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Four Change Agents That Will Influence Your Future Healthcare Marketing

By Stewart Gandolf, Chief Executive Officer

Fresh healthcare marketing ideas sign in the skyHere’s a heads-up snapshot of four recent news items. Each of these is likely to be of growing importance on your healthcare, medical or hospital marketing horizon. We’ll be watching and writing more about:

Google takes a new swing at Facebook with Google+.

This, we predict, will be big…or at least a big battle of online titans worth watching. It seems that Google wants all of us to abandon Facebook in favor of its new social-network-and-search-engine. Google+ (“Google-plus”) is already being tested in the field, so you may have seen it. It’s a direct blast into the social media success that has been dominated by Facebook.

“At its core, Google+ is a social network. The first thing users are introduced to is the Stream. It’s much like the Facebook News Feed, allowing users to share photos, videos, links or their location with friends,” according to Mashable. “That’s where Google+ begins to diverge from Facebook, though. The focus of this social project is not on sharing with a mass group of friends, but on targeted sharing with your various social groups. To do this, Google uses a system called Circles.”

Other distinctions with Google+ include photos and group video chat, a “recommendation engine” and mobile apps for Android. We’d like to hear about your experience with Google+.

Facebook and Monster, in the meantime, take a swing at LinkedIn.

The popularity of LinkedIn has not escaped the attention of Facebook and the job-listing site Monster. To get in on the professional networking side of social media there’s a new app called BeKnown. It takes a page from LinkedIn and enables Facebook users to establish a professional network, search for jobs, and keep personal and work-related contacts and content separate. There’s more about BeKnown (available in 19 languages) here.

Who knew? Consumers prefer the title “hospital” to “medical center.”

So-called “common wisdom” isn’t always right, or so it seems with this survey. “When it comes to choosing a name—'hospital' or 'medical center'—consumers prefer hospital," according to Bauman Research & Consulting LLC. “Consumers tend to associate hospitals with more services, better care, new medicine, and expert physicians, compared to medical centers' offerings.”

Healthcare and provider organizations that took up the Medical Center moniker presumably thought that a hospital communicated an old-fashioned image and/or a medical center was a more cutting edge or broader-based facility. You’ll find more particulars in this news release.

A new consumer directory will compare quality and cost of hospitals and doctors.

“From Maine to California, medical patients can scroll over a U.S. map and find Web-based resources to help them choose a doctor or hospital in their town based on whether patients received recommended tests and treatment, the outcomes of their care, their experience with providers, or the overall cost of care,” declares the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Facility and physician directories aren’t new, and various rating, ranking or comparison systems have inspired pro-and-con debates. This format is worth watching, although similar information is available online via the Department of Health and Human Services.

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