|By Farid Parvini Ph.D. | Solution21 | CEO|
The health care industry is a heavily regulated industry due to FDA restrictions on how organizations market their medical products and the ways in which HIPAA regulations ensure compliance on the use of patient information and storage. Due to these protocols, it can be difficult for the health care industry to quickly and easily adapt to the changes in marketing trends, leaving them years behind other industries.
However, there are professionals in the industry looking to change this and help doctors utilize digital marketing to their advantage. Dr. Rafael Lugo, a Houston general surgeon, has experience in understanding marketing trends for the health care industry. He is finding that medical device providers, pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, practices, and insurance providers no longer benefit from traditional digital marketing used by other organizations in the industry of health care. While studies completed by Epocrates and other manufacturers continue to show that 96 percent of physicians use smartphones and anywhere between 56 to 76 percent utilize tablet devices, more recent studies reveal that 80 percent of traditional physicians are still using general browsers for search engine access to diagnose, treat, and provide ongoing care. In addition, these general browsers are still being used to engage with other health care organizations which is why the health care industry needs to consider some form of digital marketing to survive in today’s competitive world.
Studies done with Think With Google show that 84 percent of patients utilize both offline and online sources to complete hospital research. Search engines such as Google bring about three times more visitors to a hospital versus more traditional means, and upwards of 44 percent use their mobile phones to schedule an appointment with the hospital they choose.
Dr. Rafael Lugo of Houston has determined that the best strategy for success is the right online content. New content needs to be produced regularly in order to allow hospital groups and physicians to be found and generate patients leads to build their practice—while maintaining their current patients.
Lugo encourages physicians and hospitals to consider using more social media channels to focus on search engine results, which means posting regular videos, webinars, blogs, e-books, and social media updates. The more health care organizations update this content and stay relevant, the easier they will be found by potential patients to their practice. It is also economical and helps in building a brand that patients know and trust. “It is truly a win-win for the patient and physician,” states Lugo.
It is essential that physicians stay abreast of changes in digital marketing and re-strategize as necessary to maintain the growth of their practice and familiarize potential patients with their name and expertise.