The rise of digital technology in the healthcare industry is undeniable. This shift can be seen in a wide array of platforms, ranging from digital health devices to remote monitoring. What has been considered tried-and-true healthcare marketing methods may no longer be viable due to these changes. Understanding what the trends are and how they can be used as an advantage is key to success for healthcare organizations. So, what are some of the top 2014 digital trends?

  1. Health devices that work with our devices
    Per the Consumer Electronics Association, consumer interest in purchasing dedicated wearable fitness devices in the last 12 months quadrupled to 13 percent in 2013, from just 3 percent in 2012, making it the largest year-over-year increase for any category of fitness device. The knowledge people will be able to access through these devices will accelerate their health goals, allow them to make more informed decisions and provide their health professionals with more accurate information.
  2. Patients scheduling appointments online
    One in five patients now book appointments through digital platforms. 44 percent of patients who research hospitals on a mobile device scheduled an appointment.
  3. Remote-monitoring devices
    Remote-monitoring devices enable patients with serious problems to record their own health measures and send them electronically to physicians or specialists. This keeps them out of doctors’ offices for routine care and thereby helps to reduce healthcare costs. According to a Brookings Institute analysis, remote monitoring technologies could save the U.S. healthcare system $197 billion between 2010 and 2035. Industry experts believe the combination of Internet, video, and wireless technology for inbound patients and those with chronic conditions will create an explosion of consumer products with evolving patient monitoring capabilities.

 

Clearly the increase in digital healthcare has presented opportunities to target a greater amount of potential patients more than ever. So how should you take advantage of the recent digital trends?

  1. Healthcare apps
    Applications on smart phones are easy-to-navigate tools that provide an abundance of information to the consumer. This technology can be informational, communicating your message in text, images, video and sound. It can also be interactive and social. A recent survey by Google of 1,500 smartphone users in the U.S. found that 86% of all smartphone users spend more time on apps than the Web browser.
  2. Webinars
    Webinars are becoming increasingly more popular. They are great ways to present information to potential patients in a convenient and interactive way. They have also been successful in addressing sensitive subjects such as surgical weight loss. In addition to those benefits, webinars also drive traffic to the website: a win-win for both patient and healthcare providers.
  3. Paid Search & Display
    One of the most important moves providers should take to capitalize on the recent trends is to have a strong digital presence. Organizations should not assume they will organically appear high on the search results. To achieve optimal effectiveness, online campaigns should be comprised of both display ads and Paid Search. Patients who research online are three times more likely to end up on hospital sites; plus, around 80% of people will start their online session at a search engine. Display ads will further engage the audience at times when they are not directly searching. The two highly-targeted, measurable tactics work together to help the potential patient ultimately convert.

Each of the marketing trends above is grounded in technology. Technology will continue to play an incredible role and be the foundation on which marketing departments operate. Embracing the new changes will be crucial for the success of your marketing department.