise against it. Time is difficult enough to spare, and digital marketing deserves the time and attention of someone with the right marketing expertise.

Regardless, your front desk staff does play a key role in the success or failure of your digital marketing. Even the best advertising campaigns cannot succeed without the help of your front desk.

Impact on the Marketing/Sales Funnel

The front desk staff plays a crucial role in your sales and marketing “funnel.” Let’s take a look at how they factor in with your digital marketing:

We’ll use a basic sales funnel (pictured above) to represent the buyer’s journey (the patient’s journey) into your office. Here’s an example of a typical patient journey through digital marketing.

  1. Awareness: Casually scrolling through her Facebook feed, someone within your target demographic sees a paid advertisement for your organization.
  2. Consideration: Months later, she needs to schedule an appointment with a doctor. She runs a quick Google search for your specialty and finds your organization near the top of the organic or paid search results. 
  3. Decision: The decision-making process is easy for this particular patient. She’s already familiar with your brand (since she saw an ad several weeks back). Your website is modern, and your office is just what she’s looking for.
  4. Purchase/Appointment Booking: She calls the front desk, nearly ready to make an appointment…until she’s left on hold. The person on the phone seems disorganized and uninformed. The prospective patient decides to explore other options.

While you could lose patients at any point in the process, it’s all too common for leads to drop during the final step. This is the stage in the funnel at which the patient is most ready to book an appointment. Any failure at this point is a critical error.

Think of it this way: A conversion rate of 20% (2 patients booked for every 10 callers) may seem decent enough. However, booking just one more patient for every 10 callers increases your gross margin by 50%

Front Desk Pitfalls and Training Opportunities

If you’re paying for digital marketing—and even if you’re not—it’s imperative your front desk staff is trained to follow up with leads appropriately.

That means consistent evaluation and training opportunities. You owe it to your staff, your patients, and your business to see that phone calls are handled properly. And a “nice” team doesn’t always cut it. Some common pitfalls:

  • Rude staff, long wait times – Even the best employees can have an “off” day. Pair your digital advertising with HIPAA-compliant call tracking. That way, you can monitor calls to have meaningful discussions with employees about what does and doesn’t work.
  • Too much information – Well-meaning staff members may unintentionally dole out medical advice instead of getting the patient into the doctor’s office.
  • Inconsistent branding/messaging – Your brand is what sets you apart. Unfortunately, the front desk is often the last to know when branding messages shift, which creates inconsistency in the patient journey.

It takes more than a positive attitude. As we say time and time again: Medicine is a profession. Healthcare is a business. To see your business grow and thrive, you’ll have to spend time finding consistency between your marketing and front desk.

Shared Messaging/Branding

The success of your marketing depends on the politeness and tenacity of your staff. But it also depends on key staff members familiarizing themselves with your message. This includes the messaging used throughout your website and digital marketing. Consistent messaging throughout the marketing and sales funnel offers peace of mind to prospective patients.

For example, patients expect the front desk staff to be familiar with any special offers or pricing mentioned on your website. They also want to hear that your staff is familiar with the services described on your website and your advertising. That’s why it’s crucial that any changes are immediately reported to both the digital marketing team and the front desk.

In addition, the branding from your staff’s tone, message, and information should reflect your branding. Your brand is what makes you unique. Your staff should be ready to tell someone at a moment’s notice what it is that sets you apart.

If your marketing touts your doctor’s expertise, the staff should be able to recite (or quickly look up) the doctor’s key qualifications. If your website mentions convenient appointment times, the latest technology, a relaxing environment, etc., the staff should be able to speak to these, too.

As long as your digital marketing is handled properly, a well-trained, well-informed front desk should have few problems getting people into the office.

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Digital Marketing For Healthcare: What You Need To Know

In terms of technological advancement, the healthcare industry has to be on top of this. Be it an improvement in treatment, examinations, or equipment, healthcare providers need to work and provide a higher level of service and care for patients. This must include advancement in the digital sphere since today’s customers are more dependent and reliant on websites and applications for updates on most matters.

Digital Marketing for Healthcare

 

The healthcare industry must follow this stride and stay at the forefront of advancement. Here are the things you need to know to build a strong healthcare digital marketing strategy so you can reach more patients and keep a patient-centered service:

User-friendly websites

The website will be the first thing your patient sees if he’s looking for a hospital. This will serve as your warm welcome and where patients will have their first impression. How your website looks and how easy it is to navigate through will play a crucial role in your patient’s decision to visit your hospital or healthcare center.

More or less, when someone visits your website, they want to find out answers quickly. You can get help by contacting a digital marketing agency for healthcare as well. As much as possible, make the user experience as easy as a pie.

Blog with information and facts

 

Having an informational blog on your webpage will increase your legitimacy and competency. A robust website will entail blog content on useful information about health conditions, FAQs, primary healthcare, and quick tips for the patient without going to the hospital.

Make sure to choose relevant topics and schedule them accordingly. Some relevant topics are the following:

  • Treatment centers
  • Kinds of treatment
  • Symptoms of common diseases
  • Medical Breakthroughs

Writing about these topics helps to keep you at the top when patients scroll through your page. This can also boost your readership and website traffic.

Strategic and informative emails

Email your patients. This will let them feel and know that you still care and remember them. While it is true that patients search the internet for your website, it’s better to have the information given to them before they even look for it.

Sending out email newsletters monthly or quarterly will continue to provide your patients with advice that they can use to take care of their own health. You may use email personalization to send out emails based on your patient’s needs and interests to have them receive relevant information. In the same way, plan these email blasts ahead of time.

Educational and inspirational videos

Your patients will also appreciate receiving educational and inspirational videos regarding health. Currently, people are leaning towards accepting visual content.

Getting your doctors to speak in front of a camera regarding their expertise can increase the healthcare center’s visibility and credibility. Watching a professional describe the facilities and treatment can increase the level of comfort of patients and make them feel at ease. This is also a good place to put testimonials to inspire patients who are going through the same situations.

Strategic SEO

Even though you already have the most user-friendly website, it is still possible that your website will not pop out of search engines. This is where search engine optimization comes in.

Through incorporating search engine optimization strategies, you can generate and increase organic traffic by focusing on specific keywords patients will use in their search. You can use keyword research tools such as HubSpot or SEMrush to find the highest ranking keywords.

Social media marketing strategy

A majority already uses social media, so this also poses as a great tool for connecting with your patients. If your healthcare facility is not on social media, you’ll be losing many patients out of unawareness. This is a big opportunity to connect with potential patients from different age groups and backgrounds.

This can also be a helpful tool to reach out to people who are looking for a healthcare facility. Furthermore, a lot of people trust social media posts especially by doctors, so social media is actually a very good promotional tool. As usual, you must still plan your posts wisely and schedule them strategically to expand your reach.

Hope these tips were able to help you build your digital marketing strategy for your healthcare facility. Developing a digital marketing strategy will not only boost your readership but also help out patients alike.

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Three Ways Voice Search Is Changing Digital Marketing

Three Ways Voice Search Is Changing Digital Marketing | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

The future of search is here: advanced visual and voice search capabilities have become increasingly prominent in helping consumers more easily find the products they love. People are searching more often while they’re on the go, as 50% of all search queries are from mobile devices. This means verbally describing or sharing a photo of the item may be more efficient than taking a moment to type out search terms. In this two-part series, we’ll explore how these advanced ways to search are changing the digital marketing game.

Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri are becoming household names, thanks to the rising popularity of voice search. Voice-based devices like Alexa and Siri are providing new avenues for product searches and subsequently, different ways for consumers to search for products (via verbal cues). Forrester predicts that smart speakers will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 50.9% to reach 166.2 million in 2022.

Marketers are recognizing these new search habits with the growth of connected home devices as a new opportunity to drive brand interest. A study by Googlefound that 52% of voice-activated speaker owners want to receive information about sales, deals, and promotions from brands and 39% would like to receive options to find business information. Forrester found that four in ten Alexa users engage with the device at least once a day. As consumers seek more ways to make multitasking more effective, speech-to-text is becoming an ideal solution for busy people who want to easily and quickly tackle tasks like making reservations or locating the nearest auto shop by saying a sentence or two.

With this new marketing channel comes a new obligatory “search path” for marketers to strategize around, monitor, and track. Let’s explore three ways voice search is changing the game for marketers, and how they can prepare for it.

Rethinking Content

As voice assistants become more affordable, it’s important for marketers to think of how they are going to reach consumers with and without a screen. That’s why marketers will have to work with developers to take syntax and natural speech into account as a result of voice searches. Screenless browsing is expected to account for 30% of browsing by 2020, so the days of mindlessly scrolling on phones may be limited.

Because voice search can make reaching audiences more challenging, marketers must be prepared to make changes to how their content is conveyed. They should rethink their content to fit the natural language their consumers use and consider. When people are speaking, they tend to use more words and longer sentences than when typing, according to DBS Interactive. For example, Amazon advises its Prime members to ask, “Alexa, what are your deals.”

Getting Smart on AI’s SEO Role

Voice-activated searches return results by processing the user’s question or search terms, and then skimming search engines for the correct answer. Similar to searching a topic on Google, the most SEO-friendly (besides promoted content) answer will pop up first. Google Home and Google Assistant read featured snippets when they answer verbal queries, so companies are vying to be result one on page one.

AI makes screenless communication more efficient as it learns more about the consumer. It’s important tounderstand AI and how it works with SEO to benefit from voice search. Consumers are using this feature when they’re on the go, so catering to this behavior will make them recognize that the brand is accommodating. If the consumer gets a helpful answer, they’re more likely to take the next step.  

AI can be implemented to help with more complex searches, such as looking for a restaurant chain with several locations in the same city. With machine learning, this technology can pick up in user search behavior and process longer voice queries and question-phrased terms. AI platforms will try to answer questions in a conversational, human way. Also, AI will make location and navigation searches easier by integrating with tools like Google and Apple Maps.

Site Rankings and Advertising

Marketers and advertisers have spent a lot of time trying to improve site rankings, but users aren’t being presented with ten different options to consider anymore. With voice search, the consumer is likely to choose the first result they hear after saying “Hey, Siri” followed by a question. A recent Bright Local survey found that 58% of consumers surveyed have used voice search to find local business information during the last 12 months. If a brand isn’t the first result  appearing within the search engine results (SERPs) , it’s likely that the device isn’t going to recognize the brand as a result.

Brands can stay ahead of their competitors by catering to user search intent. Keep it informational, navigational, and transactional. Prioritizing SEO can boost the company’s online presence, and put them front and center in voice search results.

It takes more than a few keywords to optimize how audiences find your business via voice search. Getting to know consumers better and understanding how AI works with SEO can help brands be successful as they take on advanced voice search.

RampUp on the Road New York  is happening tomorrow and Thursday! Hope to see you there and if not, follow us on Twitter to get a tweet-side seat of our esteemed speakers on stage, including Freakonomics authors Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt.

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NHS in Fortnite and Facebook? It would put mental healthcare where it's needed

NHS in Fortnite and Facebook? It would put mental healthcare where it's needed | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

Screens now dominate so much of people's daily lives, it's no wonder that digital environments can very easily become sites of mental disorder. This is an especially big problem for young people, who are growing up with unprecedented access to technology. According to recent research, 54% of US teens reported feeling that they spend too much time on mobile devices, and two thirds of parents are worried about this as well.

But while some would seek to curtail young people's exposure to digital worlds—by banning smartphones in schools, for example – it's unlikely that restrictions will really change behaviour. For many young people, it's as normal to be on social media as in any other social setting. While familiar concerns about screen time emerge in the context of new digital experiences, such as popular survival game Fortnite, it's clear that a fresh strategy is needed to prevent the very real harms that can come from spending time online.

In 2018, the World Health Organisation described the characteristics of gaming disorder as "significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning and would normally have been evident for at least 12 months". And as social media becomes more like a game, it fuels even greater concern. Indeed, the CEO of NHS England Simon Stevens suggested that social media companies should bear some responsibility for the mental health crisis facing young people.

