As patient choice becomes standard practice, health care brands have an opportunity to distinguish themselves by building patient trust through digital marketing. The new, consumer-driven health care environment represents a collaboration between the patient and the brand. A recent Harris Poll study1 found consumers believe it is most important for health care organizations to demonstrate ethics and quality to gain their trust — two traits that can be readily managed by a comprehensive digital marketing strategy.
Building Trust Through Online Patient Education
Over 80 percent of Internet users have searched for health information online, with 66 percent of those searching for information on diseases, 56 percent for medical treatment, and 44 percent for information on doctors.2 The internet offers a unique opportunity to meet patients where they are, in the comfort of their homes.
Promote Online Health Assessments. Both current and potential patients are searching for health care information online. By providing a method for consumers to assess their own health online, current patients can review areas that are not currently addressed, and potential patients can be drawn in through SEO content strategies.
Share Case Studies Reflecting Consumer Interest. Is the flu in the news? Health care consumers are searching for reliable information from sources they can trust. Providing a personal perspective on a current hot topic can elevate the credibility and visibility of your brand.
Ease Pre-Appointment Anxiety. Help convert internet browsing into door traffic by easing pre-appointment anxiety. Allow consumers to explore the organization's location(s) from home through video tours featuring comforts like on-site coffee shops, local art installations, or community meeting areas.
Building Trust Through Social Proof
Showcase Community Involvement. Demonstrate your organization's commitment to the community by promoting events organized by health care staff (wellness fairs, car seat checks, etc.), events attended by health care staff (school festivals, sports medicine), or volunteer work performed as a group.
Demonstrate Organizational Impact. Show the value your organization brings to the community in real numbers. How many consumers attended wellness fairs or received free health checks? How does the organization contribute to the community by providing employment or donations to local groups?
Building Trust With Positive Health Outcomes
Healthcare organizations are constantly working to improve patient health outcomes, but many of these efforts are invisible to consumers. Inspire trust by sharing this important work.
Describe Improvement Initiatives. Has your organization achieved Magnet status or been recognized by ACS for exceptional outcomes? Educate your patients on what this means to them — higher quality care from nationally recognized physicians. Introduce the experts working to achieve these goals in a series of blog posts, video interviews, or social media Q&As.
Share Outcome Metrics. Don't hesitate to share the real numbers. A well-designed infographic can effectively convey the organization's commitment to quality while focusing on the statistics that matter to patients most.
Building Trust With Organizational Uniqueness
Introduce Members of the Health Care Team. Short biographies of physicians or key members of the health care team can meet patient expectations, but an innovative health care brand must go farther to build patient trust. Introduce staff members with specialties unique to the organization in video interviews, or walk patients through a "day in the life of" a compassionate physician who shares the human values the organization wishes to promote.
Take Pride in Reputation. National rankings and earned certifications allow the organization to take pride in its achievements. Promote your successes and celebrate alongside the community.
A thoughtful digital marketing strategy can build trust between patients and healthcare organizations.