It’s no secret that digital technology has changed the way patients approach healthcare. By the time patients visit your practice, they’ve likely already researched their condition or concerns online, on their smartphone and/or through a mobile health app. These changing behaviors are important to understand because they can affect how you communicate and connect with patients now and in the future.
Luckily, with change comes opportunity, and providers now have a variety of new communication channels available to them to engage patients in new ways across their entire healthcare journey.
Here are three opportunities to consider that occur before the patient even enters your practice:
1. During their search for health information
More than 80 percent of internet users in the U.S. look up health information online. That’s roughly 60 percent of the population. Without a strong online presence (which includes, at minimum, a branded website), you could be missing out on an opportunity to reach three out of every five adults. To ensure people are finding you and not other providers, make sure you have an up-to-date, mobile-friendly website that includes helpful information on commonly researched topics, including specific diseases or conditions, treatments or procedures and background information on your team of healthcare professionals.
2. While they’re comparing healthcare providers
Think about the last time you searched for a generic health term on Google. You were likely presented with thousands (if not more) of results. Patients are faced with the same daunting problem when they search for “doctor near me,” making it difficult to select the provider that best fits their needs. If your practice’s information isn’t accurate or complete, your chances of earning a spot near the top of those seemingly unending pages of results is low. By using tools such as PatientPoint Locate to help you maintain your online listing quickly and easily, you’ll increase your chances of standing out from other local providers with a higher search engine visibility.
You can use our free scanning tool to check the accuracy of your online listing now and see how your organization appears in a variety of directories.
3. When they’re browsing social media
If you adhere to the long-held belief that social media and healthcare do not mix, it’s time to recognize that industry tides are turning. Today, 65 percent of physicians use social media for professional reasons – and more than 40 percent of consumers say that information found via social media impacts the way they deal with their health.
Whether you’re posting in-depth resources into specialty conditions, educational videos on general topics or details about the services you offer, social sharing creates the opportunity to build awareness, connect with potential patients and position yourself as a trustworthy, credible source for health information.
Learn how to connect and communicate with your patients to increase engagement by downloading our whitepaper.