Evidence has shown that time spent on social media can lead to feelings of anxiety or depression, negative body image associations, sleep disruption, fear of missing out and cyber-bullying. Clearly, the time people are spending within digital worlds requires special kinds support, which aren't currently on offer.

A compelling case

So, what if health services and support could be brought into digital environments, where harm occurs – rather than merely hoping young people will go and seek them out elsewhere, after the fact?

Users could be granted access to mental health support from professionals while they're online – whether they're scrolling through social media, or playing an online game. The greatest harm to players is likely to take place, or at least begin to develop, within these digital worlds. And there, too, lies the greatest opportunity to provide support.

There is a precedent for this: when a television documentary, soap opera or news bulletin deals with a challenging subject, viewers are invited to phone a helpline, if they feel they've been affected and UK regulator Ofcom makes such support systems a matter of guidance for broadcasters.

The case for having the NHS present within Facebook or Fortnite is even more compelling, since it would provide a real-time response to the emotions people experience while they are within the virtual world.

High tech health service

For many years, the NHS has worked to guide people towards digital health apps, while seeking to build relationships with developers and technology companies to promote credibility, validity and trust. The organisation is on the verge of launching a single NHS App, through which patients can access services.

But this will only be effective if people use such applications on a regular basis. The infrequent user may never make the NHS App part of their lives. So, rather than placing a tax on social media platforms to ensure their social obligations are met, the NHS could work with them to develop in-platform support services. The data and insights from these services could then also inform digital development within the NHS.

This would go some way towards creating a digital dividend from social media, in a way that need not undermine their business model, which is a crucial obstruction to their sharing of data. This is all the more important, since the NHS will continue to lose access to important health data, which is increasingly locked up in privately owned digital services – a phenomenon likely to grow as artificial intelligence begins to create even more solutions for healthcare.

A deeper conversation

There have already been promising collaborations along these lines. The recent relaunch of Google's Fit app initiates the user by informing them that the creators worked with the WHO to create some health and fitness targets for their daily lives.

An integrated solution would be a far richer way to ensure that commercial organisations stay in touch with public healthcare priorities, creating a much better situation for their customers and healthcare provision more widely. It would also ensure that public health never falls behind, which is a significant concern as more and more of our lives are played out in privately-owned digital worlds.

Digital developers should consider how they integrate healthcare services for their players within their platforms, to meet their social responsibilities for the health of their users. There is a good chance that this kind of provision will be far more effective than setting up separate digital services aimed at treating the suffering that arises from time spent in digital worlds. But the biggest gain of this proposal will be that these two sectors – healthcare and technology – can have a deeper conversation about how to respond to the apparent rise in mental health concerns among young people.

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Everything You Need To Know About AI In Healthcare

Everything You Need To Know About AI In Healthcare | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

A study by Accenture has predicted that growth in the AI healthcare space is expected to touch $6.6 Bn by 2021 with a CAGR of 40%. As on today, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are well and truly poised to make the work of healthcare providers more logical & streamlined than repetitive. The technology is helping shape personalized healthcare services while significantly reducing the time to look for information that is critical to decision making and facilitating better care for patients.

Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare has immense potential to improve costs, the quality of services, and access to them. Here’s how –

Overview of Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare

According to CIO, AI-powered healthcare are driving meaningful changes across the entire patient journey. Applications of Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare primarily revolves around-

  1. Making healthcare providers efficient and productive
  2. Providing a far more streamlined and robust experience to in-patients and out-patients
  3. Making back-end processes effective and organized

But, clinical applications of Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare are rare – a trend we expect to change soon. Here are a few potential and current implementations of AI and Machine Learning in Healthcare.

Virtual Assistants for Patients and Healthcare Workers

The key driver for adopting virtual nursing assistants has been the shortage of medical labour that often leads to pressure on the available healthcare workers. A virtual assistant powered by AI can enhance the communication between patient as well as the care provider while leading to better consumer experience and reduced physician burnout. With a voice recognition technology, voice biometrics, EHR integrations, and a speaker customized for healthcare, Nuance Communication had unveiled an artificial virtual assistant in September 2017.

When physicians appear to be taking time with their patients, the latter end up feeling cared for and carry a sense of contentment. A virtual assistant can carry out the initial dialogue between the patient and healthcare provider, setting the tone for more in-depth conversations later. By doing so, a virtual assistant for healthcare can take some responsibilities off the shoulders of physicians, allowing them to focus on delivering better service and care.

AI-Powered Chatbots

Chatbots powered by AI can make a world of difference to healthcare. A report by Juniper Research states that chatbots will be responsible for saving $8 Bn per annum of costs by 2022 for Retail, ecommerce, Banking, and Healthcare. As inquiry resolution times get reduced, and the initial communication gets automated, the healthcare sector can expect massive cost savings through the use of chatbots.

AI-powered bots can help physicians in healthcare diagnosis through a series of questions where users select their answers from a predefined set of choices and are then recommended a course of action accordingly. The same research study also predicts that the success of chatbot interactions where no human interventions take place will go up to 75% in 2022 from 12% in 2017.

Knowledge management systems will become a critical part of chatbots for AI where the common questions and answers would be accumulated throughout the life of a solution, aiding in the learning process of the chatbot. You can read more about how conversational AI will impact healthcare in this article.

Robots for Explaining Lab Results

In 2017, Scanadu developed doc.ai. The application takes away one task from doctors and assigns it to the AI – the job of interpreting lab results. The company’s first software solution makes sense out of blood tests. The application was planned to interpret genetic tests, and then other tests would be added to the list.

The platform works with natural language processing to converse with the patients via a mobile app and explains their lab results to them in a way they can understand. The technology is powered by AI and relieves doctors from their not-so-favorite part of the healthcare process, allowing them to focus on the more critical aspects. Walter DeBrouwer, the founder of Scanadu, believes that these applications of Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare are only expanding the decision tools in the domain, enabling physicians to avail necessary help in order to make critical decisions.

Robot-Assisted Surgery

Microsurgical procedures in the healthcare space require precision and accuracy. Robots powered with AI are assisting physicians to help reduce variations that could affect patient health and recovery in the longer term. Robot-aided procedures can compensate for the differences in the skills of physicians in cases of new or difficult surgeries, which often lead to implications for the health of the patient, or costs of the procedure.

Robots are known to have skills humans don’t. With robot-assisted surgeries, doctors can eliminate any risks of imprecision or anomalies in the procedure. As machine learning and data analytics reach new heights for healthcare, robots will be able to uncover critical insights and best practices for any surgery.

Inefficiencies and poor outcomes will be substantially reduced, ultimately leading to better patient care and service delivery. With robots conducting or assisting doctors in surgeries, training costs can be saved, and routine tasks can be automated with precision.

Automated Image Diagnosis with AI/ML

Medical image diagnosis is another AI use case in healthcare. One of the most significant issues that medical practitioners face is sifting through the volume of information available to them, thanks to EMRs and EHRs. This data also includes imaging data apart from procedure reports, pathology reports, downloaded data, etc. In the future, patients will send even more data through their remote portals, including images of the wound site to check if there is a need for an in-person checkup after a healing period.

These images can now be potentially scanned and assessed by an AI-powered system. X-rays are only one piece of the puzzle when it comes to medical imaging. We also have MRIs, CT scans, and ultrasounds. IBM’s celebrated implementation of AI, Watson, already has applications of AI in healthcare. IBM’s AI-powered radiology tool, IBM Watson Imaging Clinical Review sets the ground for more innovation to happen in the image diagnosis aspect of healthcare.

Personal Health Companions Powered by AI

People today need medical assistance in the comfort of their homes, for as long as they can. For the first preliminary overview of any symptom, personal health companions have become popular amongst people all around the world. Babylon Health is a UK-based start-up that has developed a chatbot for the early prevention and diagnosis of diseases. When the application receives a symptom explanation from a user, it compares the same to its database and recommends an appropriate course of action based on the history of the patient, his circumstances, and the symptoms he reports.

Similarly, Berlin-based Ada is a similar companion that uses AI and ML to track the patient’s health and provides insights and understanding to the patient for any changes in their health.

Oncology – Detecting skin cancer with AI

Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare also talks about deep learning. Researchers are using deep learning to train machines to identify cancerous tissues with an accuracy comparable to a trained physicist. Deep learning holds unique value in detecting cancer as it can help achieve higher diagnostic accuracy in comparison to domain experts.

One of the current applications of deep learning in healthcare is the detection of cancer from gene expression data, something researchers from Oregon State University were able to do with deep learning. This use case opens us to the long-ranging and critical impact of deep learning on the oncology industry today and in future.

AI in Pathology

Pathology concerns with the diagnosis of diseases based on the analysis of bodily fluids such as blood and urine. Machine learning in healthcare can help enhance the efforts in pathology often traditionally left to pathologists as they often have to evaluate multiple images in order to reach a diagnosis after finding any trace of abnormalities. With help from machine learning and deep learning, pathologists’ efforts can be streamlined, and the accuracy in decision making can be improved.

While these networks and AI-powered solutions can assist pathologists, we need to clarify that artificial intelligence is not replacing physicians in this regard any sooner. Deep learning networks can only become so efficient when they get experience and learning over a period, just as physicians do.

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AI in Healthcare, specifically in pathology, can help replace the need for physical samples of tissues by improving upon the available radiology tools – making them more accurate and detailed.

Rare Diseases Detection with AI

Rare diseases pose challenges for AI. While their detection is one of them, we also need to ensure our healthcare systems are not inclined towards detecting rare diseases when the diagnosis could be something commonplace. Through a series of neural networks, AI is helping healthcare providers achieve this balance. Facial recognition software is combined with machine learning to detect patterns in facial expressions that point us towards the possibility of a rare disease.

Face2gene is a genetic search and reference application for physicians. In this solution, AI scans through the image data of a patient’s face and spots signs of genetic disorders such as Down’s Syndrome.

Another similar solution is Moon developed by Diploid which enables early diagnosis of rare diseases through the software, allowing doctors to begin early treatment. Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare carries special significance in detecting rare diseases earlier than they usually could be.

Cybersecurity Applications of AI in Healthcare

Errors and frauds mar the landscape of healthcare. Therefore, one of the more critical applications of AI in healthcare is ensuring the security of data and solutions. Fraud and breach detection traditionally relied on running rules and reviewing systems manually. However, as AI has become poised to help detect breaches, it is estimated that $17 billion can be saved annually by improving the speed of fraud detection.

Cybersecurity has become a significant concern for healthcare organizations, threatening to cost them $380 per patient record. Using Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare for monitoring and detecting security anomalies can create trust and loyalty as the foundation for more digital disruption in the healthcare space.

Medication Management with AI and ML

The AiCure app developed by The National Institutes of Health helps monitor medication by a patient. With a motto of “Intelligent Observation. Better Care.”, the application enables autonomous confirmation that a patient is regularly consuming the prescribed medication. A smartphone’s webcam is integrated with AI to manage medicines for the patient.

Frequent users of the system could be patients with severe medical conditions, those who voluntarily miss their medication, and participants of clinical trials. There are benefits of medication management in dealing with patients who have mental conditions that stop them from regularly taking necessary medicines prescribed by their physician.

Health Monitoring with AI and Wearables

Health monitoring is already a widespread application of AI in Healthcare. Wearable health trackers such as those offered by Apple, Fitbit, and Garmin monitor activity and heart rates. These wearables are then in a position to send all of the data forward to an AI system, bringing in more insights and information about the ideal activity requirement of a person.

These systems can detect workout patterns and send alerts when someone misses out their workout routine. The needs and habits of a patient can be recorded and made available to them when need be, improving the overall healthcare experience. For instance, if a patient needs to avoid heavy cardiac workout, they can be notified of the same when high levels of activity are detected.

The role of Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare is not limited to these. As trends emerge and physicians look for newer ways to improve healthcare services and experiences for patients, we will have novel concepts turning into reality. While the healthcare space is buzzing with innovation, it will be a while before these systems can be made affordable, scalable, and available to all healthcare institutions.

In the complex world of healthcare, Artificial Intelligence can support providers with faster service, early diagnosis, and data analysis to identify genetic information to predispose someone to a particular disease. Saving seconds could mean saving lives in the healthcare space & that is the reason why AI and ML hold such significance for every patient.

