Smartphone health-care applications have mushroomed in recent years, with proven results of enhancing mobile communication among health-care providers, increasing patient access to medical services, and improving patient care. Used widely by health professionals, medical and nursing students, and patients, smartphones have become the go-to tool for medical practice at the point of crisis. With the number of applications growing and with more advanced functionalities available with each new release, smartphones are rightfully receiving noted attention in the health-care industry as medical researchers explore the design, software, and potential of mobile technology.
Health-care professionals know that keeping up with the latest marketing trends is one of the keys to the success of their practice in the twenty-first century. With over 75 percent of patients using the Internet to access health-related information—including looking up health professionals and viewing websites before booking an appointment—knowing how to leverage technology and marketing is paramount to being a player in the industry.
For medical practices to thrive in the digital age, cookie-cutter marketing strategies no longer fit the bill. With increasingly Internet-savvy patients, technological know-how mixed with innovation are required to target and attract patients. In fact, industry experts recommend that all health-care professionals create a personalized medical-marketing plan and even a hire a professional to put these strategies into action.
eHealth or e-health refers to the use of technology in health care, including information, communications, and treatment. Falling under the umbrella of e-health are the use of electronic and digital devices and processes, health-care apps and links, online interaction with health professionals, Internet-based programs, phone-based interventions and programs, peer support services, health informatics, and the use of pioneering technologies such as interactive voice response (IVR). Related terms are m-health or mHealth, telemedicine, telehealth, and cybermedicine. eHealth is used for physical health and mental health.
In fact, the new millennium has ushered in the phenomenon of a cyber doctor or cyber physician, who does consultation and treatment via the Internet without meeting patients face-to-face. This practice can include phone, fax, or online medical consultation, as well as drug prescription.
One area in which eHealth has become more prevalent is mental health or e-mental health, which includes practices such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), psychological counseling, clinical social work, individual counseling, group support, and family therapy.
Medical apps are giving health care a modern facelift, opening up new avenues of accessing medical information, tools, and resources and improving the delivery of health-care services. Apps, which are software programs developed for a specific purpose and which run on a computer or mobile device, are available for download for both professional and individual use.
Some of the ways in which health-care professionals (HCPs) use mobile apps include: practice management; consulting and communication; health record access and maintenance; a database regarding drugs and diseases; prescribing and diagnosing; coding and billing; online learning; as a patient-monitoring tool capable of reading a patient’s blood pressure, glucose level, or heart rhythm. There are medical apps that conduct hearing and vision tests as well as point-of-care aids such as medical calculators, textbooks, drug guides, and literature search portals. Seventy percent of HCPs and medical students report regular use of at least one medical app daily.
Medical marketing is a full-time job in today’s dynamic health-care industry. Building a successful health-care organization in the age of technology requires a savvy team of business management experts who are up-to-date with industry regulations and changes, who possess superior marketing skills, and who can customize services to meet the unique needs of patients. If you are looking for a partner to grow your medical practice and take your business to the next level, consider outsourcing medical marketing to a firm that can help you achieve your goals.
By outsourcing medical marketing, health-care providers allow professionals to handle the business end of their practice while they focus on core patient care. A solid health-care marketing plan should attract new patients, encourage referrals, minimize burdensome administrative tasks, build strategic associations, advance goals, and increase revenue growth.
Health care and the Internet increasingly go hand in hand, capitalizing on the latest advancements in technology to improve and enhance health-care services. It is almost impossible to conceptualize the medical system today without the Internet and a modern lexicon that includes terms such as e-health, electronic health records, CAT scans and MRIs, digital medicine, big data management, telehealth, cloud-based analytics, biometrics, and other similar terms.
With scores of online websites such as WebMD, Dr. Google, and PatientsLikeMe, people all over the world have access to massive amounts of information about diseases, chronic illnesses, illness signs, symptoms, prevention and treatment options, alternative medicines, and therapies. Patients can share stories and experiences on online forums, receive peer or physician support and advice, participate in online self-directed therapy for specific disorders (i.e., quitting smoking and gambling addiction), and even access medical care via the web.