With the rise of social media, patients are more informed than ever before and coupling that with the federal government’s push for electronic medical records, the power of health care is shifting to the individual, argued MedTouch Chairman and CEO Paul Griffiths during this week’s New England Society for Healthcare Communications Spring Symposium.
Individual hospitals or doctor’s offices will be quickly trending away from keeping paper records while larger organizations will look to fill the electronic void in collecting and storing health data for patients — data that they can choose with whom to share it with.
Though this takes away the ability of the provider to be a silo for each patient’s data, it should increase efficiency tremendously at a time when an increasing shortage of primary care physicians and other health care providers is burdening the system.
“Hospitals are [generally] not ready for the customer’s ability to collect data, but doctors are,” Griffiths said. “Smartphones more powerful than typical hospital clinical application tool.”
For marketers, Griffiths said, the key is finding ways to gather data on patients that can dive into the why of decision-making — why patients chose to go to a certain doctor or facility. Griffiths said some of the information most crucial to understanding these decisions won’t be clinical in nature, but more behavioral.
“The collection, sharing and reporting of data will become paramount,” he said. “Patients will more easily self-identify, especially those with long-term care conditions.”
Having a presence in that space, said NESHCO keynote speaker Larry Margolis, president and chief marketing officer of SPM Marketing & Communications, is key. Even bigger, he said, is having a set of ethical guidelines in place for knowing how to interact without taking advantage of patients in a highly sensitive area.
Margolis strongly emphasized the need for transparency when it comes to playing a role in the social media realm, saying dummy profiles and failing to disclose affiliations are big no-nos.
Adam Gaub is a health care editor with SmartBrief. For more on health care marketing, sign up to receive the SmartBrief for HealthCare Marketers, delivered free every Tuesday.
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