AI working hand-in-hand with doctors, physicians and healthcare providers is likely to continue to be the current course for a while, and eventually, it will get to a point where it will be a crawl-walk-run endeavour with less complex tasks being addressed by bots. At Maruti Techlabs, we work extensively with leading hospitals and healthcare providers by assisting them in deploying virtual assistants that address appointment booking, medical diagnosis, data entry, in-patient and out-patient query addressal and automate customer support through the use of intelligent chatbots and Robotic Process Automation.

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5 ways social media helps healthcare organizations get more customers in 2018

5 ways social media helps healthcare organizations get more customers in 2018 | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

In most industries, social media strategies are a given. Whether companies like it or not, they must have a social media presence to attract new customers, interact with their existing ones and build awareness around their brand.

But only recently has the healthcare industry started to take note of the amazing benefits social media provides to the world. In this article we are going to quickly review 5 key benefits social media presents to health organizations.

 

 

1) Social Listening in social media healthcare marketing

In 2018, social media in healthcare has become a popular channel for patients to give feedback to healthcare companies they interact with. Social media gives healthcare organizations insights into customers’ mindsets and affinity to a brand and makes health organizations aware of what their customers are looking for and how their perceive their brands.

In social media marketing,  a term has been coined for companies who have defined a clear strategy for their online presence. It’s called “Social Listening”, a process defined as keeping an ear out and gathering information about customer opinions around a specific organization. Social Listening not only helps companies learn about customers’ satisfaction levels with a brand but also tells organizations a great deal about customers’ preferences or which diseases are affecting them at a specific moment in time.

Healthcare organizations who are just starting to experiment with social listening have analytics who monitor social media channels and report up the chain of command any trends they may notice of social media. More mature health organizations have even hired social media experts and managers whose primary role is to monitor companies’ social media channels and meaningfully engage in productive conversations with their followers online.

 

2) Social media influencers in healthcare marketing

Another phenomenon brought forward by the rise in popularity of social media platforms is the concept of a social media influencer.  An influencer is a person who has a large following on social media. These people have become popular due to their expertise, helpful tips and tricks, and thought leadership exhibited online. Some of the most famous healthcare influencers out there today include health advocates, public figures, physicians and medical experts.

Every day, for any kind of medical condition, there is an online community being formed, where people can help each other virtually. For example, the recent movie from Netflix, Bleeding Edge, explores how a woman who was profoundly affected by a medical implant gone wrong, the Essure sterilization device, had build a Facebook group and brought together more than 18,000 other women who also suffered from the same condition after trying out Essure. The Facebook group called Essure problems was prominently featured in the Netflix movie.

In this particular case, we see how social media influencers had effectively led to a medical device being withdrawn from the US market. Indeed, one week after the Bleeding Edge movie was released to market, Bayer announced that they will stop selling the medical device in the US citing a “decline in sales”.  

Healthcare marketers should seriously consider engaging with influencers on social media. There are many influencer marketing guides out there today and they all stipulate to one simple fact: if a healthcare organization wants to reach new customers or better engage with their existing customers, the influencer route is one of the most effective methods to achieve that goal.

Influencers have very close-knit communities who follow them and their overall recommendations. Influencers appeal to their followers because they are genuine leaders who say what they believe in without any fear of repercussion. According at least one social media whitepaper, influencer marketing is one of the most effective ways for healthcare organizations to reach a specific target audience in 2018.

 

 3) Building authority by educating customers with multimedia content

Social media is one of the biggest tools for communicating with the masses. It can act as a source of information for patients suffering from different kinds of diseases.

But social media is not only about posting quick tweets or instagram pictures. In healthcare in particular, social media has become a tried-and-true method for meaningfully engaging with patients and their families. For example, many doctors and hospitals all over the world are now using multimedia content to attract new patients and to help current patients get healthier over time. Some hospitals have also resorted to social media to humanize their brand and to showcase their state-of-the-art facilities.

Across the board, multimedia content (especially short videos) have helped thousands of health organizations get more awareness around their brand, get new customers and better engagement rates with their local communities.

 

4)   Using social media as a teaching tool for healthcare organizations

Social media can help healthcare organizations present themselves in a more attractive and appealing way to potential customers. For a healthcare organization, that obviously means having appropriate and relevant information for people to access online. A brands’ social media outlook can make a huge difference because it can attract new customers and also help make existing ones more loyal towards a healthcare brand. Because of these many benefits, more and more health organizations are finding themselves using social media to post informative “how to” articles and videos that help prevent diseases, manage current chronic conditions and also alert patients of potential conditions they may be suffering from.  

In today’s day and age, most young people first go to Google before physically going to a medical professional. That makes creating original content one of the most attractive social media strategies every health organization should pay close attention to, and adopt, in 2019.

 

5)  Use social media to engage in meaningful conversations about policy and the practice of healthcare

One of the est things about social media healthcare platforms is that they help patients meet professional medical experts who can guide them and help them in their hour of need.

 

Through various social media apps, doctors can communicate with their patients and even conduct research live. Social media forums give a voice to patients so they can have productive communication with experts. For example, many doctors have started using social media features like “Facebook live” to reach new audiences and engage with their potential customers. Other healthcare professionals have become social media celebrities in their own right with hundreds of thousands of followers on social media.

 

Summary:

Social media remains a largely untapped market for many healthcare professionals. But we’re definitely seeing the needle move in the right direction. At its core, social media is simply another digital channel for health organizations to engage in meaningful conversations with the current and future customers.

That said, the power of social media in healthcare should not be underestimated. Social media can help organizations build more awareness, engage with customers live, gather honest feedback and more. So if you’re a marketer in healthcare, do listen to our advice and unleash your social media power today!

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#ImAtWorkLeo: Doctors and nurses using social media to remind Taoiseach they're working non-stop over Christmas

#ImAtWorkLeo: Doctors and nurses using social media to remind Taoiseach they're working non-stop over Christmas | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

Hundreds of healthcare workers are using social media today to remind Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Health Minister Simon Harris that they're working non-stop over the Christmas period.

The Taoiseach caused controversy last month when he suggested that healthcare workers should not take holidays during the first two weeks of January in a bid to solve A&E overcrowding.

Mr Varadkar was challenged at the time to publicly apologise to hospital workers for saying emergency department problems are caused because they don’t "turn up" for work over the Christmas period.

Mr Varadkar faced a wall of criticism from all political parties for his remarks about the causes of over-crowding, queues, and reliance on trolleys, at hospital emergency departments.

The Taoiseach told the Dáil it was time the hospitals operated "at full whack" over the upcoming Christmas holiday period, December 22 to January 3 next. 

He also warned that consultants and nurses must not take holidays in the first fortnight in January.

Fianna Fail frontbench spokesperson Billy Kelleher described the Taoiseach’s comments as "flippant and insensitive" to health service workers "who go above and beyond the call of duty every Christmas"..

"If I was cynical, I’d wonder whether the Taoiseach actually made these flippant remarks in an effort to distract from his admission that he and his government have no ideas on how to deal with ED overcrowding.

"Instead of trying to scapegoat our health workers, the Taoiseach, his Minister for Health and HSE senior management need to look at themselves and what they have, and have not delivered," Mr Kelleher said.

Earlier, Mr Varadkar directly called on the HSE not to sanction additional holidays for doctors and nurses over Christmas.

Today, as hundreds of thousands enjoy their Christmas holidays, hundreds have taken to Twitter to vent their frustration using the hashtags #WeAreWorking and #ImAtWorkLeo.


Journalist Graham Clifford posted an image of his wife, writing; "So here's my wife Catherine -a local GP who is working today as well as most of the Christmas and New Year.
Jenny Doyle@JennyPennnyy
 
 

Bringing some festive cheer to the X-ray department. Contrary to popular belief, we are open 24/7, 365 days a year!! #ImAtWorkLeo #WeAreWorking @campaignforleo @SimonHarrisTD

 
169 people are talking about this
 
 
Graham Clifford@GrahamJClifford
 
 

So here's my wife Catherine -a local GP who is working today as well as most of the Christmas and New Year. We have 4 young children, the smallest just 1-year-old who won't see much of her. But she gets on with it, working hard and doing her best like so many others. #ImAtWorkLeo

 
332 people are talking about this
 
 
holly molotov 1800 828 010 #WeWillProvide@NursepollyRgn
 
 

It’s Christmas Eve babe,
in the hospital,
a young woman’s blood pressure, sure I’ll take another one,
and then I ran along,
To the lab with bloods a few,
I turned my face away,
And thought of all the work still to do#ImAtWorkLeo

 
73 people are talking about this
 
 
John Duddy@DrJohnDuddy

Merry Christmas from 'The Nutcracker Suite' at Beaumont Neurosurgery! We'll be taking emergency calls from all over the country 24/7 over the Christmas period, just like the rest of the year. Make sure a new helmet comes with the new bike tomorrow! #WeAreWorking#ImAtWorkLeo

  

"We have 4 young children, the smallest just 1-year-old who won't see much of her. But she gets on with it, working hard and doing her best like so many others."

One healthcare worker wrote; "Three 24 hour shifts in 6 days and 2 in the last three. It cool if I take a day or two off to celebrate Christmas with my fam @campaignforleo?"

Another penned a poem to the tune of 'Fairytale of New York'; "It’s Christmas Eve babe,

in the hospital, a young woman’s blood pressure, sure I’ll take another one, and then I ran along...

"To the lab with bloods a few, I turned my face away, And thought of all the work still to do."

The team at Beaumont Neurosurgery shared a group photo and wrote; "Merry Christmas from 'The Nutcracker Suite' at Beaumont Neurosurgery!

"We'll be taking emergency calls from all over the country 24/7 over the Christmas period, just like the rest of the year."

They also warned; "Make sure a new helmet comes with the new bike!"

In the west, healthcare workers wrote; "Greetings from Sligo radiology department. Wishing all my colleague working here in Sligo and across the HSE a peaceful Christmas and New year.

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Want better outcomes? Improve communications

Want better outcomes? Improve communications | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

Healthcare and technology. They’re a match made in heaven. In fact, the industry boasts some of the most advanced technologies and scientific breakthroughs available today. Ideas that would have once seemed like science fiction have become reality. We’ve got artificial intelligence (AI), 3D printing of medical devices or biological materials, robotic-assisted surgeries, remote health tracking, virtual reality. The list goes on and on.  

 

Unfortunately, medical organizations often fail to take advantage of technology in one of the most basic (but important) of its processes: communication. Traditional processes often create critical communication gaps that hurt collaboration, care, and—ultimately—outcomes. There are communication breakdowns happening throughout the entire continuum of care. Just as small holes in a ship can eventually lead to a catastrophic sinking, small holes in your communication can sink your practice as well. 

It’s important to continually inspect your “medical ship” and see if you have any gaps that may eventually become big problems. By arming your practice with the latest communication advancements in technology, you can alleviate these problems and develop a strong continuum of care experience (and bring that ship safely home!). 

What leads to communication gaps?

Between rising deductibles, increased competition, and falling reimbursement levels, medical practices have recently been tightening their belts to pay for overhead, staff, and simply keeping the doors open. As a result, many practices have been forced to schedule as many appointments as possible in a single day. The average physician sees around 21 patients in a single day—leaving a total of just 10-15 minutes per patient. Unfortunately, this means that there isn’t a lot of time for meaningful communication. On average, patients have just 11 seconds to explain the purpose of their visit before a physician interrupts. This rushed experience can inadvertently lead to patients being ushered out before fulling understanding their diagnosis or treatment plan—ultimately leading to poor outcomes and patient dissatisfaction. One big hole in patient communication is the expectation that all necessary communication will take place during those rushed few minutes. 

Look to technology to fill these gaps

Cutting-edge technology can improve the communication process before and after an appointment. Today’s modern society is accustomed to using technology to communicate. Take chatbots, for example. Once upon a time, having a website was all you needed to communicate online. That is no longer true. Today virtual chatbots can be a stop-gap for communication between you and the patient. These bots use artificial intelligence to answer some of the most common questions patients have. If the bot is unable to answer the question, that patient is then handed off to your office. The best thing about chatbots is that they are so sophisticated today that the majority of patients will never know that they were speaking with AI. 

