By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer
The future is impossible to predict with precision, but it’s helpful to keep your eyes on the road ahead. Here are a few key things we see just over the horizon that have implications for healthcare marketing…soon, or someday soon.
Facebook will challenge Google in search, and Google will challenge Facebook in social. Both are looking for advertising revenue. Facebook and Google are titans in their specialty, but it looks like neither is content to stay on their primary turf. Google has Google+ in the social world, and Facebook—according to a Businessweek account—wants to expand with it’s own search engine.
Healthcare marketing implications: If you are currently doing online advertising or plan to do so in the future, your options will be changing. Keeping current is tough enough, and change is constant anyway. But when the really big guys begin to arm wrestle, the changes will be significant, and competitive pricing could be to the marketer’s advantage.
Local TV stations are increasingly social, which is a new, open opportunity for healthcare marketing and PR professionals to connect. Not surprisingly, local television stations have discovered that they can extend their coverage and conversations with viewers and advertisers via social media. Industry pub Advertising Age recently published a special report on how broadcasters are leveraging their content online via Twitter, Facebook and other social media tools.
Healthcare marketing implications: TV stations increasingly want to “engage” with you, opening the door for healthcare public relations and marketing pros to sign-on and speak-up about local events, local news coverage and medical issues.
Personalized interactive patient portal replaces the old TV set in every hospital room for entertainment, engagement and education. Technology has been expanding the digital envelope for some time, and a recent version of the “latest-and-greatest” telehealth system is TigrNet. (The Johns Hopkins Children’s Center is a state-of-the-art illustration.) The in-room TV services at this hospital—and others in the future—presumably still have cartoons for kids, but the big-flat-screen set is also an interactive gateway for patients, family and friends.
Healthcare marketing implications: This is a communications channel that didn’t exist until recently, but it greatly expands the options for both the facility and for the visitor. The family-friendly connection not only entertains, but the digital highway expands to include educational videos, clinician bios, service guide, satisfaction surveys and other real-time and interactive communications options.
And looking even longer range…
Futurist Jim Carroll predicts that by 2020 healthcare delivery will include virtual hospitals. In the next eight years (or less) technology will drive innovation, and bio-connectivity will evolve into virtual hospitals. The “velocity of Moore’s Law” will transform healthcare, among other industries. (This and other future predictions are on Mashable.)
Healthcare marketing implications: What we know today as remote medical monitoring and management will increasingly grow faster than ever before. And a “virtual hospital” would have a central facility location, but decentralized patients under care. A patient-centered approach is increasingly important, and the means to connect and communicate is increasingly digital.
How do you see the future impacting healthcare marketing? What other trends or developing ideas are you tracking?