Smarter Apps + Patients = Oppor2nity for Physicians

August 12, 2014

Doctor with a stethoscope in the hands and office backgroundSmarter healthcare apps and mobile devices are yielding a generation of patients aware of blood pressure, heart rates, and more before they step onto a physician’s scale.  The age of diagnostically naïve patients is giving way to an era of patients armed with much more personalized healthcare data. With healthcare information online search on the rise, venture capitalization trends guarantee patient resources will increase in number and functionality year over year. During the first 6 months of this year, $2.3 billion was sunk into digital health offerings compared to $2 billion in all of 2013, according to digital healthcare accelerator Rock Health.

Online Search for On the Rise

As a result, we’re moving rapidly from a paternalistic delivery model to an increasingly consultative model. The cumulative impact of health IT and direct-to-consumer healthcare commercials means more patients arrive to a doctor’s office with preconceived ideas about treatment options. Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project found that one in three U.S. adults say they’ve gone online specifically to figure out what medical condition they or someone else might have. Of that number, 46% said they sought the attention of a medical professional as a result. These trends represent a huge opportunity for physicians to extend patient engagement, improve ratings and reviews, and boost word-of-mouth referrals by becoming trusted filtering resources of the kind of information patients are already looking for online.

A Strategy for Maximizing the Opportunity

Many physicians add links to online resources to their web pages.  While expedient, this step ignores a priceless opportunity for brand differentiation.  Every click to that page of the website represents an opportunity to directly connect the physician’s unique expertise to the linked content.  Patients don’t need a doctor’s help to find health information sites anymore; however they do want to know what their physicians think about this information.  For prospective patients, offering the physicians perspective draws them closer to the bedside manner of the physician. It can mean the difference between making an appointment and delaying a few more weeks.

As a physician, you want patients to know that you care and that your opinion adds value to the information they’re finding online. You can do this by strategically featuring digital resources to your site, accompanied by a physician’s introduction, caveats of expertise and superficial advice to provoke an appointment.  At Carestruck, we save physicians time by providing these insightful introductions in the voice of our clients.  Without being too specific, directly connect the physician’s expertise at the moment prospective patients are seeking it. It’s just one step toward making your site more relevant than the results of a topical google search.  This singular strategy ties  your brand to a process that has a nearly 50% chance of leading the prospect to seek out a medical professional.

We’re helping physicians navigate a digital environment exploding with patient-centric resources to find new ways to extend patient engagement and strengthen brand differentiation. For more ideas, sign up for our newsletter at www.carestruck.com.