Tim Weinheimer's picture

The "New" Patient Journey: How Mobile is Transforming Healthcare

Mobile is changing healthcare marketing and [[wysiwyg_imageupload:213:]]
communications in three major ways. First, it's transformed the creation of content and the way communicators determine what's relevant and to whom. Secondly, it's changed how communicators create and inhabit platforms —specifically to engage and converse with people and patients. Finally, mobile has shifted communicators’ views of what’s actually valuable to a patient long before the doctor actually take his or her temperature!

Patient engagement has gone from a triage to a “four-age”: Sixty percent of U.S. patients are using their smart device while waiting for an appointment and even during the doctor visit. The classic teachable moment has gone from a party of three with the doctor, patient and nurse to a party of four that now includes a mobile device. Clearly knowing and understanding your mobile patient’s profile is job one.

Patients’ search for health answers happening morning until night: Patients seek instant answers whether for ourselves or for family and friends in immediate possible medical need or otherwise. Intimate knowledge of the target audiences online behaviors and search patterns is essential. What are the mobile keywords they are using? Is your brand, product or other solution being found when they are looking for answers? From exercise tips to cholesterol medications and fitness app reviews to smoking cessation programs, are you being found online for what your brand wants to be found for?

Patients turn to mobile-social channels for different answers. Consumers have endless options for healthcare information and seek all sorts of answers online. Why? They want a better understanding of the information that’s already been given to them or they seek alternative descriptions or even second opinions. Additionally, they seek out similar online communities for support, education and reassurance. Is your brand listening to these conversations and building action plans outreach education? And distributing new, relevant content in these places?

Digital patient journey today has many entry points. Now commonly referred to as the empowered ePatient, consumers can search online, talk with friends, turn to social media, or call their physician assistant. Ketchum recommends healthcare brands take an “always on” approach to building a 360-degree communications plan to intersect with target audiences at each entry point into your business or product lifecycle. Empowered ePatient by The Healthcare Marketer and The Digital Journey to Wellness by Think with Google.

Buliding a 360-degree communications plan around the new patient “four-age” for 2015.

  • Start with clear online patient personas: It is important to develop a     clear digital patient profile and to understand the patient need.
  • Create a new set of mobile-social goals: Past goals are very likely no longer relevant. Show visual of mobile data in how global mobile site traffic revealed where customers coming from – when, where and what they are seeking including evaluating terms patients actually use when searching online.
  • Map patients wants and needs to content and channel: Understanding the digital patient profile helps clearly identify the appropriate tools to suit the need.
  • Create new assets and content based on patient needs/insights: Keep them coming back for more.
  • Promote content in smarter, relevant ways: Better social listening leads to improved patient content, tools, and resources
  • Measure, analyze and assess: Take the time to review your online analytics data to know what’s working, what’s not. Where are patients spending the most time and what were they seeking but did not find?

Brands can live at the center of the new patient “four-age” engagement – they just need to have a different vision for 2015.