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The Consumer, MD: Changing Healthcare Forever

Are you taking good care of yourself? If so, you’re not alone. Recent insights provided from GLG Research* shows a major shift over the past four years: Americans are getting healthier. We’re exercising, putting on sunscreen, and making sleep a priority. And thanks to the web, we’re shopping around for healthcare like never before. We’re demanding excellent service. And we don’t want to wait for it. Americans are using a variety of sources to decide where they will get their healthcare. And, big surprise: digital marketing is making a bigger impact than ever.

What are we looking for in a healthcare facility?

The first thing Americans look for in a healthcare provider is expertise. Does the hospital have a long-standing history? Does it boast a teaching hospital and/or a research institute with regular growth and innovation? Are in-house healthcare experts providing thought leadership for the community at large? As healthcare brands move to responsive websites and content marketing, they are giving consumers easier ways to find the right doctor and hospital and make better decisions.

The second key factor is word of mouth—from our family, friends, and experts in the field. Forty six percent of survey respondents listed family and friends as their source for healthcare information. Twenty-two percent listed consumer reviews. We’re using our social networks, community sites, blogs, and consumer reviews to find better health.

When it comes to choosing a facility, there’s no one we trust more than our friends and peers—they don’t have a sales pitch, and they speak our language (not doctor-talk). Social media brings together like-minded communities, where we can identify with people who have the same health concerns we do. Digital marketing on social media enables healthcare brands to be part of the conversations and to offer thought leadership in their areas of expertise. “Consumers are increasingly turning to social media for healthcare information, advice, complaints, and peer reassurance,” says Amy Howard, Media Strategist who leads the social media practice at GLG. “Healthcare brands that have not defined their social media strategy at this point should be scrambling to meet these patient expectations.”

Last but not least, consumers want convenience. Think location and wearables. We’re busy. We want a healthcare clinic or hospital that’s nearby. And we’re looking for wearable technologies and mobile monitoring devices that make it easier to learn about our health and get a diagnosis. We expect to be connected physically and digitally, but on our terms. Innovative doctors and hospitals who have convenient locations and can integrate with consumer health technology have a distinct advantage in attracting today’s consumers.

Add it up and you can see that the healthcare industry is in a massive transition. Hospitals and doctors are replacing the “take a number and get in line” mentality with a more concierge, service-oriented approach. This is the era of the Consumer MD, where consumers have access to their health information and data outside the doctor’s office. And we can thank good digital marketing for writing the prescription.

See how GLG is helping Philips Healthcare create digital experiences to move its brand forward.

Learn how GLG is creating technology-based healthcare marketing solutions for Intel-GE Care Innovations.

See the award-winning work GLG is doing for leading medical technology company Stryker.

*GLG Research incorporates findings from a number of leading research partners, including Gartner, CEB Iconoculture, e-Marketer, Nielsen, and more.