Increased tech savvy has allowed the general public to take greater control of their health, as related information and tips are now quite literally in the palms of their hands. More and more physicians and healthcare facilities are using mobile technology to manage patient health care, reminding them of appointments, sharing diet and fitness tips, and otherwise keeping patients engaged about their services.
There are already over 13,000 health and medical apps available, and according to Research and Markets, the mobile health market will expand some 61 percent by 2017. So, how exactly is mobile changing healthcare marketing?
Connection to Virtual Healthcare
Mobile is increasingly the main form of communication between patients and physicians. Such rapid communication allows doctors to make virtual diagnoses and offer referrals and treatment suggestions, while resulting in quicker treatment and patient savings overall. Because patients already have this fantastic connection to virtual healthcare, marketers will have to develop new tools constantly and make information available whenever their target audiences require them. There are new competitors all the time, so marketers must ensure their messages are clear and provide the solutions patients need.
Social Media Role
Social media plays a huge role in mobile healthcare marketing, as it provides a powerful forum. Patients already spend a lot of time on social media, and regularly use it to share physician/healthcare feedback and compare and contrast their options. Healthcare brands must take full advantage of social media and use it to stay engaged with patients. Social media allows them to post information about new products, talk with current and potential patients, and create brand buzz. It’s essentially a way to earn and keep consumer trust.
While advertising mobile healthcare services is key, it’s not as necessary as making certain content is creative, relevant, and worthy of consumer attention. Consumers are understandably sick of online ads, so highly digestible, highly shareable content that’s crafted for search engine optimization is key.
Optimal for Physicians, Too
Mobile healthcare technology isn’t just about helping patients. It also helps physicians provide more efficient services. For example, the staff at Broomfield Family Practice in Broomfield, Colorado, had issues with patients missing appointments, which was costing them money. They rectified the problem by sending reminder messages via Apptoto, a cloud-based, automated appointment messaging service. Apptoto sends reminders when it’s most convenient to patients, which has helped make the life of Broomfield Family Practice staff easier. The front office staff no longer has to call patients to remind them of their upcoming appointments, which allows them to focus on other things and enjoy more productive days. The number of no-show appointments has decreased by 40 percent, and because calls are made two days’ prior, staff can fill cancellation spots and subsequently lose much less money.
Here to Stay
Mobile technology’s role in the healthcare industry is definitely solidifying. For one thing, people generally respond to texts quicker and more frequently than they do phone calls and emails. Now is the perfect time for healthcare marketers to capitalize on this very popular trend.