How the Health Industry is Moving Online

Healthcare Online

Healthcare Online

The health industry has become a major focus of attention in recent years as innovative practices and procedures have debuted, and the public focus has increasingly moved to patient care and improving the general efficiency of the healthcare system. New technology, including mobile computing systems, online patient portals, and creative and interactive marketing practices are enabling the health industry and health-oriented businesses to move forward and reach people more effectively.

The internet, digital communications, and mobile technology are all making their way into the health industry, helping both patients and medical professionals as well as allowing health-oriented businesses to more effectively market themselves, and their products or treatments, to prospective customers. Moving online on so many levels has enabled the health industry to streamline practices, ensuring improved quality and delivery of care.

How technology is helping the health industry

For patients, the health industry entering the online world has been beneficial in many practical ways. Patients can easily access and pay their medical bills online or from their smartphone, while getting prescriptions filled via the internet or text messaging has become commonplace.

Healthcare professionals have taken advantage of the many programs and practical applications currently available to improve the quality of their patient care. Online databases have made it possible for doctors and other healthcare providers to upload patient notes directly into their medical files, allowing doctors and other healthcare professionals to instantly access information dating back years and even decades. This type of access also makes handling an emergency easier; a patient’s medical history may be quickly searched before a procedure is performed or medication given, decreasing the risk of hospital and other healthcare related accidents substantially.

Healthcare professionals are also benefiting from the availability of continuing education courses, webinars, and online conferences. Doctors and other healthcare professionals can increase their skills from the comfort of their office computer or mobile device, and it is even possible – courtesy of webcams and other real-time technology – for doctors and surgeons to consult on cases and even perform surgeries remotely, seeing patients and guiding others through complicated procedures anywhere in the world. An exciting innovation in technology that is being utilized by surgeons is Google Glass, a wearable computer in the form of eyeglasses that give surgeons hands-free access to real-time patient information including vital signs. It also utilizes voice-activation, so surgeons can use it to call up further data without the need to look away from the patient.

One segment of the health industry that has moved online in a big way in recent years is pharmacies. Many online-based pharmacies offer features that standard pharmacies simple cannot, including 24/7/365 on-call pharmacists and bulk discounts. This has become especially attractive to customers looking to buy low-cost, generic medications at discount prices.

In the same vein, online consultations are being offered by a growing number of healthcare services, allowing patients to consult one-on-one with a doctor any time of the day or night.

Health industry marketing online

When it comes to marketing in the health industry, finding new ways to reach patients and prospective customers – and present accurate information in an appealing way – is always a priority. For private health-related businesses especially, reaching out to patients in a direct way via online marketing is the best way to success. More people are using the internet than ever before, and not simply for work-related tasks, gaming, or social networking. An increasing number of people are using websites, reviews, and online articles to inform them when choosing a doctor or other health industry professional or service. Having a website with good content, a social media presence, positive reviews, and good SEO placement can have a profound effect on the visibility and success of a health-related business.

Health and wellness practices including dental clinics, acupuncture practices, and chiropractic offices especially benefit from the use of online marketing. Many of the best online marketing tools are quite affordable, so even smaller businesses on a tight budget can make use of them. Email marketing is one of the best ways for a health-related business to keep in touch with customers, as is social media. Social media is also a great way to interact with customers directly while building the practice’s brand and presence online. Many health and wellness businesses maintain a blog or newsletter – filling it with informative posts and articles related to their specific business as well as healthcare in general – which helps to boost their ranking in search engines. The use of SEO (search engine optimization) will also boost the ranking of webpages, making the business more readily visible to prospective customers searching for their services.

As computer technology and the internet continue to advance, and innovations in marketing develop, the methods for reaching customers will continue to improve. In the years to come, it will be vital that the healthcare industry continues to explore and embrace these new technologies in order to improve their relationship with customers and offer the best services possible.

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