Health care marketing 2014: 10 reasons to demand digital

Start tweeting these statistics.

If you are responsible for leading the development and execution of a health care marketing strategy for 2014, you should know how important the digital channel is.

In the past year, we have seen an increasing dependence on digital platforms for health information, decision-making, and collaboration. Digital is the way we connect and learn today. If you want to have an influence on the consumer’s decision-making process, you have to be where decisions are made.

The digital channel provides a unique opportunity to reach specific, targeted audiences and get continuous feedback for continuous optimization to maximize ROI. With big changes to the health care ecosystem coming up, companies will be pressed to find the most economical ways to connect with patients, and the digital channel provides ample opportunity.

Americans are using the internet when they have health concerns.

  • 1 in 3 American adults have gone online to figure out a medical condition.
  • 72 percent of internet users say they looked online for health information within the past year.

(Source: Pew Internet)

Health care marketing today needs both offline and online strategies.

  • 84 percent of patients use both online and offline sources for research.
  • 77 percent of patients use search engines.
  • 76 percent of patients use hospital sites.
  • 52 percent of patients use health information sites.

(Source: Google Think)

Offline shouldn’t be ignored, but it’s far less important than digital mediums.

  • 32 percent of patients use TV for research.
  • 20 percent of patients use magazines for research.
  • 18 percent of patients use newspapers for research.

(Source: Google Think)

Search will continue to play an important role in the decision-making process.

  • 77 percent of online health seekers say they began their last session at a search engine such as Google, Bing, or Yahoo.
  • Another 13 percent say they began at a site that specializes in health information, such as WebMD.
  • The most commonly-researched topics are specific diseases or conditions; treatments or procedures; and doctors or other health professionals.

(Source: Pew Internet)

Consumers are increasingly using mobile to access information. Websites absolutely must be mobile friendly and viewable on all kinds of devices.

  • Of patients who found hospitals on their mobile devices, 44 percent scheduled an appointment.
  • Roughly 1/3 of patients used tablets or mobile devices on a daily basis for research and/or to book appointments,

(Source: Google Think)

Consumers are becoming more involved in managing their own health. Healthcare marketing needs to address proactive patients who are engaged in actively monitoring and promoting their health.

  • 7 in 10 U.S. adults have tracked a health indicator for themselves or for someone else.
  • Of those, 34 percent share their health tracking records or notes with another person or group.

(Source: Pew Internet)

Mobile is used everywhere. Health care marketers need to take this into consideration when creating websites and digital content. Pay careful attention to where the patient is in the decision-making process, and serve the appropriate content that serves that need.

  • 61 percent while at home.
  • 27 percent at work.
  • 23 percent while visiting friends or family at home.
  • 20 percent while out of town.
  • 16 percent while in a doctor’s office.

(Source: Google Think)

Brand is important to prospective patients.

  • Reputation of facility: 94 percent.
  • Accepts healthcare plan: 90 percent.
  • Recommended by physician: 86 percent.
  • Uses latest technology: 85 percent.
  • Recommended by friends and family: 51 percent.

(Source: Google Think)

For patients who booked appointments, digital content is key to decision-making.

  • 77 percent of patients used search prior to booking an appointment.
  • 83 percent used hospital sites.
  • 54 percent used health insurance company sites.
  • 50 percent used health information sites.
  • 26 percent used consumer generated reviews.

(Source: Google Think)

Online video is important.

1 in 8 patients watched an online video on:

  • Hospital sites: 42 percent.
  • Health insurance information sites: 31 percent.
  • Health information sites: 30 percent.
  • YouTube: 29 percent.
  • Health insurance company sites: 20 percent.

(Source: Google Think)

How do you plan to incorporate digital into your overall healthcare marketing strategy for the next year? Are you planning on creating a patient awareness campaign to reach customers online?

This article originally appeared here.

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