It’s no secret that the rise of digital marketing – and marketing in the digital space – is changing our world. Industries have embraced digital at rapid speed, finding ways to help consumers engage with brands and improve the user experience. The retail industry offers location-based mobile coupons and scan-able price comparisons. The entertainment industry is constantly evolving with video and music streaming. The restaurant industry features online ordering and table reservations. The travel industry offers GPS-enhanced mobile experiences and online booking. One industry further behind in the digital adoption curve, however, is health care.
No doubt, technology is a huge part of health care. From innovations in medical procedures to monitoring devices to rehab tools, tech advancements are the core of the industry. The health care industry’s use of digital media to enhance the patient experience, however, is still in its infancy.
The industry has started to evolve with new digital offerings: health monitoring apps are on the rise, online hospital patient portals are growing, and patients are taking to online review sites like Vitals and Healthgrades to share their experiences. What’s more, mHealth – the practice of health care supported by mobile devices – is making waves in developed countries and third world nations alike…and its impact is only just beginning. While mobile health care and medical app downloads reached 44 million people in 2012, that number is expected to skyrocket to 142 million by 2016.
At B+L, we see this is as a huge opportunity. For example, having recognized the value of diligent online reputation monitoring, B+L successfully implemented a strategic plan for one of our health care clients, providing them timely, detailed insights into what their patients are saying about them online. As marketers of health care, we can take advantage of mHealth growth by challenging ourselves to improve patients’ health care experiences by utilizing their everyday use of digital. Whether it’s creating new apps for health monitoring, finding new ways for patients to interact online with their providers, or building seamless appointment scheduling or bill paying via app or website, there are endless opportunities to digitally improve the patient experience.
Patients are accustomed to being empowered by digital tools in all other aspects of their consumer lives – and it’s only a matter of time before they will expect the same from their health care. As marketers, we should facilitate this, helping patients to engage more seamlessly with their providers. By empowering them and increasing participation in their own care, we build customers who are more loyal, more educated and more healthy. Expanding the use of mHealth tools is a win/win scenario. But that’s no secret.