Why You Should Be Talking About Tech in Your Health Care Marketing

Melissa Baratta, Affect
Marketing Health Services
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Key Takeaways

​What? Emerging technology can play a major role in health care services.

So what? Health care organizations must communicate the value of tech in their storytelling to attract and engage patients.

Now what? Talk to tech-literate members of the C-suite and practitioners about how tech is being used in your organization and build a content strategy around how these groups are leveraging tech for patients.

​Oct. 24, 2016

Health care organizations must communicate the value of tech in their storytelling to attract and engage patients

Emerging technology is impacting nearly every industry. From AI and VR to telehealth and wearables, it is dramatically changing the face of health care. In fact, several recent surveys by Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) show that health care providers are utilizing a variety of mobile tools to engage patients, such as app-enabled patient portals, telehealth services and text communications. Additionally, more than 50% of hospitals surveyed are using three or more connected health technologies.

To continue attracting and engaging patients and remain competitive in this new environment, health care organizations need to incorporate tech storytelling into their PR and marketing efforts. However, many health care brands are hesitant to talk tech, leaving it to a few industry leaders to own the space. There are a few reasons for this: Some marketers struggle with how to effectively communicate how their organization is implementing emerging tech; others have been wary of jumping into the discussion about technology’s impact on the health care industry because the topic is so new, and they’re unsure of where their voice fits in.

Every health organization can build a storyline about emerging technology that is relevant and meaningful to their brand and audience, and now is the time to capture share of voice in this conversation. Here are five tips for getting started:

1. Conduct an Internal Audit

If you’re unsure whether your organization has a meaningful point of view on technology or if it’s doing anything unique, start by asking questions. You might be surprised at what you find. Have conversations with CTOs, CIOs, CISOs and physicians and researchers to understand how your organization is leveraging emerging tech. Ask pointed questions, such as what they think about AI or telemedicine and how it will impact research or patient care. Many brands think they have nothing to share about technology, but once they start asking those questions, they find they have quite a bit to say.

Also, keep in mind that you don’t need 15 case studies, the latest VR tech or a big Alexa program to have a voice on the topic. Simply having an opinion on emerging tech or two or three use cases goes a long way.

2. Arm Yourself With Data

Data can build a more compelling story and bolster any campaign, and surveys are a great tool for this. For example, surveying hospital administrators about their intended use of AI and machine learning to support radiology and pathology positions over the next five or 10 years could make for a compelling storyline, particularly following recent New England Journal of Medicine studies illustrating how those technologies might impact those roles. The data can then be carved up in numerous ways for marketing purposes, such as a branded report, media campaign, webinar, social content and more.

 

Package Your Tips

Tips campaigns are an easy way to position your organization as a trusted resource. When executive spokespeople share tips and discuss topics that relate to industry trends, it resonates from patient, B-to-B and media perspectives. Of course, they need to be meaningful and actionable, and they are most interesting when created around themes that are getting a lot of buzz or questions, such as patient data security with regard to electronic medical records or AI in the doctor’s office. The tips can be part of articles, blog posts or even on social media, such as videos and Facebook Live posts where the expert can share guidance and conduct social Q&As.

Be a Thought Leader

You no doubt are already writing bylines or op-eds, but consider creating a thought leadership program specifically around emerging tech, even if it’s only a small number of dedicated articles per year. This will position your spokespeople as experts and innovators, and it will also enable your organization to share what it thinks about tech trends, rather than focus on what it is doing with technology. 

For example, your CEO could talk about how tech is impacting patients or the industry or vice versa or how patients are driving the adoption of tech. The chief medical officer could share a perspective on where the industry is headed and how technologies such as AI or machine learning will impact drug research or health care delivery. And physicians could comment on patient needs and how technologies such as patient-driven EMRs could support them. These kinds of insights can be incredibly powerful. Start by conducting executive interviews to get their perspectives on the issues, and then build out a pipeline of thought leadership topics from there.

Make Predictions

Predictions are another good way to showcase thought leadership and don’t require a laundry list of your organization’s own emerging tech initiatives. There are several ways to make predictions:

  • End of year release: Include your organization’s perspective on the ways emerging tech will impact the industry and patients in the coming year.

  • State of the industry report: Highlight important current trends, share executive insights and proprietary or third-party supporting data and predict how those trends are likely to play out over the next one to three years.

You can also circle back on predictions mid-year to discuss what came true (and how), what changed course (and why) and how things are trending.

There is no doubt that tech is a driving force in the health care industry today. As tech continues to influence the industry as well as conversations in the space, the organizations that have a compelling tech narrative and take the opportunity to own a share of voice will achieve stronger brand awareness and a competitive edge.


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Author Bio:

 
Melissa Baratta, Affect
Melissa Baratta is senior vice president and health care lead at <a href="http://www.affect.com/" target="_blank">Affect</a>
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