Five key marketing strategies to stand out in online healthcare marketing
Regardless of your specification within healthcare, your practice needs a strong online presence and a constant focus on healthcare marketing. Whether you are a practicing physicians, dentist, pediatrician or optometrist, making your patients happy and standing out amongst the various competition in your field are two musts in this ever-changing industry.
In order to make your practice stand out, keep the following eight tips in mind when it comes to evaluating your practice’s online presence.
1. Maintain a strategic website
Be sure the website contains relevant contact information, as well as a few pages which describe your services and any testimonials the practice has gained over the years. Your website will act as a liaison between your clients and your practice, so it is of the upmost importance that all communication is efficient, accessible and effective.
2. Make SEO a priority
Even if your practice has a valuable website and quality content, no one will be able to see your marketing presence without SEO optimization. Make a budget for a team to look after the online marketing activity, to ensure that your practice is capitalizing on its audience to the best of its ability and is up-to-date on the latest industry changes. This team will be aware of search engine algorithms, local search marketing, keywords and social media communication.
3. Produce educational content
The key to building returning readership and visits to your online presence resides in your content. Producing quality, informative, interesting and useful content is the key to crafting a unique virtual voice as well as a reputation as a credible online source of healthcare information. Look to answer ongoing questions within your field, contribute to larger conversations within the discipline and be consistent in terms of how you tag or keyword posted articles.
4. Social Media access and promotion
Including social sharing in each page you post onto your site provides an easy and accessible way for your online followers to share your stories. By incorporating social share to your LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Blog and other social media sites you are immediately improving your chances at increased visibility and online conversations due to the accessible nature of this tool.
Additional applications can be included to add to your social share capabilities, including AddThis, Flare or Digg Digg.
5. Video marketing
Video is the wave of the future, regardless your practice’s target demographics. Whether it is a patient testimonial, physician news brief or an explanation of enrollment procedures, video is proven to be the chosen method of receiving information today. It is important to utilize YouTube’s webpage-friendly capabilities to embed videos into your site or upload custom videos to YouTube’s server. From here, you can include various videos from other respected professionals in your field, your own homemade videos or patient videos, with the simple click of a button.
Getting ready for cloud data-driven healthcare
As healthcare continues to recognise the value of data and digital transformation, many organisations are relying on the cloud to make their future-forward and data-centric thinking a reality. In fact, the global healthcare cloud computing market was valued at approximately $18 billion and is expected to generate around $61 billion USD by 2025.
At the forefront of these changes is the rapid adoption of cloud-based, or software-as-a-service (SaaS), applications. These apps can be used to handle patient interactions, track prescriptions, care, billing and more, and the insights derived from this important data can vastly improve operations, procurement and courses of treatment. However, before healthcare organisations can begin to dream about a true data-driven future, they have to deal with a data-driven dilemma: compliance.
Meeting regulation requirements
It’s no secret that healthcare is a highly regulated industry when it comes to data and privacy – and rightfully so. Patient records contain extremely sensitive data that, if changed or erased, could cost someone their life. This is why healthcare systems rely on legacy technologies, like Cerner and Epic EHRs, to manage patient information – the industry knows the vendors put an emphasis on making them as secure as possible.
Yet when SaaS applications are introduced and data starts being moved into them, compliance gets complicated. For example, every time a new application is introduced into an organisation, that organisation must have the vendor complete a BAA (Business Associate Agreement). This agreement essentially puts the responsibility for the safety of patients’ information — maintaining appropriate safeguards and complying with regulations — on the vendor.
However, even with these agreements in place, healthcare systems still are at risk of failing to meet compliance requirements. To comply with HIPAA, U.S. Food and Drug Administration 21 CFR Part 11 and other regulations that stipulate the need to exercise best practices to keep electronic patient data safe, healthcare organisations must maintain comprehensive audit trails – something that gets increasingly difficult when data sits in an application that resides in the vendor’s infrastructure.
Additionally, data often does not stay in the applications – instead healthcare users download, save and copy it into other business intelligence tools, creating data sprawl across the organisation and exposing patient privacy to greater risk.
With so many of these tools that are meant to spur growth and more effective care creating compliance challenges, it begs the question: how can healthcare organisations take advantage of the data they have without risking non-compliance?
Yes, healthcare organisations can adhere to regulations while also getting valuable insights from the wealth of data they have available. However, to help do this, organisations must own their data. This means data must be backed up and stored in an environment that they have control over, rather than in the SaaS vendors’ applications.
Backing up historical SaaS application data directly from an app into an organisation’s own secure cloud infrastructure, such as AWS or Microsoft Azure, makes it easier, and less costly, to maintain a digital chain of custody – or a trail of the different touchpoints of data. This not only increases the visibility and auditability of that data, but organisations can then set appropriate controls around who can access the data.
Likewise, having data from these apps located in one central, easily accessible location can decrease the number of copies floating around an organisation, reducing the surface area of exposure while also making it easier for organisations to securely pull data into business intelligence tools.
When healthcare providers have unfettered access to all their historical data, the possibilities for growth and insights are endless. For example, having ownership and ready access to authorised data can help organisations further implement and support outcome-based care. Insights enabled by this data will help inform diagnoses, prescriptions, treatment plans and more, which benefits not only the patient, but the healthcare ecosystem as a whole.
To keep optimising and improving care, healthcare systems must take advantage of new tools like SaaS applications. By backing up and owning their historical SaaS application data, they can do so while minimising the risk to patient privacy or compliance requirements. Having this ownership and access can propel healthcare organisations to be more data-driven – creating better outcomes for everyone.