The digital healthcare market is surging with activity, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to predict which trends are likely to have the biggest impact. That said, EHRs (Electronic Health Records) are likely to take the back seat, breakthroughs in documentation are not expected in the near future and devices related to mobile health and big data are taking off.
With the rise in healthcare technology we need to remember that it should be used to serve the patient and the provider – not just for the sake of showing that we can use technology!
Here are a few trends to look out for and how you can leverage them:
1. Medical Apps, Devices and Patient Engagement
Patient engagement is still at the forefront of everyone’s focus as the digital era continues to rise. Patients are using mobile technology to facilitate better care, and while mobile devices, patient portals and wearable devices all have their benefits, two key facts remain true:
1. Changing patient behaviour is one of the hardest challenges healthcare providers face.
2. Unless we improve our ability to change those behaviours, nothing else matters.
The challenge is to not only ‘engage’ patients in the management of their own health, but to convince them to undergo a life changing transformation.
This is not an easy task; it takes time and dedication to get someone to change their behaviour. For instance, it is much easier to convince someone to try a new chocolate or purchase a new pair of shoes.
The opportunity exists for you to use existing devices or develop apps to help change your patients’ behaviour and improve their health.
According to IBM, cognitive computing will drive dramatic improvements in healthcare, read more. IBM Predicts Next 5 Life-Changing Tech Innovations.
2. Digital Support and Education
We’ve already mentioned that you need to change patient behaviour to make an impact, but how do you do that? Through continual support and education programmes – which is most efficiently delivered digitally.
Sharing content that is useful and educational to your patients and potential patients will help develop trust and they will consider you to be an authority on the topic. The more helpful your content is, the higher the chances that they will return for more.
Interaction builds relationships; relationships are memorable, improve likability, and build trust in you and your brand.
That’s where EHRs come in – it is central and essential to delivering against the challenges of patient engagement and outcome-driven care.
3. Google Plus
Google + will continue to grow rapidly in usage and influence, it has already outpaced Twitter to become the second biggest social network behind Facebook with 300 million active G+ users and 540 million users engaging with some form of Google product monthly.
A practice’s G+ page is a major contributing factor to your search rankings. Start by updating your practice’s profile, posting original content, then networking through circles as soon as possible.
At the end of the day, all the digital trends gaining steam in 2014 are all about personalisation and patient engagement. You need to tailor your marketing efforts to your target audience in order to provide them real value.
- Take the time to do more than just copying and pasting links from your website over to your social media channels and calling it a strategy.
- Interact with your patients to discover what they really want and deliver it to them.
- Be well rounded with your digital marketing approach and be where your audience is already.
If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed at the pace the digital healthcare market is changing, we’re always ready to help you find a solution that you’re comfortable with.