Kadesha Thomas Smith, CareContent

Healthcare Digital Marketing In 2018: Putting Patients First

The start of a new year is a great time to take a moment and think about what we want to see happen next—not just in our personal lives, but in our professional lives and the industries we work in and for as well.

So, what do I want to see in healthcare digital marketing in 2018?

I really want to see healthcare become hyperfocused on patient and user experience, both online and offline. I want hospitals and medical practices to stop asking, “What do our doctors want—and what’s going to make us look smart?”

The question to ask instead is, “What do the patients want?” That answer is what should guide the next steps that healthcare digital marketing takes. And I think a key part of that answer lies in expanding ways that patients and providers can communicate with one another.

Embracing Patient-Friendly Communication In Healthcare Digital Marketing

I would really love to see healthcare embrace other ways of patient-provider communication.

For instance, I want to be able to email my provider. And when I say email my provider, I don’t mean through a patient portal. Patient portals are another user ID and password I have to memorize or find to do something as basic as emailing a question to my doctor. It’s just cumbersome.

There are plenty of ways to make this possible while still following HIPAA regulations.

I would love to see healthcare figure out a way for patients to connect with providers via email or even online chat. I have toddlers whose favorite toy is my phone. This means I don’t always have access to my phone.

In order to call a provider to schedule an appointment, I first have to find my phone. That can take more time than busy working parents or young professionals have available.

And I want to be able to connect with my provider on any device. So, if I’m sitting at my computer and need to connect with them, I want to be able to easily do that through email or chat. The same goes for my phone or tablet.

Who Benefits From Expanded Patient-Provider Communication?

The benefits of expanding the ways patients and providers can communicate aren’t one-sided in the patients’ favor. If patients could email their providers, this would give providers another way to share information.

We very much live in a digital world, so keeping patients engaged online is key to keeping them engaged offline, too.”

For instance, if multiple people are asking questions via email and providers are starting to see a pattern to those questions, that could mean it’s time to create web content around this topic to send out in an e-newsletter to patients.

This probably happens a lot seasonally—for example, during flu season. This year was a particularly devastating flu season, and I’m sure a lot of people have been calling their providers asking very similar questions.

It would be great if they could send those questions via online chat and the provider could respond with, “Here’s a podcast I just did about this exact topic.”

This keeps the connection between patients and providers going—and it keeps patients engaged with the hospital or practice online.

My hope for healthcare digital marketing in 2018 is that the patient experience takes center stage.

What do you want to see happen in the world of healthcare digital marketing this year? Contact us to see how we can help turn your organization’s resolutions into realities.