Another great technology that often gets forgotten is text messaging. Practices often send out appointment reminders to patients via text, but it is much less common to regularly talk back and forth. Today, there are a variety of technological tools that allow you to easily communicate with patients through text message, no matter where you are (stuck in a boring meeting, for example). The best part is that technology has advanced to a point where these conversations can be compliant with regulations like HIPAA.

Automated outreach between visits is another key to boosting communication with patients. Whether through newsletters or social media, technology has given us the ability to automate a significant amount of communication. Newsletter templates can be personalized to your practice and then scheduled to automatically be sent to patients. Likewise, you are now able to sit down and schedule out social media posts as far in advance as you want. Through these touchpoints, you can remind patients of the kinds of things they should be doing to improve their health.

Don’t forget internal communication

Studies show that poor communication among practice staff can be just as detrimental to health outcomes as poor patient communication. When staff members fail to effectively communicate with one another, inefficiencies and mistakes are the result. It’s easy to see why 96 percent of healthcare executives say that poor intra-office collaboration leads to mistakes within their organizations and two-thirds of employees say that their colleagues could help them do their job better. 

With today’s intra-office communication technology available, communication between staff members is far easier. Medical practices have options that include things like custom chat rooms, direct messaging, notifications, photo sharing, and so on. Instead of needing to hunt down coworkers, staff can now simply shoot off a quick message and get a reply. Implementing these technological platforms helps staff members share their expertise with one another easily and efficiently, reducing the number of mistakes and miscommunication that would otherwise take place.  

As patients become more and more discerning when it comes to their health, practices need to take a serious look at where they may be lacking. Communication is one of those crucial areas that is often overlooked. Taking advantage of the technology solutions offered today when it comes to communication can improve patient outcomes, leading to happier patients, higher retention rates, fewer malpractice suits, and a healthier bottom line.

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Build Your Patient Base with High-Quality Patient Reviews

Build Your Patient Base with High-Quality Patient Reviews | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

The lifeblood of any practice is a steady influx of new patients. Any potential new patient who is trying to find a doctor is likely Googling you. That means they’re seeing what other patients have to say about you in the form of patient reviews.

 
When was the last time you looked at your patient reviews, doctor? Have you ever?

And for you employed physicians who are thinking you’re off the hook, guess what: You might have a Google business page without even realizing it. Any Google user has the ability to create a Google Business page listing. It’s up to you — or your employer’s public relations or marketing department — to claim and manage it. Maybe it’s time to have a word with the head of marketing.

Regardless if you’re a self-employed physician, or you’re on the payroll, what patients have to say about you is more critical than ever. Here are some keys to generating more high-quality patient reviews.

Focus on what your patients read before selecting a doctor

Take a look at what patients are saying about you on the big-three platforms: Google, Facebook and Yelp. Google is the top priority. The quantity and quality of your reviews have implications for where your business listing ranks in search results. Google Business reviews are also most likely the first reviews potential patients will see.

Take an objective look at what patients are saying. Do you notice any patterns?

For employed physicians, ask yourself:

  • What are patients saying about my bedside manner? How could it be better?
  • Am I being clear enough in explaining testing, diagnosis and prognosis?
  • Am I making sure patients are getting the appropriate amount of attention from nurses and support staff?

For self-employed physicians, ask yourself:

  • Are criticisms directed at me or my team?
  • What are patients saying about customer service? Are they waiting too long or encountering rudeness on the phone or at the front desk? If so, do you need to make any front-office personnel changes?
  • Are patients criticizing front-office procedures, such as patient intake or scheduling appointments? If so, what can you do to streamline these processes?

Once you’ve identified patterns, create processes to address the criticisms.

Engage for more high-quality patient reviews

You or someone on your team needs to engage with the people who are reviewing your practice — even positive reviews. A simple thank you will speak volumes to prospective new patients who are checking out you or your practice. It shows that you care.

Things are slightly more complicated for negative reviews. Keep in mind that you must be mindful of patient privacy at all times, and just because a patient has disclosed their identity or the nature of their treatment doesn’t mean you can discuss it in a public forum.

For negative reviews, acknowledge the complaint. You don’t need to accept blame. Tell the patient how important their satisfaction is to you and say that someone from the office team or hospital will be reaching out to discuss the matter further. If you’re an employed physician, check with your employer’s marketing team to see if they have a process in place for responding to or contacting these patients.

The easiest way to get more patient reviews

If you want more online patient reviews, the easiest way to get them is to ask. Odds are, there are patients that you have been seeing for years who you know are satisfied with the level of service. And odds are, none has taken the time to leave a review.

At the end of their visit, you or someone on your team should make it a habit to ask them to leave you a review. Use a printing service to create business cards that explain where and how to leave a review and give these to patients before they leave. Again, check with your hospital administration to see if they’ve established any processes for patient satisfaction reviews.

Make sure that the patients aren’t leaving the reviews on an office or hospital computer or while connected to office WiFi. Google, Yelp and Facebook might penalize you if they notice a steady stream of reviews coming from the same location or IP address.

Make obtaining patient reviews easier

If you want to further streamline the process of obtaining more online patient reviews, automate it. Patient marketing services abound. Inking a contract with one of these services can give you access to a steady stream of new reviews. Many will automatically send a patient satisfaction survey to patients after their visits. If the survey results are positive, they will prompt the patient to share their experience on Google, Facebook or Yelp. Employed physicians: Your employer might already have a system like this in place. Check with your marketing team to make sure the system is actually working for you.

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Social media ads shown to help increase screenings for patients with cancer

Social media ads shown to help increase screenings for patients with cancer | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

For many consumers, it can be hard to keep track of various doctors’ appointments or tests, even though they are beneficial to overall health.

To help combat this issue, researchers from Colorado’s Cancer Screen Program (CCSP) are looking to attempt a different tactic. They’ve tried targeting patients using a more modern approach.

The group was hoping they’d get more people in for colonoscopies and other pre-cancer screenings if they used various advertising avenues, including Facebook, radio ads, and text message reminders that encourage patients to follow through with these critical appointments.

Seeing what works

The researchers began by spreading the word about the text message reminders through Facebook ads, local fliers, and radio bits. “The idea was to start a text messaging campaign for cancer prevention,” said CCSP Director Andrea Dwyer.

The advertisements urged consumers to sign up for text message updates about when they should be making appointments for cancer screenings -- specifically, colonoscopies. While the researchers found that both fliers and radio ads were unsuccessful, they did have better luck with Facebook.

Over 95 percent of users that signed up for the text message updates via Facebook advertisements actually utilized the service being offered. They kept their phone numbers enrolled and were seeing the reminder messages.

“Facebook was a good mechanism,” Dwyer said. “Engagement was high with Facebook ads, and those who viewed ads clicked through to the sign-up page, an indication of intent to enroll.”

Moving forward, the group is hopeful this initiative can be helpful for people -- particularly those in more rural areas. They would also like to see patients automatically signed up for these reminders at their primary care offices, and then have the choice to opt out, rather than the other way around.

Facebook under fire

Despite the positive results these researchers received from utilizing Facebook ads, it hasn’t always been positive for the social media giant -- especially where ads are concerned.

Earlier this year, the company rolled out a new identification process for anyone trying to advertise a political message.

Amidst the massive scrutiny following the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook is trying to get back on its users’ good sides and ensure that their data remains private. This move explicitly notifies users of any ad that is political, and makes the authorization process stricter for anyone looking to advertise anything political.

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Liked, loved, shared: What got physicians talking this year | American Medical Association

Liked, loved, shared: What got physicians talking this year | American Medical Association | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

Gun violence. The fight for gender equity. Physician burnout. Heartbreak at the border. These are among the issues that got people talking and sharing on social media in 2018. In a timely way, the AMA set forth physicians’ views, tools and resources on these and other hot-button topics. Learn about the big moments that struck a chord with patients and physicians on social media.

You can follow the AMA now on TwitterFacebookLinkedIn and Instagram.

Insights on physician burnout spark big reactions

Let’s start with the clear No.

1. This Facebook post highlighted survey research that sheds light on how physician burnout compares by medical specialty and drew thousands of comments, reactions and shares on the world’s most popular social media service.

Regardless of specialty, the evidence shows that what most drives physician burnout are systemic and organizational factors. The AMA offers research, practice-improvement strategies and other resources to transform your practice and address your well-being.

Most viewed

This highly viewed tweet laid out the stakes very simply as “What you need to know about financial planning before starting residency.”

The tweet highlighted a very timely AMA news article, “Financial planning for residency: 3 take-home points,” and earned the most views.

Most popular

This International Women’s Day tweet struck a responsive chord with readers by foreseeing a day when gender equity is the standard.

The tweet highlighted the results of an AMA survey about female physicians’ top concernsand was our most popular in the sense that it drew the most engagement of any kind from readers.

Most shared

A powerful statement from Bobby Mukkamala, MD, an AMA Trustee, rightly earned lots of attention from physicians and other readers concerned about the family-separation crisis at the U.S. border.

This widely shared AMA tweet featured Dr. Mukkamala’s quote: “Children leaving the chaos of their home countries should not be further traumatized by the U.S. government policy of separating children from their caregiver. It’s inhumane and risks scarring children for the rest of their lives.”

At the 2018 AMA Annual Meeting in Chicago, the AMA House of Delegates adopted policy opposing the immigration-enforcement practice.

An Instasmash

This post marking Dr. Patrice Harris’ historic election was our biggest hit on Instagram.

Dr. Harris, a psychiatrist, is the first black woman to hold the office of AMA president-elect. She will be inaugurated as AMA president in June 2019.

Most clicked

This is the tweet that landed the most click-throughs in 2018, and it is no surprise given its compelling topic. “Physician burnout in the U.S. is an epidemic, and most physicians (yes, even the ones you know), are likely suffering from #burnout too,” the tweet says.

The AMA news story link featured, “Every doctor you’ve admired has dealt with burnout,” showcases the burnout stories of six of America’s most accomplished physicians.

Most loved

A post on gun violence that launched a Twitter thread drew more “likes” than any other AMA tweet in 2018. The tweet—posted in connection with the March for Our Lives gun-violence protests—drew upon a column by AMA Immediate Past President David O. Barbe, MD, MHA that was written in the wake of the  Parkland, Florida, massacre. It featured his quote, “We are talking about a public health crisis that our Congress has failed to properly address. This must end.”

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Cancer Patients and Social Media 

Cancer Patients and Social Media  | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

Oncologists should help cancer patients be savvy about social media, a recent reviewargued.

Judicious patient use of social media can improve health outcomes, according to an earlier survey. However, benefits of social media for cancer patients, such as psychosocial support and patient engagement, can be offset by drawbacks including misinformation and privacy violations.

 
With social media's potential for both benefits and harms for cancer patients, oncologists and other healthcare providers have an obligation to help patients use social media wisely, researchers wrote this month in Journal of Oncology Practice.

"Oncology professionals are encouraged to speak with their patients about social media and to suggest best practices to enjoy the positive and circumvent the negative aspects of social media. As social media platforms continue to modify the social landscape, the oncology community must recognize and act on their influence on patients with cancer," the researchers wrote.

The researchers highlighted five benefits for cancer patients from social media:

1. Promotes patient engagement and empowerment

The researchers reviewed 170 studies of patients using information technology, which showed 89% of the studies found positive impacts on health, such as weight loss. In addition, 83% of the studies found enhanced patient engagement, such as text messaging for diabetes patients to access clinical data.

The researchers also found social media can help empower patients by giving them an opportunity to mentally process their cancer experience. Earlier research has shown empowered patients are more likely to attend checkups and screenings.

2. Provides psychosocial support

Earlier research has associated social support with better physical and mental health. Social media communities can help cancer patients who do not have in-person social support by reducing social isolation. Social media can also help cancer patients have conversations about emotional, spiritual, and physical treatment barriers.

3. Offers informational support

Social media can help cancer patients find oncology information. Social media can also spark incidental learning, such as hashtag searches on Twitter that inadvertently connect cancer patients with online support communities. Video platforms like YouTube can overcome healthcare literacy barriers.

