According to Pew Internet & American Life Project, nearly 80 percent of Internet users or about 93 million Americans searched for a health-related topic online. The study indicates that looking for health or medical information is one of the most popular activities, therefore, online hospital marketers carry a large responsibility when managing their organization’s online presence.
But thanks to the explosion in digital health technologies, healthcare marketers now have access to innovative new tools that until recently, didn’t exist. These tools not only help hospitals reach their specific audiences, but also help give an unprecedented level of empowering insight into marketing strategies and tactics.
It’s not surprising then that some of the largest and most well-known health systems are also the most technology-forward and visionary. They are also seeing significant increases in referrals and patient volume.
The benefit to patients is clear. Physicians that specialize in certain procedures and have high volume in their respective areas of expertise deliver the best outcomes. Campaigns that help hospitals connect patients to their centers of excellence create a win-win for physicians and patients alike.
Here are the top three strategies implemented by the most successful healthcare organizations today:
1. Utilize Social Media
Social media platforms that are specific to healthcare play a vital role in communications and are a powerful medium for healthcare institutions to get their message out to referring providers.
Erika Smith, Director of Marketing at Stanford Children’s Health, presented at the 2017 Healthcare Internet Conference in Austin, and shared how social media has benefited their marketing efforts.
For three years, Stanford worked with Doximity, the largest social network for doctors, and focused mainly on physician communications through the platform’s Connect feature, which helps hospitals expand their referral networks. This tool enabled them to target distinct audiences and surface the right content to the right physicians.
Using this strategic approach, Stanford Children’s Health saw a 27 percent increase in patient referrals and gained 29 new referring physicians in specialties including pediatric cardiology, pediatric nephrology, neurosurgery, and orthopedic surgery.
2. Tailor Content Marketing
Content Marketing helps primary care physicians find the right specialty care for their patients by growing awareness of the physicians and institutions performing certain procedures.
For example, by employing Content Marketing tactics via Doximity’s hospital marketing platform, Ochsner Health System was able to reach and build new connections with referring clinicians. Within one year, the Louisiana-based system connected patients to the right care, seeing more than 50 new referrals — two of those being a liver transplant and a complex heart valve procedure.
Through thoughtful placement of content, hospitals can make sure doctors receive the right message at the right time, which ultimately leads to more patients getting the appropriate care from the best medical experts.
3. Maximize Reputation
Once strong social engagement and content marketing are in place, hospitals can activate their most underutilized, but most powerful resource — their physicians. A hospital’s physicians are its ambassadors and are the most powerful asset an organization can leverage to build awareness and reputation.
Successful hospital marketers are already implementing these digital strategies, leveraging the innovative work of their most promising physicians who are crucial to their institution.
Identify your top physicians and feature them across any public-facing collateral: website, blog, newsletters, social media posts, etc. Referring physicians and potential patients will begin to organically come across papers your physicians have published, or press they have been featured in.
With continued change throughout the healthcare ecosystem, tech-savvy marketers who apply these strategies will see successful results using a highly-targeted, precise, and strategic approach when engaging with physicians and patients.