Monday, August 09, 2004

Educating the Healthcare Consumer versus Information Overload

Educating the Healthcare Consumer versus Information Overload

Author Heath Shackleford discusses the increasing importance of educating and targeting healthcare consumers as part of a well-rounded marketing plan. He advocates providing consumer-level educational materials provided they can be tied directly to the branding efforts of the healthcare provider.

Also of particular interest to me was a section on the creative use of available marketing channels:

"Research shows that 75 percent of people are using the Internet for health information, while 77 percent are getting knowledge from physicians. Additionally, about 40 percent turn to family and friends, while publications such as journals and books serve as a significant resource for 35 percent...According to a recent RAND health study, people surfing the Web for health information are much more likely to use a search engine than go to a particular web site, but when they type in "diabetes" in Google, they are likely to get more than 6 million links."

Shackleford presents the above situation as a case of client information overload that might call for the creation of a more structured form of patient information delivery. While it is definitely true that sifting through several million links could qualify as "information overload", rather than develop new ways of reaching consumers, some healthcare marketers are instead using search engine marketing techniques to place their websites at the top of the rankings for these patient searches.

My company FirstRanked Healthcare was founded to target exactly this opportunity and our healthcare clients can attest to the effectiveness of these search engine marketing strategies. As a result of our marketing efforts, their patients are finding the information they need and our healthcare clients are realizing an excellent return on their advertising investment.


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