 

4. Enhances the physician-patient relationship

Cancer patients should not use social media to interact with their physicians, but accessing oncology information through social media can increase confidence in relationships with physicians. Experiencing physicians sharing oncology information on social media can improve patients' perceptions of medical professionals in general and improve relationships with their healthcare providers.

5. Find clinical trials and cancer research education

Social media can help cancer patients find clinical trials for particularly isolated populations who can be reached through social media advertising. Patients with rare forms of cancer can join social media groups targeted at their diagnosis, where they can connect with trial recruiters and other research opportunities.

The researchers also highlighted five social media drawbacks for cancer patients:

1. Substitute for in-person support

"Social support from social media ranges from infrequent and unstructured to regularly scheduled formal online support groups," the researchers wrote. Behavior on social media can interfere with in-person assessment and treatment. Social media use can become impulsive, which could impede in-person interactions.

2. Misinformation

Online health information is often unreliable compared to information from healthcare providers. Online research should form building blocks for conversations with caregivers. Cancer patients should also keep a vigilant eye on conflicts of interests, such as healthcare professionals not disclosing their ties to medical supply and pharmaceutical companies, then promoting them on social media. With the untrustworthy nature of information online, cancer patients should be skeptical of information gathered through social media and fact check it with healthcare providers.

3. Financial exploitation

For cancer patients, financial perils on social media include unproven cancer cure claims, such as vitamins and special diets. Another risk is medical ads on social media that promote unnecessary procedures and treatments.

4. Information overload

Cancer patients who have internet access can be overwhelmed with medical information. Earlier research has linked information overload with anxiety over the inability to comprehend the avalanche of information and harness it for decision-making.

5. Compromised privacy

Social media users face privacy risks. Social media are public forums, so cancer patients should avoid posting private information. Patients should avoid sharing information that could be identifiable, including age, disease type, sex, and location.

How Physicians Can Help

There are three primary ways healthcare providers can help cancer patients navigate social media safely and effectively, according to the Journal of Oncology Practiceresearchers.

  • Experience cancer-related social media, including exposure to content that patients are viewing.
  • Help patients navigate the benefits and drawbacks of social media, such as by gauging the social media sophistication of a patient or cautioning patients to be skeptical about information found through social media.
  • To limit privacy risks, physicians should not offer medical advice via social media or interact with their own patients via social media.

 

This report is brought to you by HealthLeaders Media.

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How the Digital Marketing Cycle Actually Works + Why You Should Care

How the Digital Marketing Cycle Actually Works + Why You Should Care | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

We know that we talk about it all the time, but we’re going to say it again for the folks in the back: the digital landscape has drastically changed the way that people make health appointments. The reality is that the average adult spends twice as much time online as they did 13 years ago (about 20 hours a week to be exact).

So, digital marketing isn’t just a bonus element of your health & wellness marketing strategy - it is your marketing strategy. It's the best (and cheapest) way to get more patients in the door.

Understanding how marketing works in the digital world is less intuitive than you may think. In order to succeed at every stage of the digital marketing cycle, you need to understand how that cycle works.

What is the Digital Marketing Cycle, anyway?

The digital marketing cycle stems from the idea that every digital campaign experiences five stages. When done correctly, these five stages should convert all of your hard work across various digital media into customer actions that fulfill your campaign objectives (i.e. more patient appointments requested through your website).

The Five Stages of the Digital Marketing Cycle:

Setup

During the initial set up period, you’ll work on establishing your baseline and your digital media infrastructure. The goal of this period is to gain followers and initiate potential patient relationships, laying the groundwork for offline interactions. From there, you’ll begin to develop a content strategy and increase the number of touch points that you have with your patients.

“Marketers need to build digital relationships and reputation before closing a sale.” – Chris Brogan, Chief Executive Officer of Owner Media Group

Traction

Once your digital marketing presence has been set up and your initial strategy established, you’ll move into the traction phase. During this period in the digital marketing cycle, your goal is to gain traction on the internet - especially on social media and mobile platforms. You should work to transform your set touch points into conversation points and increase customer service for your patients.

Are you putting in too much time trying to gain traction? Learn how to generate more patients with your existing website here.

Positioning

As your campaign begins to gain traction, it will evolve into the positioning phase. At this point, your conversation points should become points of conversion. This is the period where you’ll really start to see results: increased patient requests, increased revenue, and health & wellness brand loyalty are the goals of the positioning phase.

Expansion

With a sophisticated digital marketing strategy under your belt, your campaign will move into the expansion phase. This period will focus on gaining brand power and establishing a consistent stream of appointment requests and revenue. You’ll also begin to establish some recognition as a leader in the health & wellness industry.

Viral Growth

In an ideal world, a marketing campaign continues to have lasting effects long after it ends. The viral growth phase looks to the future, where your marketing campaign helps you to expand your audience exponentially and continues to bring in new patients and revenue opportunities.

What would a 50% monthly increase in online patient appointment requests mean for your business? Start converting website visitors into patients in just 4 easy steps.

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Your Hospital's Digital Marketing Strategy Checklist

Your Hospital's Digital Marketing Strategy Checklist | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

You’re likely ready to outline your 2019 healthcare marketing strategy and hope to find the right balance between traditional and digital marketing. It seems the last couple of years our clients have been trying to maximize their budgets to the fullest extent and realize their return on investment. To us, the answer is simple: Invest in digital marketing because it gives you the opportunity to better track return! Here are several guidelines to help craft a winning digital marketing plan!

Your answers to the following questions will help guide you:

  1. How much do you understand your target audience, their decision journey and touchpoints with your brand?
  2. Are you making full use of your paid media?
  3. How are you monitoring and managing earned media?
  4. Is your owned media performing to its full potential?

When optimizing a comprehensive marketing plan for your hospital or health system, there are several aspects to consider. The RACE (Reach, Act, Convert, Engage) framework helps healthcare marketers plan and manage their digital marketing activities in a structured way.

REACH: Building awareness of your brand or being present, visible and available when your target customer has a moment of need for your services.

ACT: Encouraging engagement from your consumers on your website or in social media to generate interest. It's about keeping their attention long enough to compel them to take the next action on their journey.

CONVERT: Compelling your audience to take that vital next step which pushes them closer to becoming a patient (e.g., schedule an appointment online).

ENGAGE: Developing a long-term relationship with your patients to build retention and brand loyalty as retained patients boost customer lifetime value for healthcare organization.

In the following paragraphs you’ll find a checklist that will help you maximize the RACE framework and keep track of the main elements you’ll need to integrate into your strategy.

  • Target Market: The keystone of any effective marketing strategy. Marketing your healthcare organization (providers, locations, services, etc.) effectively will require you to identify your “best” client or customer. No one can afford to target everyone, so focusing your marketing dollars and brand message on a specific market that is more likely to buy from you, is an affordable, efficient and effective strategy.
  • Gap and Historical Analysis: Conducting a gap and historical analysis can help improve your business efficiency, your product and your profitability. Once complete, you will be able to better focus your resources and energy on those identified areas in order to improve them.
  • Competition: To win in the market, your team will need access to timely, relevant information about competitors and changing market conditions. Identify your competitors, gather information, analyze the competition’s strengths and weaknesses, talk to them directly and identify your competitive advantage.
  • “Buying Cycle”: As you coordinate your marketing strategy, ensure you take into consideration the various steps in the health consumer’s selection process, the patient journey, and how you hope to push leads and prospective patients further through the funnel.
  • Goals and Objectives: Having clear digital marketing objectives, aligned with your hospital’s goals, will help you spend money wisely and grow your market share.
  • Put your digital marketing plan into action! Communicate with your team often and build excitement.
  • Measure: Create a scorecard that will help you track and measure metrics for all of your marketing activity. Your promotional efforts can and should be measured using a variety of metrics that are specific to the channel or tactic. Metrics empower you to adjust your tactics and maximize results.

  • Conversion Rate and Landing Page Optimization: Higher conversion rates means more qualified leads, and more qualified leads means more profit potential. While it is important to continue innovating and improving the elements of your landing pages, too many changes can overwhelm your visitors. Be consistent, make incremental changes and narrow your focus to improve the experience for prospective patients.
  • Performance across Devices: It’s crucial to know historical performance across multiple devices. Have paid ads performed better on mobile? If so, what mobile devices should you focus on? Once your yearly objectives have been established, you can begin to manage specific tactics at the device level. This will enable you to intentionally develop techniques that cater to the devices your most important audience is using.
  • Tactics and Channels: Use a combination of tactics and channels to make it easy for the right health consumers to find you! What new tools should you integrate into your marketing strategy? Are you ready for Voice Search or other innovative channels to help health consumers access your healthcare organization? Assessing your performance and doing a competitive analysis are fun phases in your digital marketing planning but nailing down tactics and channels is the most vital aspect of the plan.
  • Promotions: We typically don’t talk about “promotions” in healthcare marketing but think of these as opportunities to engage your audience with targeted, relevant and personalized content. When promotions are planned and prepared in advance, you will have a better chance of success. Planning minimizes the overwhelming last minute rush to get landing pages and creative approved.
  • Timeline: To execute your plan, it is important to have a timeline in mind. While the timeline will likely need to be flexible, having a schedule lets you visualize the tactical execution and make sure you are on par with projected results. Create a marketing schedule that includes launch and optimization of all campaigns and all other marketing activity.
  • Resources: Determine which resources will be required to get the plan started. Establishing who is responsible for what will create accountability across teams, which is needed for a successful implementation of the plan and measurement of results.
  • Revisit, Adjust, Adapt: Although you have taken every step to carefully construct a plan based on a set of insightful assumptions and analysis, you still can’t predict how health consumers and prospective patients will behave. It is essential to continuously measure and monitorthe performance of your digital marketing strategy and to change elements where needed.
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How Digital Marketing Will Change the Health Care Industry

How Digital Marketing Will Change the Health Care Industry | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

The health care industry is well known to lag behind other industries when it comes to marketing by about two years. Between HIPAA compliance regulations that dictate how patient information is used and stored and FDA restrictions that put a microscope on how a lot of health care organizations market their products, it can be scary to adapt to changing marketing trends in such a heavily regulated industry.

However, Rafael Lugo, a general surgeon in Houston, is working to change that tendency by helping other doctors reach and engage today's tech-savvy patients and physicians through digital marketing. From his experience, Lugo says, digital marketing is no longer optional for hospitals and practices, insurance providers, pharmaceutical companies, medical device manufacturers, or other organizations in the health care space.

 

According to a recent study by Epocrates and other device manufacturers, 96 percent of physicians own smartphones and between 56 percent and 76 percent own tablets. Multiple studies have shown in-house physician smartphone use at approximately 80 percent.

Likewise, recent research reveals that more than 80 percent of physicians are using general browsers, Lugo says. "They are using search engines, like Google, in diagnosis, treatment, and ongoing care," he said. "Also, patients are using it to find and engage with health care organizations, which is why digital marketing is critical for the survival of a physician's practice." 

According to a Think With Google study, 84 percent of patients use both online and offline sources for hospital research. Likewise, search engines drive nearly three times as many visitors to hospital sites compared with nonsearch visitors, and 44 percent of patients who research hospitals on a mobile device schedule an appointment.

"It is impossible to build a successful strategy without the right online content," Lugo said. "To succeed in today's developing health care industry, physicians and hospital groups need to constantly produce new content that not only gets them found but also enables them to capture leads for new patients." 

 

From blog posts to social media updates, videos, e-books, webinars, and more, you need to publish content that will get you found online by the search engines and social media channels your target audience uses to learn about health care services and products. "From my perspective as a doctor," Lugo said, "I saw a great void in the digital marketing space for physicians, so now I am actively helping other doctors and health care organizations use these tools to find the patients in an economical way by simply providing worthwhile content and strong branding in their marketplace. It truly is a win-win for the patient and physician." 

While there is a long way to go, digital marketing seems to be changing even the most stable industries. Which industry will be disrupted next?

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7 Effective Tips for Medical Firms Using Google Ads to Drive Customers

7 Effective Tips for Medical Firms Using Google Ads to Drive Customers | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

If you run a medical firm, your main priority is to help as many people as possible live long and healthy lives.

