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Which digital marketing trends for healthcare providers will prevail?

Which digital marketing trends for healthcare providers will prevail?

Rapidly evolving consumer expectations are changing how we need to practice medicine. There is a virtual treasure trove of data to back this up.

Here are just a few recent statistics I found:

  • 92 percent of patients believe they should have full access to their EHR (Accenture);
  • 67 percent of consumers are interested in video conferencing for follow-up visits (Deloitte); and
  • 76 percent of wearables users are interested in sharing data with their own doctor (iTriage).

The needs and desires of today’s, digital consumers are quickly reshaping how we need to communicate with and meet the needs of patients.

As we kick off 2017, I wanted to better understand how all of this change was affecting providers and how they’re engaging with consumers. So I asked several healthcare marketing experts one question: What is the biggest trend in digital marketing for providers as we start 2017?

Here’s how they weighed in:

Tanya Andreadis, Associate Chief Marketing Officer, University of Pennsylvania Health System

Access and ease of making appointments are more important than ever. Individuals are coming to us with health issues and have an expectation of getting their needs addressed quickly. While marketers can drive interest in services, an increasingly important, digital challenge will be their ability to partner with the clinical staff to make healthcare services more accessible and convenient.

Another critical trend is our ability to rapidly respond to market changes. It’s never been more essential to create a digital marketing organization that is nimble and can accept and adapt to changes, especially in consumer behavior. This starts with hiring people who have a broad skill set, are open-minded, and have confidence.

Kathy Divis, President at

The biggest change impacting healthcare marketing in 2017 will be the continued transition of marketing from a communications focus to a technology focus. The movement from MarCom to MarTech is happening rapidly as organizations gain an understanding of the need to better apply science to healthcare marketing. There is a need to more precisely target customers, better track effectiveness and to show value and ROI. The impact on providers includes the need to better use customer relationship management (CRM) techniques, to shift resources (both budget and FTEs) to more data-driven activities, and to develop standard reporting to show effectiveness.

Andy Gradel, System Director, Digital Marketing at Main Line Health

Content personalization is at the top of our list over the next 12 – 18 months. With people consuming more content than ever, yet spending less time on any individual sites, it’s essential that our visitors are presented with options and calls to action that are relevant to what they need. Plus, from an empathetic design perspective, presenting users with fewer, more relevant choices will make for a much more satisfying experience in times of crisis.

Niko Skievaski, President at Redox

Content is still king. Many patients are surfing the web for answers before they roll into the clinic. You’re sitting on a wealth of information in the brains of your providers. Focus on the common questions of the season, local and regional health (allergies, that flu going around, etc.) or spotlight inspiring provider or patient stories. This goes far beyond simply building and humanizing your brand in your community. Most of the articles could conclude with a call to action to come in for that flu shot or that annual checkup. Once you have their attention, suggest action. And please make it easy to take that action. Let patients schedule appointments online. Let them choose a video visit. Let them see wait times at urgent care. We want to use our technology. You’ll win if you let us use it to improve access and efficiency.

Telehealth is also something we’re keeping an eye on. There will be a shift at some point where the big national brands will be competing head-to-head with the local and regional providers in the telehealth space. Once that happens, our next generation of patients may not have the same type of relationship with or affinity for their providers that current patients have, which will make an already competitive space that much more challenging.


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