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The mobile market is growing at an incredible rate and physicians will have to pay attention to this medium when marketing their practice.
The healthcare industry is witnessing a period seismic shift brought about by the Affordable Care Act. The consumer is at the center of all healthcare services, and digital experiences have a significant impact in their decision-making process.
In a competitive market, quality of care as well as the cost are the differentiating factors, but keeping up with the standards of rising digital expectations are a must to thrive and survive. In this sense, mobile health (mHealth) has become valuable for providers looking to gain an edge.
The statistics below demonstrate mobile’s rising prominence in the healthcare industry:
Prior to booking an appointment:
• 77 percent of patients used search.
• 83 percent used hospital sites.
• 54 percent used health insurance company sites.
• 50 percent used health information sites.
• 26 percent used consumer-generated reviews.
(Source: Google Think)
The percentage of people using mobile phones at different times is:
• 61 percent while at home
• 27 percent at work
• 23 percent while visiting friends or family at home
• 20 percent while out of town
• 16 percent while in a doctor’s office
(Source: Google Think)
Earlier last year, Google announced that it would begin using mobile-friendly sites as a ranking signal. That means if your website isn’t mobile-friendly, it will soon see a decrease in search engine rankings and you can lose potential patients who carry out an online search before visiting a physician. Also referred to as “mobilegeddon” or “mobilepocalyse,” the main aim behind introducing this change is to improve the user experience.
Moreover, healthcare users now expect tailored content to satisfy their thirst for knowledge. While social media channels also offer opportunities to track the online audience, mobile channels open up other extensive features such as push notifications, SMS, geo-location, and preference settings. Along with all these features is the ease of using mobile applications and Internet services any place you want. The ever-increasing sophistication and development of smartphones is a catalyst driving this change further.
According to ABI Research, the market for mHealth apps is expected to quadruple to $400 million by 2016 as global sales of smartphones are expected to hit 1.5 billion units this year. Smartphones can also help tap a large segment of population of the age group of 18-35 years, who use this device more than any other. Today’s popular smartphones (iPhone and Android) offer unique, innovative capabilities that aren’t available on PCs.
What does this mean to the healthcare organizations and all others across the healthcare value chain?
If your practice still isn’t planning to strategize its marketing strategies by keeping in mind the mobile users, it will affect your online reputation, reviews, and ratings. Not only will you be losing the business it can bring you, it may also cause a serious blow to your online reputation.
Healthcare practioners who will embrace and inculcate this change into their operations and marketing activities definitely have an edge over others in the industry and will be better-positioned to meet the needs of today’s “digitally empowered” consumers.
Manish Chauhan is Digital Marketing Manager at myPracticeReputation which is an easy-to-use reputation management solution for physicians to help monitor, protect and promote their medical practices at all times in the simplest way possible.