It is a rather common phrase that floats along in this day and age, that “the future is digital”. With all the rapid advancements made in technology and the ever-changing nature of the electronic age we live in, the saying is all the more relevant. Social media is taking the world by storm, with multiple avenues and infinite possibilities, including social media automation, most notably, Facebook automation. The global trend in marketing is taking a step away from static advertisements and conventional means of marketing, and taking strides towards digital marketing and social media automation.
Marketing has taken several steps forward over the past 10 years, so much so that if you had asked people 10 years ago about the things that we literally take for granted these days, they would tell you that you were crazy! The healthcare industry is one such area where people wouldn’t believe that marketing would play a crucial role, but that is, indeed, the case. Over the years, marketing in the healthcare industry has really evolved and transformed into the modern-day amalgamation of social media and advertising that we see today.
How has marketing in the healthcare industry changed?
It is still quite wondrous to think about how much marketing in the healthcare industry has changed over the past decade. Previously, the major means of marketing was based on conventional and traditional methods such as the radio, TV, print, and mail. The major problem with the previous kind of marketing was that it was literally a one-time deal; they release an advertisement at one point of time and just hope that it reaches out to people from all walks of life. It did not allow room for modifications or adjustments based on public response and reception.
Nowadays, not only has the healthcare marketing strategy changed, the patients and the healthcare industry as such have changed entirely as well. In the past, patients were drastically less demanding and proactive about their health. Patients are more conscious about their health and the medicine and procedures prescribed to them in this “information age”. It is common that patients go online and research everything there is to know about their medical conditions and demand transparency and communication from their healthcare providers. Patients are also increasingly critical of the healthcare industry and double-check the information provided by marketing campaigns and their doctors, making this sector even more challenging these days.
Most hospitals and associated doctors are starting to believe that technology and digital marketing is no longer optional when it comes to the healthcare industry. Anything that is not readily accessible and cannot be researched by your everyday layman on the internet is not given due credit in this day and age, and the healthcare industry is no different. The world required health care to be digitized, and the marketing sector did not disappoint. Hospitals and healthcare providers all over the globe are increasingly turning to the internet and social media to promote their craft and to provide the public the statistics and outreach that they need and demand. This makes a lot of sense, considering that most doctors as well patients research ailments on the internet prior to any human interaction.
Furthermore, booking appointments to visit your doctor has never been easier. Some would say that it is easier to arrange a doctor’s appointment than to order a pizza online! Hospitals all over the world have introduced online booking for hospital visits and the system is really efficient and focused on saving both the doctor’s and the patients’ time.
Marketing in Healthcare – Challenges involved
Marketing in the healthcare industry is a very challenging task, especially in this day and age. There are several levels of restrictions and regulations on healthcare marketing, including the HIPAA compliance regulations and the FDA related restrictions, which make the healthcare marketing scene lag several paces behind other industries in the marketing realm.
HIPAA stands for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, a law that was passed in 1996 and pertains to health insurance and requires the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to publicize standards for the electronic exchange, security, and privacy of health information. This Act limits how patient information can be used, thereby causing a massive hindrance to potential marketing ideas as patient information is confidential and proven results are difficult to be marketed without HIPAA approval.
The FDA, or the Food and Drug Administration of the USA, has a firm chokehold on digital marketing, imposing various restrictions on the means of digital marketing. The FDA is responsible for checking the facts and information provided in marketing strategies in the healthcare industry and it offers only very little wiggle room in that avenue. Restrictions placed by the FDA are often what makes it quite difficult and unappealing for people in the marketing business to take up projects in the healthcare industry.
What to expect in the future of healthcare marketing
- An increase in user-generated content
- Social media automation for increased efficiency in dealing with and sorting patients
- Video content and live streaming of healthcare propaganda
- Diminished traditional marketing strategies and more of digital marketing.
- Increased transparency and more effective communication in the healthcare sector
The future is certainly bright and filled with numerous possibilities. The prospect of marketing in the healthcare industry has been steadily improving over the years and an increasing number of investors are venturing into the scene, seeing the potential for growth and expansion. Regardless, the integration of digital marketing seems to be a big step forward that will help patients and healthcare providers alike.