But it can be difficult to help people who need it if you don’t have any patients at your practice.Maybe you dabbled in online digital spending and Google Ads, but haven’t gotten the results you were looking for.

According to the Google Economic Impact Report, businesses make an average of $2 revenue from every $1 spent on Google ads. In looking at your own ROI, do you know if your medical firm above or below average?

 

1. Make landing pages relevant to the ads

For your ads, whether they’re print or online, continuity is one of the most important elements. Did you promise a 15% discount on your ads but then not follow through on the deal on your landing page? Then that’s going to make your prospects mad and look like false advertising. They will be more likely to bounce out of your page and lose trust in your business.

Look at your landing page as a continuation of your ad. Therefore, in some ways your ad is a summary of what search engine users should see on your landing page. Here are some ways to ensure relevancy of your landing page to your ads so that people are more likely to convert:

Use the same headline: The headline of your ad should match that of your landing page.

Maintain the same offer: The offer on your ad should also match the offer that you have on your landing page- the visitor will expect to receive information about how to take further action.

Here is an example of an ad that has the call to action “Access the Guide”:

 

Even though there’s a similar headline, there’s nothing about how to access the guide on the landing page:

 

Here is another example of an ad:

On the landing page, you can see that the headline doesn’t match. And the content on the landing page talks about a sports surgeon, not orthopedic surgery. The content of the landing page doesn’t match what draws in a person through the ad.

Overall, whatever copy you use on the landing page make sure you use on the ad copy as well. Of course, there could be a slight modification but stick to the same intent. Looking credible is very important in Healthcare Marketing.

2. Add negative keywords

In many cases, your ads may show up for medical keywords that are similar to the keywords you bid for. However, it’s important to specify keywords that you don’t want to rank for.

These are keywords that are the opposite of what your company stands for. In simple terms, visitors that search these keywords are unlikely to take the actions you want them to take.

For instance, if you provide paid medical consultation services, ranking for “free medical consultation” is a waste of your ad budget because someone who clicks your ad from this search term is unlikely to pay for your consultation service. The problem though is that you’ll pay for those clicks that don’t generate any business and lose precious funds for your Healthcare PPC campaign.

You can use Adwords planner to find negative keywords in your Healthcare PPC campaign:

After compiling a list of negative keywords, you can add them in using the Ads editor. Click on “Keywords and targeting” and then “Keywords, Negative.” Then click on “Make multiple changes”:

Select “My data includes columns for campaigns and/or ad groups” if you have a data sheet. Then add these keywords into the campaign level:

Select “Use selected destinations” to add campaigns or ad groups manually:

After uploading your negative keywords, click “Finish and review changes”:

After this, you can keep or reject the keywords.

3. Implement the right keyword match types

To make your ads effective, you have to use the right keyword match type. The 3 types of keyword match you can use are:

Broad match: This type of match allows Google to display your ads for synonyms of your keywords. For instance, if you bid for a keyword like “medical clinic”, your ad may also appear in a “medical practice” search. However, you should only do this if you have a big budget.

Phrase match: For this type, your ad appears when your specified phrase appears in the search term. For instance, if your phrase is “medical clinic”, your ad will appear for “best medical clinic” and “general medical clinic”.

Exact match: Your ad only shows up when the search term matches your specified keywords. For instance, your ad will only show up “medical clinic” if that’s your specified term.In an exact match, you should only select a match type based on what your potential customer will search for and what’s within your ad budget.

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Instagram influencers share gruesome 'Ebola' selfies in shock Doctors without Borders campaign 

Instagram influencers share gruesome 'Ebola' selfies in shock Doctors without Borders campaign  | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

A campaign to raise awareness of Ebola has left social media users baffled, after bloggers posed for gruesome selfies with make-up that made they look bruised and bleeding.

Instagram influencer Kristine Verheyden from Belgium, for instance, shared two images with her 15,200 followers including one alarming snap where it looked as if her eyes were bleeding. 

The pictures were part of a campaign by Doctors Without Borders Netherlands (Artsen Zonder Grenzen) called 'Face it' to draw attention to life-threatening illnesses.

However, some have called the images 'inappropriate' and 'strange', including a nurse for Medecins Sans Frontiers who accused the organisation of 'stigmatising' Ebloa patients and treating them as 'objects of horror'.

Another concerned commenter said it looked as if influencers were 'ridiculing' sufferers. 

 
+8
 

As part of the Doctors without Borders campaign social media influencers including Belgian blogger Kristine Verheyden are sharing harrowing selfies with bloodied and bruised faces and eyes to resemble the symptoms of Ebola 

 
+8
 

The campaign, featuring influencers such as Kristine, is to raise awareness of Ebola and to encourage people to donate to Doctors Without Borders Netherlands to fight the outbreak of the condition

Kristine Verheyden initially alarmed her followers when she posted the bizarre selfies.

'What's going on??' 'I was really shocked about this,' 'what's wroooong??' commented some visibly shaken fans.

 

Verheyden eventually revealed the truth: 'I have participated in a campaign for @artsenzondergrenzen and for that we have infected the Internet with Ebola, to make you aware About these horrific diseases, that @artsenzondergrenzen fight against every day, are real !!'

Dutch actress Eva van de Wijdeven, presenter Nellie Benner and makeup guru Mascha Feoktistova also took part in the campaign. 

 
+8
 

Former Newcastle Falcons rugby player Jay Jay Boske from Utrecht, shared an image of himself with bloodshot eyes and painful looking lesions on his face, created by make-up 

 
+8
 

Radio host Barry Paf from The Netherlands posted this smiling selfie with bloody make-up to remind people Ebola is still rife in various countries 

All participants called for people to donate money to Doctors Without Borders Netherlands in order to help fight Ebola outbreaks around the world.

However, their social media stunt divided Instagram users with one writing on Mascha's post: 'What a very strange way to spread "awareness" of Ebola.

'By smearing some make-up on your face and then making a smiling selfie, it is more like pretending to ridicule the problem.

Not to mention the remark "this is how I would look with Ebola" in the photo. Come on.

 
+8
 

The campaign imagery has been blasted by some members of the public who thought that posts by influencers such as blogger Mascha Feoktistova seemed to be 'ridiculing' the problem 

 
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Blogger Mascha Feoktistova posed in front of the mirror with the fake blood, contact lenses and darkened make up around the eye area for the campaign

'As an MSF nurse working in DRC now, I am very concerned seeing this Ebola awareness campaign,' another wrote. 

'I know the intent was very good and trying to help, yet these images are very inappropriate and stigmatising to our patients with Ebola.

'We need to treat our patients with dignity and not treat them as objects of horror,' reads one comment on the Artsen Zonder Grenzen's Instagram page.

 
+8
 

The campaign has come under fire from medical staff with some branding posts, such as this one by presenter and actress Nellie Benner from The Netherlands, insensitive

 
+8
 

Medical staff are 'very concerned' by the campaign which has taken the social media world by storm 

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Some seemed to be under the impression that the selfies aimed to raise awareness about domestic violence rather than Ebola.

Others followers completely missed the mark and complimented the influencers on their beauty.

Ebola symptoms are diverse and unforgiving. They go from fevers and severe headaches to abdominal pain, vomiting and unexplained bleeding and bruising (as depicted in the pictures). 

Right now the Democratic Republic of Congo is going through its worst outbreak. 25 cases have been reported in the last few weeks and the virus is reported to have reached on of the country's biggest cities, Butembo. 

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Top 5 Effective Digital Marketing Strategy For Healthcare Organizations

Top 5 Effective Digital Marketing Strategy For Healthcare Organizations | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

The healthcare industry is liberal in plenty of ways today, but it has been taking a lag behind when it comes digital marketing strategies. Even though not entirely influenced, several sectors of this industry are yet to know how a universal reach can be achieved through digital marketing tactics and approaches. In this informative and interesting post, we are going to address this big issue and going to explain how Digital Marketing Plans and Policies can change the Healthcare Industry worldwide.

 

1. Get Responsive Website

 

Do you know about one-third of patients use mobile devices for research or to book appointments with doctors? Physicians and Surgeons regularly use them in-office to help their patients learn about treatment, procedures, and medications and to access information quickly. Therefore, healthcare groups must consider the advantages of transitioning to responsive website design (RWD).

 

Though developing a responsive site needs more effort in the starting, it removes the need for a separate mobile website and provides a consistent digital experience for your target customers as well as making sure consistency on a broad range of devices such as smartphones, computers, and tablets. In addition to this, managing one site lets you focus on developing a single and powerful web strategy, which boost visibility, conversions, while decreasing expenses.

 

2. Use Seo Tool

 

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one the best tool of Digital marketing that every SEO services India company uses. You can boost your content quality simply by the positioning of specific keywords used by the patients for searches on search engines.

 

Besides, SEO tool is also more helpful to provide the best looking of your site contents, email newsletter, and information blogs. This tool increases the ranking of your web page on search engines. Every single SEO company India is using SEO tool to enhance their client business.

 

3. Create Rich, Informative And Quality Content

 

Once you have developed a responsive website, now you have to create unique and quality content for the website promotion. Smart content is one of the best ways of any business digital marketing. A big number of people across the globe search on search engines related to healthcare services and you can take benefits of all these searches with creating quality content that gives useful information on health treatment, procedures and advice and tips and many more.

 

 

With the help of a great content or blog, health care organizations can make a strong relationship between them and their patients. Most of the healthcare centers and clinics’ are using blogs digital marketing strategy to increase popularity.

 

4. Know The Power Of Social Media

 

Today, a great way to engage patient is Social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, etc. Leverage your Facebook account to post videos, blogs, news, articles, patient reviews & feedbacks and more. The power of the reference is a key in health care because patients and their families looking for diagnoses frequently turn to patients with alike experiences. In addition to this, social media also provides hospitals and clinics the chance to share patient stories and connect people.

 

 

These days a large number of people believe in learning visual contents through informative videos. So, if you are running your own healthcare center or clinic, then you can hire a digital marketing agency in India to promote and increase your business through visual video activities. You can also share your experience and services of your hospital or clinic with your target audience. YouTube is one of the best platforms available today for sharing your videos and get consumer popularity.

 

5. Track ROI Of Digital Campaigns

 

A key advantage of digital marketing is that you can track results to specific digital marketing campaigns. This is extremely to understand for healthcare marketing professionals what is working or what is not what needs to be optimized, how to use marketing funds cleverly for the best possible outcomes.

 

 

They would run marketing campaigns before adopting any digital marketing strategies and hope for good results. After that your hired best digital marketing company in India can build campaigns by using past data and adjust campaigns in anytime if they are not producing desired outcomes.

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3 Marketing Investments Your Healthcare Organization Should Make in 2019 · 

3 Marketing Investments Your Healthcare Organization Should Make in 2019 ·  | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

In this age of ever-changing healthcare policies and high patient expectations, developing a solid healthcare marketing strategy is crucial to your success in the healthcare industry. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

To help you tackle the task, we recently surveyed a group of healthcare marketers to better understand their goals and challenges as marketers in the healthcare industry.

More than half (51%) of the marketers we surveyed said their main objective in 2019 is to grow the number of new patients to their organization. Another 30% indicated that improving their website and growing their overall online presence are top objectives.

What might hold them back from achieving these goals? The top challenge (reported by 22% of survey respondents) is the changing behaviors and expectations of consumers. In other words, marketers are struggling to keep up with rising expectations for easy, accessible, digital communication and care.

The good news? Over 80% of healthcare marketers expect their marketing budget to stay the same or increase for 2019, so they aren’t trying to improve their strategy with a shrinking budget.

To help you decide where to allocate your time and money in 2019, we’ve pulled some key insights from our healthcare marketing research. Here are the top three marketing investments your healthcare organization should consider making in the next year:

#1: Social Media

Believe it or not, social media has emerged as a top channel for healthcare marketers. Among those we surveyed, 30% said social media has been their most important marketing channel in 2018.

Another 24% of healthcare marketers said they expect social media to be the channel that experiences the most growth in 2019, which tied with SEO as the top answer (see below for more on that).

