Other than the influx of digital health care wearables and apps released in the past few years, the biggest catalyst in the digital health movement came last week with UnitedHealthcare’s announcement of its partnership with Doctor on Demand. This new app allows patients to connect with board-certified doctors and psychologists at their leisure for quick and affordable doctor’s visits – essentially, video chat consultations. As the nation’s largest health insurer, UnitedHealthcare will bring potentially 20 million new patient-users to the Doctor on Demand team when this partnership takes full effect in 2016.
Remote, technology-based medical services such as videoconferencing (commonly called “telehealth”) are among the fastest growing areas in healthcare today. In fact, they are projected to hit $4.5 billion in worldwide revenue by 2018. The recent Doctor on Demand announcement underscores the opinion of many industry observers who feel video will become the chosen medium for future health care initiatives, including health care marketing.
Although video production can be costly and time consuming, we’ve reached the “sink or swim” point. Health care services are rapidly converging with technology, and it’s time to get on board.
In case your C-suite is reluctant to dive in, here are a few tried-and-true telehealth tactics you can suggest as starting points.
- Patient testimonials
Past patients are influencers in your network. According to an NCBI study, patient testimonials can play an important role in converting leads into customers. Video is uniquely equipped to capture the emotions of these patients and turbocharge their influence – potentially influencing them to get treatment from your doctors or facility.
- Virtual tours
It’s natural for people to feel anxious about a pending appointment or procedure. Short videos can help demystify both, thus reducing that anxiety. Virtual tours should include shots of patient rooms and interviews with nurses and doctors – showing prospective patients that you care about them and understand their concern, and helping foster an early connection with the facility and its providers.
- Repurpose and reformat old content
As we like to say at B+L, “Don’t reinvent the wheel!” Repurposing old content – and reformatting new content – for video isn’t just common sense, it is a marketing best practice. This is also a great opportunity to refresh your content with new relevant information.
- Provide health tips and information
86% of patients research their symptoms on the internet before consulting a physician, and 43% of the web traffic to health care facility websites comes from search engines. Make the research easier for your patients to access by creating short, easy to digest video clips with health tips and answers to commonly asked questions.
- Get social
Social media is one of the most powerful tools health care marketers can use to engage with influencers, leads and current patients. Nearly 50% of patients say social media influences their choice in health care service providers, and with the three big changes Facebook is making to its news feed algorithm – such as prioritizing friend’s content over publishers – these influencers are more crucial to the communication of your content than ever.
I can’t emphasize the importance of social media enough, so here’s a few more statistics to keep in your back pocket:
- Research shows that patients post on Twitter and Facebook when they’re waiting for an appointment.
- Facebook prioritizes videos to make up 30% of the news feed.
- Visuals are processed 60,000 times faster than text.
- Visual-based posts increase engagement by 94%.
- Videos are proven to increase website conversions by 86%.
Now that you’ve seen the statistics, it’s time to jump on the bandwagon. One final piece of advice for health care marketers: don’t be afraid to get creative with your videos. The average person has an attention span of only about 10 seconds, so you need to make an impression quickly. Thanks to the video capabilities of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, as well as video-oriented platforms like Vine, you have a lot of ground to work with. May the best video win!