“We are living in a digital world, and healthcare practices need a URL”. If Madonna could change the lyrics of her 1984 classic to speak to the healthcare industry, she may have sang something like this. A URL is just one facet of the digital strategy that hospitals and private practices alike will need to adapt if they wish to remain competitive in today’s world. Here are a few other trends worth taking note of.
More and more practices are understanding the importance of online presence. These days you need a website, but not just any website: a responsive one is key. In fact, PEW Research noted that in 2014, 72 percent of American internet users got healthcare information online. And that number is only growing. Data from the Children’s National Health System supports this statistic, as almost half of all their site visitors came from mobile devices. What’s more, their responsive design has also led to 15% more page views and 54% more donations. Moral of the story: without a responsive website and informative content, your site visitors are likely to bounce (not to mention Google won’t rank you as high in search engines).
To go along with a responsive website, healthcare practices should also consider adding social media profiles and pages. More and more patients, especially the younger generation, are using these platforms to get medical advice. And they can provide your organization an alternative means to keep in touch with patients, while humanizing your practice.
It’s becoming clear that telemedicine is the future of healthcare. It provides patients easier access to medical services and the ability to cut costs. Tools such as The ACT – a device which consists of a cell phone, sensor pendant and patch electrodes – can monitor a patient’s heart remotely and transmit the information to a doctor automatically via Wi-Fi. A tool like this can literally be a lifesaver as it allows a doctor to notice abnormalities immediately, at which point he can get in touch with the patient or send an ambulance. Apple is also catching on to this trend with the Apple Watch, which can also monitor heart rate.
Perhaps a more significant trend in remote care for patients is the ability to have a virtual office visit with their doctor. With advances in telemedicine enabling doctors to look into the throats and ears of patients remotely and virtually listen to their heartbeat, rural patients can save time and money by skipping the trip to the doctor’s physical office which could be dozens or even hundreds of miles away.