Nearly 80% of Americans use social media, so it makes sense for healthcare organizations to create visibility there. If you’re looking for a relatively easy way to organically promote your practitioners and services, get on social media. Setting up your accounts is easy, but you will need to dedicate a good amount of time to staying active and promoting useful content. You might also want to invest in videos, since they tend to get a lot of engagement from social audiences.

#2: Search Engine Optimization

In addition to social media, healthcare marketers are starting to pay more attention to search engine optimization (SEO). As mentioned above, the healthcare marketers we surveyed reported both social media (24%) and SEO (24%) as the top channels where growth is expected in 2019.

Every year, roughly 93 million Americans search for a health-related topic online. If you want your organization to be on top of the search results, you need to implement a strong SEO strategy. 

What does that mean in 2019? For starters, location-based searches and voice searches are gaining popularity. More than 43 million people across the United States now own a smart speaker, so it’s important to optimize for both voice and text searches. Use appropriate keywords (including those related to location), use natural language, produce content that answers people’s health questions, and pay attention to your reviews (more on that below).

#3: Reputation Management

Did you know positive online reviews can enhance the performance of your other marketing efforts, including paid, social, and SEO? What about that more than 80% of patients are now consulting patient review websites with some frequency to gauge provider reputation and/or to leave ratings and reviews?

If this is news to you, you’re not alone.

Only 5% of the healthcare marketers we surveyed saw review sites as a top marketing channel in 2018, and only 8% indicated that online reviews would be a top area for growth in 2019. 

Reputation management may not be on your radar, but it should be.

About 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends and family, so investing in reputation management software and taking charge of your profiles on public review sites is worth it. You can also issue patient satisfaction surveys and solicit positive reviews from those who indicate high satisfaction.

If you’re looking to improve your healthcare marketing strategy, consider making strides in the areas of social media, SEO, and reputation management. Want to learn more about these and other healthcare marketing trends you should watch for in the coming year? Click below to check out our Top 5 Healthcare Marketing Trends for 2019.

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Which doctors are early adopters of emerging healthcare technologies? |

Which doctors are early adopters of emerging healthcare technologies? | | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

A variety of emerging technologies from smart speakers to virtual/augmented reality to wearable devices are expected to change the way healthcare services are delivered. According to Kantar Media’s 2018 Digital Insights Study, 1 out of 4 doctors surveyed indicate they already use one or more of the healthcare technologies measured.

145,000 doctors say they already use smart speakers, virtual/augmented reality, wearable devices, remote monitoring or telemedicine within their practice.

 

Which specialists are leading the way?

Doctors have distinct needs and barriers when it comes to adopting new technologies. New approaches to delivering patient care or training received differing usage scores across physician specialties measured:

  • Telemedicine – connects patients and doctors remotely allowing for faster delivery/access to healthcare services. Telemedicine is more likely to be practiced by physicians that work in counseling or heavy communication disciplines. For example, 30% of Emergency Medicine specialists and 24% of Psychiatry specialists say they already use telemedicine within their practice.
  • Wearable devices for patient self-monitoring – fitness bands, smart watches, glucose meters and other devices can help doctors and patients monitor and manage a condition. 34% of Diabetes/Endocrinology specialists are already using this technology. Additionally, 36% of Cardiology specialists indicate they are very likely to adopt this technology within the next five years (on top of the 16% who already use it). This is good news for patients that notice the value of wearable devices. According to the 2018 MARS Consumer Health study, 29% of adults that feel at risk for Type 2 Diabetes and 27% of adults that feel at risk for Heart Disease say the opportunity to download and share their personal health and fitness data with their doctor or others motivates them.
  • Virtual/augmented reality (for training) – is reshaping medical training by allowing doctors to overlay information or images in the world right in front of them. 40% of Pulmonary Disease specialists already use or are very likely to use virtual/augmented reality for training. Additionally, nearly three quarters of Obstetrics/Gynecology specialists indicate they are likely to use it within next five years.

What’s ahead?

Overall, doctors expect to see the most growth in telemedicine and wearable device usage in the next five years. Among total doctors surveyed, 62% say their practice is likely to adopt telemedicine; 63% say their practice is likely to adopt wearable devices for patient self-monitoring in the future:

Want to Learn More?

Find out how to most effectively engage physicians and allied healthcare professionals with your advertising. Kantar Media’s 2018 Digital Insights Study helps clients navigate the new and changing digital landscape. It includes 20 physician specialties across digital device usage and other topic areas including: 

  • Type and frequency of watching online videos for professional purposes
  • Usage of specific social networks within the past 6 months
  • General attitudes and opinions about social media
  • Usage of specific professional apps within the past 6 months
  • Importance and frequency of types of apps used for professional purposes
  • Digital advertising attitudes and opinions, including actions taken, ad blocking and tracking, and content targeting
  • Use of emerging technologies in practice
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Digital Marketing for Pharma: Why Your Brand Can’t Afford to Neglect It

Digital Marketing for Pharma: Why Your Brand Can’t Afford to Neglect It | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

Digital marketing will be the next frontier for pharmaceutical companies as many of them are scaling up their consumer businesses and introducing an array of consumer brands. Traditionally, marketing innovation in the pharmaceutical industry has been stunted by heavy regulatory restrictions. Historically, pharmaceutical companies have had little to no interaction with their end-users-patients-since they depended entirely on their health care providers for medical knowledge and advice. With the digital medium democratising information in every sector, however, there is a huge opportunity for the pharma industry to develop patient-centric strategies and transform their fundamental business models. In fact, as patients become more digitally-savvy, the lines between pharma companies and patients will most likely become increasingly blurred. Digital marketing for pharma and healthcare will undoubtedly become the key differentiator for brands charting out a futuristic growth strategy.

There are five factors which make digital marketing for pharma companies essential.

1. Patients are better informed

Patients are not just passive recipients of prescriptions anymore. They are playing a more active role in their healthcare, researching various drugs and exercising their right to make the final decision about their health. This easy accessibility of information has both a negative and a positive side to it. On one hand, it means patients are more educated about their health than ever before. This empowers them to take more informed decisions about their health and fully understand side-effects that various drugs can have on their body. On the flip side, however, all information isn’t necessarily accurate information. To counter this, digital pharma strategies can help brands develop authority by providing patients with accurate, reliable information. By building a strong presence online and answering queries that patients might have, pharmaceutical brands can also develop a closer connection with their audience.

2. Shift from ‘patients’ to ‘consumers’

As a direct consequence of accessibility to information, end-users for pharma brands might soon be perceived as ‘consumers’ rather than ‘patients’. Marketing solely to health care professionals will not be viable in the long run as these might not be the actual consumers in the future. Armed with greater awareness, patients are in a better position to request or reject specific brands. The consumerisation of healthcare means that pharma companies will need to take a larger step towards consistently engaging users throughout their journey, ‘in good times and in bad’. Developing a strong and trustworthy brand image through digital pharma techniques has never been more important.

3. Transparency is forcing greater accountability

One patient’s experience with a drug no longer operates in a vacuum. The ability to track key physiological responses, progress and efficacy of medication (made possible through wearables and the interconnected Internet of Things network) has given individuals greater visibility into their healthcare. If they have a negative experience, they are very likely to share their journey publicly over social media and cause large-scale damage to a pharma company’s brand image. Unlike in the past, companies cannot control how much information about their product is available and how it is distributed. In this environment, digital marketing for pharma brands can effectively communicate the USPs of their drugs and develop a bond with consumers to win their trust.

4. New competitors are closing in

The pharmaceutical industry is unlikely to preserve the oligarchic market it enjoys today. With the proliferation of technology making user’s vital information more accessible, patient healthcare information is no longer in the sole control of healthcare providers. This has led to the emergence of new competitors in the pharma space -particularly from the tech industry. These digital pharma companies are moving beyond just drugs, providing patients with high-tech solutions that offer them greater visibility and control of their healthcare. Some of these include wearable activity trackers, ‘chips’, AI, VR and other potential disruptors in the space. If traditional pharma companies do not realign their strategy, they might not be able to compete with recent entrants to win the new age ‘consumer/patient’.

5. A wealth of data is available

With the huge volume of data available today, pharma companies cannot afford to neglect it. Brands can get a unique insight into their consumers concerns, behavioural habits and more. This data, that was previously unavailable, can help pharma brands build a more comprehensive digital strategy to engage with their end-users

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Healthcare Marketing Strategy: 10 Trends Shaping 2019

Healthcare Marketing Strategy: 10 Trends Shaping 2019 | Social Media and Healthcare | Scoop.it

 

Picture this:

It was allergy season, 2008. I was locked inside, buried by tissues, eye drops, and air purifiers. I’d run out of my prescription, my allergist was booked for two months out, and I’d spent most of May trying to get a last-minute appointment with someone else. I eventually gave up and spent the rest of that spring as a hermit.

Fast-forward to allergy season 2018—one of the worst seasons on record—and I’d already been camping twice, my prescription was always filled, and I COULD BREATHE.

What changed?

I have a smartphone.

This time, when my doctor-recommended allergist was booked until the year 2087, I pulled out my iPhone and said: “Ok, Google; find an allergist near me.” Within five minutes I had the names, numbers, and addresses of the top three board-certified allergists and immunologists in my area. Another five minutes and I knew each one’s certifications and awards, patient reviews, and availability. I made an appointment online, and by that weekend I was breathing easy.

 

 

Here’s your new reality: if you want to connect with patients in 2019 and beyond, you need to alter your medical marketing strategy to align with the following trends:

HEALTHCARE TREND #1: MICRO-MOMENTS AND THE CHANGING ONLINE HABITS OF PATIENTS

During allergy season, I know that day’s pollen forecast, the allergens and pollutants in my location, the air pollution level in my home, and when I need to fill my prescription within 60 seconds of waking up in the morning. After another 60 seconds, I’ve pulled up my health records and checked the symptoms I get from the allergens present in the air.

Each action I just described, from finding out the day’s pollen forecast to pulling up my medical records, is what’s called a micro-moment. A micro-moment occurs when a consumer reflexively turns to a device—frequently a smartphone—in order to do, learn, watch, or discover something immediately. You have an exponentially greater chance of reaching and influencing patients by being front and center during each of these tiny micro-moments.

“Micro-moments have been accelerating consumer expectations for “right here, right now” experiences. People take for granted that information is at their fingertips and tailored to their specific needs. But the thing about human beings is they never stop wanting that little bit extra. It’s becoming evident that they’ll keep raising the bar, wanting more useful information, more personalization, more immediacy” – Think With Google, 2017

There are four distinct micro-moments unique to the healthcare industry:

  • What’s-wrong-with-me moments – From a sudden case of the sniffles to excruciating abdomen pain, more and more consumers are asking the internet what’s wrong with them. To catch patients in these want-to-know moments you need to have the answers to their questions in the form of optimized web pages, videos, and infographics.
  • Where-can-I-get-treatment moments – Local convenience is key as “near me” searches for health-related services have doubled since 2015. What that means is that your facility or center needs to be front and center when someone local searches for your services.
  • Who-can-I-trust-moments – After the choice of treatment centers has been narrowed down to those that offer the right services and are convenient, consumers typically start more in-depth research for a practitioner. What you need is trust-building content like a prominent display of awards and affiliations, physician introduction videos, testimonials, academic papers, and any other confidence-building material specific to your practice.
  • I’m-ready-to-book moments – While most patients choose their healthcare provider carefully, they don’t have that much patience when it comes time to book an appointment. Your information needs to be easy to find immediately, and you should have seamless options to book an appointment.

The rest of the trends listed below touch and/or influence these micro-moments.

HEALTHCARE TREND #2: WEBSITE DESIGN WITH PATIENTS (AND PATIENT PORTALS) IN MIND

Have you ever invested any money into landscaping, cleaning services, or interior decorating for your facility? Of course you have—first impressions matter and patients don’t want to be treated in a place that looks like it’s from the set of Breaking Bad.

Well, your website is just like your building’s exterior, and patients WILL judge you based on how it looks and functions. In fact, 48 percent of people cited a website’s design as the number one factor in deciding the credibility of a business, and once your page loads,users form an opinion in .05 seconds.

