From mobile apps to software that supports doctors’ clinical decisions, from artificial intelligence to machine learning, from telemedicine to the Internet of Medical Things: it is now clear that the digital marketing in the Healthcare sector is concretely increasing diagnostic capacity and care and at the same time is improving the delivery of health care to citizens and patients.
Digital health technologies use IT platforms, connectivity, software, and sensors to pursue a wide range of objectives: from achieving and maintaining a general level of well-being to developing real medical and diagnostic devices.
In the original care ecosystem that digitalization is reshaping, the availability of huge amounts of data translates into a new approach to health information and health marketing. Digital marketing in Healthcare becomes Digital Health, to which all the players in the sector now tend, both public organizations and companies.
What makes this paradigm shift possible is the collection and monitoring of patient information that comes from a wide variety of sources: hospitals, digitalized systems of medical practices and institutional bodies, apps dedicated to Healthcare, medical devices, from the digital channels of brands such as website, customer support and CRM, ad hoc apps, social networks, email campaigns. So let’s try to deepen the characteristics of this new model of care.
Connected Healthcare IT and Mobile Health: a new model of care
The expression “Digital Health” is an umbrella term that refers both to technologies that can be used to treat patients and to technologies that are used to collect and share information on the health of patients themselves: mobile applications, wearable devices (the so-called wearables), telemedicine, big data, robotics, and artificial intelligence.
The impact of digital marketing in Healthcare is immediate:
- medical records and recipes are dematerialized and become electronic;
- the therapy also takes place through virtual channels (for example, smartphones), with a saving of time that can prove to be invaluable;
- The voice interfaces manage less urgent and complicated requests in real-time, lightening the operators’ workload at the counters.
These are just some of the practical consequences that a radical rethinking of the care model can produce: the digital marketing enables the construction of a “Connected Care” system within which, thanks to the latest advances in terms of mobility and connectivity, healthcare SEO services are increasingly connected and the communication distances between patients, doctors and operators are increasingly reduced. A system in which many medical devices can already connect and communicate with other devices or systems and in which devices approved and authorized by the institutions of the individual countries are continuously updated to add digital functionality.
“Health IT” refers to health information technologies – hardware, software, and infrastructures – used to create, maintain, access, and exchange clinical, administrative, or financial information.
Health IT is a branch of Digital Health, the framework that allows the management of health information across multiple electronic systems and devices. The broad scope of digital health includes categories such as Mobile Health, wearable devices, telemedicine, and personalized medicine.
What are the advantages of digital marketing in the Healthcare sector?
Digital marketing in Healthcare involves different parties in digital health activities: patients, healthcare professionals, researchers, companies in the traditional medical device sector, and, last but not least, software houses and mobile application developers. Thanks to access to data, digital tools offer all players in the industry a more holistic view of patients’ health while allowing patients to exercise greater control over their health.
On the one hand, new technologies:
- enable consumers to make more informed decisions;
- provide new options to facilitate the prevention, early detection of life-threatening diseases and the management of chronic conditions outside traditional health care settings;
- Allow you to better monitor well-being and quality of life activities.
On the other hand, providers and other stakeholders can use digital health technologies to:
- reduce inefficiencies;
- reduce costs;
- improve access to health information;
- increase the quality and personalization of care services.
The major applications of digital technologies to the healthcare sector
Any company that operates in different capacities in Healthcare cannot afford to ignore the undeniable advantages of digital marketing. To stay on top, he’ll have to, at the same time, move away from outdated business processes and encourage a shift towards a more flexible mindset within his team. Finally, it will have to decide which emerging technologies are worth investing in. Below is a short (non-exhaustive) list of the main digital applications in the medical and health field.
Software as a medical device refers to software intended to be used for one or more medical purposes that are not part of a hardware medical device.
Artificial intelligence e machine learning
Medical device manufacturers use artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies to innovate their products. The tools that incorporate these technologies have the potential to profoundly transform Healthcare, as they can extract truly useful and meaningful insights from the mass of data generated every day during service delivery.
