Patients Look for Healthcare Content Online

This article is part of ParkerWhite's weekly series, "Health and Wellness This Week," a roundup of the latest healthcare marketing news and what it means for your marketing strategy.As healthcare consumers become more empowered to take a greater role in their care, they are going online to find healthcare content to equip themselves with information.

  • Patients use social media to connect with their healthcare providers
  • Patients use mobile devices in waiting rooms to find health info
  • Patients view infographics to understand health issues

1. Cleveland Clinic's Social Media Power Anchored by Strong Content Strategy

Health Leaders Media interviewed Paul Matsen, chief marketing and communications officer at Cleveland Clinic, to learn more about what the Cleveland Clinic has been doing to be so successful in social media. The organization is utilizing best practices in healthcare content marketing by creating content based on user needs, analyzing data, and optimizing for better results. The key takeaway from Matsen: "Sharing useful, helpful, and relevant information is the main driver of our success. Our Health Hub from Cleveland Clinic blog fuels our social media channels." He also noted that the blog posts are conversational.

Marketing Strategy Insight

It's great to see a healthcare organization successfully leveraging the principles of content marketing. This is something that even smaller organizations can do because of the scalability of content marketing. You can start out with a more manageable execution and with added experience and confidence in the program you can gradually build it up. A focus on useful, helpful, and relevant information on the blog as the hub of the social strategy is key. Many organizations get interested in the idea of cultivating a social media community but want to do this without a blog. This shortcut is not advisable, because you lose the ability to drive traffic back to your website. Bringing patients to your website is critical, because this is where you can provide more information and capture leads. Without a blog as the hub of your strategy, it is much more difficult to drive business goals and achieve a ROI. It is more likely that what you are doing is having conversations (at best) or just sending out messages, without ever tying your efforts back to a business objective.

2. In The Waiting Room Patients Look for Health Content On Mobile Devices

An article on MM&M revealed the results of a recent survey, "The Patients First Reports: In-Office Mobile Device Use," by CMDiConnect. The report provides insights from a survey of 3,000 patients who are 18 and over with more than 200 combined health conditions. The goal was to understand the role of mobile content in the waiting room. The survey found that many patients are looking for healthcare content directly applicable to their appointment to help them confidently talk to doctors. Based on these findings, the agency advises healthcare marketers find ways to create targeted, relevant healthcare content that is easily accessible.

Marketing Strategy Insight

Healthcare content is more important than ever. Consumers are hungry and companies who can provide the best content consumption experiences are the ones who will build meaningful relationships. Content marketing is about providing the right content, to the right people, at the right time, at the right place. Understanding the contexts in which people consume health information is critical for providing the optimal content experience. It dictates what kind of information is served, how it's formatted, how it's accessed, and more. Mobile content in the waiting room presents a huge opportunity for healthcare marketers who want to play a part in patient decision-making. By encouraging people to advocate for themselves and ask for specific products or treatment options from their doctor, healthcare companies can help patients push product demand.

3. The Role of Infographics in the Patient Experience

In an article on HealthWorks Collective, Nicole Fisher highlights the benefits of visual content in healthcare marketing. She suggests the way people consume content online lends to visual content, because it can be digested quickly and easily. For visual content to be most impactful, it needs to be engineered to capture and sustain attention, requiring a solid understanding of consumers. Visual storytelling is much more compelling than throwing raw numbers and facts at people.

Marketing Strategy Insight

Visual marketing assets are an area where most healthcare marketers can still improve. We see that many healthcare companies are now embracing social media and content marketing to reach patients, but very few are prioritizing the visual side of content. This doesn't have to mean high production costs, it just means considering the visuals in your content with the same care as the words. Visuals should be on-brand with a consistent look and feel across channels.

For healthcare marketers, healthcare content can be key to reaching patients. Success comes from understanding patient personas so you can create interesting, relevant content. It's important to understand the context in which content is being delivered and optimize for viewing on any device (a.k.a. responsive design). Content is more likely to be shared and remembered when it's easy to consume.

Patients Look for Healthcare Content Online - PW