While some healthcare companies are shattering the ceiling when it comes to digital technology, the large majority of them are still struggling—research by Klein & Partners revealed that 11 percent of visitors to a hospital or health system say their website experience created new, negative feelings about that brand.

So, what DO patients want? A CDW Healthcare survey found that 89 percent of patients want easier, seamless access to their personal health records. They also want convenience—78 percent of consumers say they would be interested in receiving virtual health services, and virtual healthcare visits have increased from about 54 percent in 2014 to 71 percent in 2017.

They also need to be able to book your services online—71 percent of millennials prefer both online scheduling and receiving digital reminders, but they won’t be alone for long. Online booking is becoming a necessity, and Accenture predicts that by the end of 2019, 66 percent of health systems will offer self-scheduling and 64 percent of all patients will use self-scheduling.

When you tie all those statistics, preferences, and trends together, you discover that the absolute BEST healthcare websites have all (or most of) the following:

  • Online scheduling
  • Customized patient portals where patients can easily access their health data
  • Online bill pay
  • Online prescription renewal
  • Messaging capabilities so patients can communicate quickly with providers
  • Doctor or specialist lookup
  • Emergency wait room times
  • A healthy supply of videos (see more about that further down)
  • Options for virtual visits with health practitioners

But having these capabilities isn’t your only task. In addition to having all the bells and whistles, your website still needs to be:

  • Fast – Patients need to see something happen on your website within three seconds of landing there. If it takes longer, almost 50 percent will hit the “back” button.
  • Secure – This is a no-brainer for healthcare, but if for some reason your website isn’t secure, you’ve got a problem. Learn more about website security here »
  • Mobile-friendly – 62 percent of smartphone owners use their device to look up health information, and 82 percent of smartphone users use a search engine when looking for a local treatment center or health facility. Not only that, but according to Google, 77 percent of smartphone owners have used their smartphones to find local health services in the past six months, and 79 percent of them say they’re more likely to revisit and/or share a mobile site if it is easy to use.
  • Coded for SEO – The best healthcare websites are coded in a way that makes it easy for the search engines’ software to find, crawl, and index them (see more about SEO below).

Learn more about website design »

HEALTHCARE TREND #3: HYPER-TARGETED HEALTHCARE SEO (SPECIFICALLY LOCAL SEO)

If you run into a marketer that says SEO is dead, he probably just sucks at it.

I can assure you SEO (search engine optimization) is very much alive, and it MATTERS for healthcare companies—89 percent of consumersturn to a search engine when they’re looking to solve their healthcare queries, and 83 percent of patients visit a hospital’s website before booking a treatment or procedure. Not only that but “near me” searches for health-related services have doubled since 2015.

What I’m getting at is that you need to rank high (in the top five listings) in the search results. But there are two places you need to rank well—the local pack and the organic search results.

Let’s start with the local pack.

LOCAL SEO AND GOOGLE’S LOCAL PACK

What is the local pack? It’s a group of 4-5 business listings that show up above the organic search results. On mobile, it’s the only thing searchers see without scrolling down:

The information in the local pack is pulled from a few places, but primarily from your Google My Business page. We highly recommend that one of the first things you do after reading this is checking out your own GMB listing. Specifically, check for:

  • Your business’ categories (above, you can see it says either “doctor” or “allergist” right under the average review rating. That’s a feature inside GMB, and it helps searchers find specific needs)
  • Your main phone number
  • Your business’ description
  • Your hours of operation
  • Your address or service area
  • Reviews

Learn more about getting to the top of local listings here »

SEO AND GOOGLE’S ORGANIC SEARCH RESULTS

Below the local pack—and in certain cases, instead of the local pack—are the organic search results. When someone talks about general SEO and ranking online, this is what they’re talking about.

To rank well organically in the search results (whether it’s Bing, Google, or Yahoo), you must establish and promote yourself as the medical authority in your market as well as produce optimized, highly relevant content. In order to get your healthcare company to the top of search results:

  1. Your website needs to be optimized for SEO. That means it has the right schema, it’s fast, it’s secure, and it’s mobile-friendly.
  2. You need content driven by your patients’ wants and needs. Google ranks web pages individually, not websites as a whole. You’ll need optimized content for each micro-moment (including blogs, landing pages, press releases, e-mail newsletters, E-books, and more), and you’ll need a content distribution plan.
  3. You need to target the right healthcare industry keywords. Not all keywords are created equal, and some have more opportunity tied to them. You can build a basic foundation with the following healthcare SEO keywords (I’ve used an allergist as an example):
    • Allergist + your city
    • Allergists + your county
    • Allergy specialists + your city
    • Seasonal allergies + your county
    • Allergy and asthma center + your city
    • Asthma treatment + your city
    • Allergy + doctor + your city
    • Allergy + treatment + city

Here are a few other keyword ideas and examples for “allergist,” “cardiologist,” “primary care doctor,” and “hospital”:

  1. You need to get other authoritative and relevant websites to link to, reference, and cite you as an authority. Google looks at links back to your website from other sites as little badges of authority. The more authority you have, the higher you rank.

Learn more about SEO here »

  • FREESEO ANALYSIS
  • ENTER YOUR WEBSITE TO SEE IF YOU COULD BENEFIT FROM SEO.

  • http://www.*
  • TRY IT - IT'S FREE!

HEALTHCARE TREND #4: THE SHRINKING ORGANIC SEARCH RESULTS AND THE RISE OF PAID ADS

Take a look at the search results below for “urgent care.”

On mobile, the entire screen is taken up by ads. On desktop, ads are the first thing that shows, followed by the local pack.

What this means is that you need to take up as much real estate as you can on the search results pages, and that includes paid ads.

The average cost per click (how much you pay each time someone clicks on your ad) for healthcare and medical is $2.62 for search ads, and the average cost per action (how much you pay for the desired user action like filling out a contact form) is $78.09.

Learn more about PPC here »

  • FREESEO ANALYSIS
  • ENTER YOUR WEBSITE TO SEE IF YOU COULD BENEFIT FROM SEO.

  • http://www.*
  • TRY IT - IT'S FREE!

HEALTHCARE TREND #5: SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING: NEW RULES FOR A NEW GENERATION

If you want more patients, you need to be on social media—41 percent of consumers say that content found on social media will likely impact their choice of hospital or treatment center, and 42 percent of individuals viewing health information on social media look at health-related consumer reviews.

Take the Mayo Clinic. They are ON IT when it comes to social media, specifically Facebook:

Another great example is United Healthcare. Not only do they create and share great content, they have a signature style in which they use pops of color:

There is a caveat to social media: it’s pay-to-play. If you don’t pay for ads, you’re likely going to be overlooked.

But before you launch head-first into your own campaign, beware: medical advertising on Facebook is complicated because of numerous targeting restrictions on the healthcare industry. We highly recommend you seek the help of Facebook advertisers who specialize in the healthcare and medical field (like us!).

Learn more about social media here »

  • FREESOCIAL MEDIA ANALYSIS
  • ENTER YOUR WEBSITE TO SEE IF YOU COULD BENEFIT FROM 
    ADDITIONAL SOCIAL MEDIA.

  • http://www.*
  • TRY IT - IT'S FREE!

HEALTHCARE TREND #6: VIDEO MARKETING FOR HEALTHCARE: NO LONGER A LUXURY

If you haven’t gotten on the video train, you need to catch up—fast. A video is 50 times more likely to rank organically in the search results than text pages, and by 2019, videos will account for 85 percent of online traffic in the US.

Not only that, but healthcare is a prime industry to use video because of how visual and critical it is. Here are a few videos your healthcare facility or treatment center should leverage:

  • Website welcome videos: We know that 83 percent of patients visit a hospital’s website before booking a treatment or procedure, so welcome them! Having a welcome video that summarizes the history, mission, and “why us” of your healthcare facility can help time-crunched patients get the information they need quickly.
  • Physician profile videos: Most patients will at least run a Google search for their physician online before committing to an appointment. Having profile videos is a great way to introduce and humanize your physicians, and also allows you to shine a spotlight on your staff’s accomplishments.
  • Patient review videos: Reviews are a big deal, especially in industries like healthcare where the stakes are high. For example, in the past 2 years, videos with the word “review” in the title had more than 50,000 years’ worth of watch time on mobile alone. By having testimonials and reviews from previous patients, you not only build confidence in your abilities, but you also build a patient’s trust in your staff. The healthcare industry goes hand-in-hand with unpleasant emotions like fear, anger, sadness, and uncertainty, so trust is key—even before a patient walks through your doors.
  • Procedure and treatment overviews: If you provide complex or long-term treatments, break them down in an informative, short video. This gets the point across in a way that is easier for patients to understand.
  • Educational videos on commonly asked questions or medical conditions: “Should I go to the ER?” “What types of treatments are there for diabetes?” “Is that a freckle or cancer?” These types of questions are ones that can be easily answered in the form of videos. Building out your YouTube page with these types of videos will not only make you the go-to authority but also clear up any confusion about your services.

HEALTHCARE TREND #7: PERSONALIZED EMAIL MARKETING AND MARKETING AUTOMATION

Guess what? Over 90 percent of adults want better email communication from their doctor. It makes sense, considering checking email is the first thing 66 percent of people do after they wake up.

There are a few types of emails you should definitely be taking advantage of:

  • Appointment reminders
  • “It’s Time For…” reminders that inform patients when they are due for a physical or other exams
  • Request a friend referral
  • Latest health news and expert commentary
  • Announcements about the latest technology in your office
  • Seasonal tip sheets

Learn more about email marketing here »

HEALTHCARE TREND #8: PATIENT REVIEWS: YOUR TICKET TO MORE BOOKED APPOINTMENTS

Think about this: in 2018, almost 72 percent of patients use online reviews as their first step in finding a new doctor, and 88 percent trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. As if that’s not evidence enough, 48 percent of patients would go out of their insurance network for a doctor with great reviews.

But after you get reviews you can’t just let them sit there; 65 percent of patients feel it’s important for doctors to respond to online reviews. To get more (great) reviews, simply ask for them, or use a program like Review Us Now, which aggregates reviews as well as sends emails requesting patients to leave reviews for their services.

HEALTHCARE TREND #9: THE NEW NORM OF TEXTS, CALL TRACKING, AND AUTOMATED PHONE MESSAGES

A recent West survey found 75 percent of patients with chronic conditions want their doctor to keep in touch regularly so they can get a heads up if something looks amiss. What this looks like is a combination of email, text messaging, phone calls, and patient portals.

But not only should you be using these mediums to communicate, you should be tracking them as well. Without data on how your phone calls are converting or your text message delivery rate, you can’t improve your process in the future.

Learn more about call tracking and call intelligence reporting here »

HEALTHCARE TREND #10: DATA OVERLOAD

I just mentioned the importance of tracking your phone calls. That’s not all you should be tracking. You need to accurately measure and track each and every marketing campaign ( and I mean EVERY campaign) to find out which healthcare marketing strategies work and which should be tweaked or eliminated.

That’s called (buzzword alert) being data-driven.

The doctors and facility managers I’ve worked with more or less operate on two data strategy speeds: data-starved and data-puking.

A business is data-starved when it has too little data to make analytical decisions.

A business is data-puking when it has too much data to make analytical decisions.

Whichever yours is, I’ll make it easy: you need to be measuring, tracking, and basing your digital marketing strategy off of the healthcare industry’s Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). They include:

  • Number of patients
  • Admission rates
  • Readmission rates
  • Total revenue
  • Return on marketing investment (ROMI)
  • Lead-to-appointment conversion rate
  • Cost per lead (CPL)

Your Solution? Services from an Agency that Specializes in Healthcare Marketing Strategy

WHY YOU NEED A MARKETING COMPANY THAT SPECIALIZES IN THE HEALTHCARE INDUSTRY

Not only do you need these services, but you need a marketing company that understands the ins and outs of the medical marketing industry. We know:

  • How to navigate through increasing regulations and comply with patient privacy practices
  • How to develop long-lasting relationships with both patients and health practitioners
  • The ins and outs of requirements for HIPAA Privacy & Security Rules for emails, texts, and content
  • How to best position your facility’s brand in your marketplace
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