With the advent of digital marketing in healthcare, medical devices are increasingly connected to the Internet, hospital networks, and other medical devices. Unfortunately, with enhancing connectivity and interactivity, cybersecurity risks also increase. This is because medical devices, as well as other computer systems, can be vulnerable to breaches and breaches.
Cybersecurity in Healthcare involves protecting information and electronic resources from unauthorized access, use, and disclosure. The objectives of IT security are essentially three: to preserve the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information. The healthcare environment is complex; therefore, it becomes very difficult to eliminate threats to the security and privacy of Healthcare and clinical data. Therefore, the collaboration between manufacturers, hospitals, and facilities becomes essential to implement effective solutions to manage and reduce potential risks.
Mobile medical app
The adoption and diffusion of software technologies are opening up new scenarios for improving health and healthcare delivery. Medical apps, also called mobile medical apps, are applications for mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets that support medical professionals or patients in diagnosing, treating, or monitoring an illness or injury. There are several categories of apps that have been developed for the healthcare industry:
- apps that are an accessory or extension of a medical device, for example, those that directly control blood pressure measurement or apps that remotely view the values of medical devices;
- apps that offer patient support, such as calculating drug doses or detecting drug interactions and contraindications;
- computer software for radiological image analysis or processing (for diagnostic purposes);
- apps that support the patient in coping with their daily life, for example, by reminding them regularly to take prescribed drugs;
- apps that allow patients to document their readings and check blood pressure, pain, or other routine activities;
- apps that give the patient-specific information for particular diseases;
- app with which patients can communicate with their doctors;
- apps that allow access to clinical information systems;
- Apps that perform simple calculations like a body mass index (BMI).
In Italy, high investments in so-called medical apps do not seem to ensure an adequate return. Although the traced picture presents many shadows, it leaves ample room for improvement.
Telemedicine employs electronic and telecommunications technologies to support and promote long-distance clinical health care, professional education, patient information, public health, and health systems administration. These technologies include video conferencing, multimedia streaming, and wireless communications.
Trends and perspectives of the digital marketing of healthcare systems
The convergence of important trends at work in the health sector:
- the changing preferences of users, who give increasing priority to the ease of access to care;
- the main health systems are changing operations, culture, and use of technologies to become more and more patient-friendly;
- The rapid evolution of technologies.
The Deloitte Center for Health Solutions concluded in a study that photographs the situation from the perspective of those responsible for technological innovation of some companies operating in the health sector.
The overwhelming majority of respondents (92%) said they want to offer a better patient experience and intend to achieve this by redesigning the processes from the patient’s point of view, thanks to the resources made available by digitization. Such an approach is necessary to build a relationship based on trust and loyalty.
Most respondents (60%) place their organization in the middle of the digital marketing journey and recognize the need to create frequent checkpoints to measure the value of initiatives in terms of budget, human resources involved, and data management. Data interloper ability and defining specific key performance indicators (KPIs).
To reach these users and offer them a positive experience, institutions and brands need to accelerate their efforts:
- establish a sustainable model of governance,
- create a digital culture based on innovation,
- develop effective and measurable healthcare marketing strategies.
Focus: digital marketing in the healthcare context
In line with what has been observed in the rest of Europe, the Italian context is also marked by the growing pressure on health systems due to the large incidence of demographic changes.
Digital marketing in Healthcare is, therefore, also taking place in the healthcare sector of our country:
- even if electronic medical records and electronic prescription systems remain the most used technologies, 5% and 8% of health professionals interviewed state that they use AI and robotics, respectively;
- it is the bureaucracy holding back the digital marketing process, as stated by 64% of the health professionals interviewed.
The goal of digital marketing in Healthcare is? Enhance the patient experience
We’ve already touched upon one latest trend revolutionizing dynamics within the healthcare sector: Patient expectations regarding health, care, and well-being are higher than ever.
The goal is to build an engaging and satisfying experience for them along the entire treatment path. A patient experience in which the patient’s journey is fluid on all points of contact and channels, personalized and safe.
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