The Evolution of Healthcare Communications and the Digital Revolution
Healthcare communications is a broad field and entails, amongst other things, marketing and public relations along with the communication that takes place between patients, their families and healthcare providers.
Healthcare communications have evolved over the years and in recent times, i.e. the digital age, they’ve been transformed once again and have taken on a very different form, and often meaning, to what they once entailed in the past.
This has both positive and negative repercussions for all parties involved – patients, their families, healthcare providers, insurance companies, etc. – so it’s therefore imperative that healthcare providers achieve a comprehensive understanding of the nature of healthcare communications.
Online health information
The explosion of the internet and the proliferation of digital devices have resulted in a wealth of health and healthcare information becoming widely available and easily accessible.
According to surveys, roughly 80 percent of participants claim to have accessed health related information online with the aim of enhancing their understanding of health issues that affect them.
This presents healthcare providers with an excellent opportunity to establish themselves as authorities on relevant healthcare topics through the provision of informative, easy-to-understand material that enhances society’s understanding of health and healthcare.
However, there are naturally both pros and cons to the increased accessibility and profusion of health and healthcare information online.
Whilst the pros include a greater understanding of health issues on the part of the general public and the opportunity for healthcare providers to establish themselves as authorities on particular topics, the cons include the profusion of unreliable, and often dangerous, information made available by undependable sources.
Online healthcare communication
Another trend that has come about with regard to healthcare in the digital age concerns the changing nature of doctor-patient communications. The convenience the internet provides in this regard has resulted in an increase in doctor-patient communications taking place via email, with many patients requesting this method of consultation.
Most healthcare providers now use email and other forms of internet based communication as a means of managing patient care.
Understanding the healthcare market and marketing healthcare providers
Marketing and public relations play a crucial role in the fiscal health of healthcare providers due to the intensively crowded marketplace in which healthcare providers find themselves vying for the attention of those in need of healthcare services.
This has resulted in a need on the part of healthcare providers to present themselves to the general public not only as providers of healthcare, but also as ‘brands’, and it has also resulted in the need for healthcare sector specific marketing strategies that empower healthcare providers to effectively vie for the attentions of the general public.
Branding is big business these days – many are of the opinion that the current age is overwhelmingly brand-centric – and the healthcare sector isn’t exempt from the need for branding.
Healthcare providers consequently need to create a recognisable brand, i.e. a visual identity, to market their services to the general public that’s adaptable to multiple online and offline mediums.
Amongst other things, branding plays on an emotional connection between consumers (patients) and the decisions they make regarding the services of healthcare providers. This means that not only is brand name and logo important, but also position, tone and messaging.
To succeed at conveying the right impression through position, tone and messaging, healthcare providers should consider working with branding specialists like CreateMarketing to formulate a tone that conveys the message that healthcare providers wish to express about their brand to their target audience.
Successful marketing for healthcare providers entails more than knowing which online or offline publications to target their intended audience with, as it also entails the use of a variety of marketing techniques to raise awareness of their digital presence by drawing attention to their website and social media accounts.
Blogging and copywriting have proven to be excellent tools in this regard because they not only aid in enhancing search engine rankings with informative, well-written content, but they also empower healthcare providers to establish themselves in the minds of the general public as authorities on various aspects of healthcare, for example dentistry or optometry.
The healthcare sector is in a constant state of evolution – evolve with it to survive.