The relationship between communication and health is interesting, especially in an industry that doesn´t fully exploit the different communication channels. In addition, it should be recognized that in recent years, companies and health services have begun to focus on communication strategies to benefit the patient and achieve connection with their users.
Catalina Parada, doctor and CEO of Axon Marketing & Communications, analyzed the panorama of the health sector from the point of view of communication, through the global trends of the industry and the findings of the study ¨Integrated Marketing Communications: Impact on the experience of the patient¨, realized by Axon.
1. Empowered patients are influential patients
The new profile of the patient is characterized not only by having more questions and comments they want to make, but by the ability to generate a stream of opinion. These assessments and opinions are often shared in different communication channels, especially online and from “mouth to mouth” communication.
More than an emerging trend, good patient experience is a necessity. “To take seriously the opinions and evaluations of its users is to understand that a patient-user influences the perception and consumption of health products and services,” says Catalina Parada.
The doctor and communication specialist considers that is important to evaluate the patient’s experience beyond the classic perception surveys to patients and collaborators. It is important to identify the online and offline communication channels that can help improve the patient’s experience, and how to communicate (messages) in an agile and didactic way.
2. Online communication as support in health services
Digital channels will be a big challenge for health specialists. In this scenario, it is important to keep in mind that not all digital tools should be used just because they are fashionable.
According to the latest technological innovations, virtual assistants based on artificial intelligence are consolidating data to make interactions with patients more effective. Apart from taking a medical appointment, the online tool serves as a constant communication support. It can be used to share cases, tutorials or examples in a more didactic and immediate way.
“Among the advantages is the communication in real time, the response time is less and represents savings in management. Patients well informed by their centers or health services represent cost prevention, good reputation and differentiation”, says Catalina Parada.
In addition, Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (RV) are expected to consolidate this year. We are already seeing how they can help patients with mental problems; but beyond that, they are a great educational and playful tool for the benefit of patients and health specialists.
3. Humanize health services
It seems paradoxical to speak of “humanizing health” when the essence of the sector is the human being and its origin was given by the need to protect life. However, some health companies only have as a priority to accomplish economic, procedural and administrative objectives, leaving aside the treatment with the patient and what it means.
Mobile Applications are a great tool to humanize the health service in 2018. Can you imagine applications that help reduce stress prior to an operation or an invasive medical test? Or an app that keep the family member informed when the patient is hospitalized? Well, they are already a reality.
“You can start by talking with health specialists in relation to the needs they identify during direct contact with the patient. Internal and external communication is key to know which way to go“, says the specialist.
4. Transparency as a differential value
Among the objectives set out in the Sustainable Health Agenda for the Americas 2018-2030, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) strengthens the capacity to promote transparency in the sector for the benefit of the patient. What does it mean to be transparent from communication and marketing?
Faced with a notable scenario of distrust towards the health industry, companies are rethinking the communication and marketing plans for this year. It can generate faster responses to the media, improve accessibility to the data of interest to the patient and promote a solid internal management of care and service. “The companies and health services that deny the accessibility to the online consultation are more likely to damage their reputation and loyalty”, emphasizes the specialist of Axon Marketing & Communications.