I recently had the pleasure of attending the annual conference of the AHA’s Society for Healthcare Strategy & Market Development (SHSMD) and was inspired by the conversations surrounding digital engagement.
One topic in particular was the reluctance of some health systems to fully commit to digital as an effective way to communicate with their physician base. It is still inherent for these organizations to use traditional tactics like newsletters, direct mailers, or even print ads – even when digital has proven to produce measurable results.
And, “digital” doesn’t mean simply posting the PDF version of a postal newsletter to the health system’s website. That would eliminate the crucial opportunity of engaging physicians in ongoing conversations. Once that engagement takes place, targeted messaging can be used to follow up and further physician relationships.
This transition may take some hand-holding, but it can be done – and truthfully, it must be done if health systems want to stay relevant in a digital world.
Here are three factors to consider when cultivating digital relations with physicians and other hospital staff members.
Personalize Your Message
In the rapidly changing healthcare atmosphere, digital is the fastest and most accurate way to get new information in the hands of those who need it. The essence of content communicated to a physician differs from content more suitable for a nurse or nurse practitioner. It’s possible to go even deeper and disentangle specialties, so that subject matter is customized to pediatrician vs. oncologist vs. gynecologist. Remember, this can’t be accomplished via purely traditional marketing channels. It only exists in the digital sphere.
The means to such customization relies on the implementation of a solid audience identity management system. Advancements in technology allow your website to “tag” visitors and classify them as doctors, nurses, or other types of healthcare providers, as well as ascertain if physicians are generalists or specialists, interns or fellows. Each group can then be addressed with a meaningful message.
Ensure A Smooth Mobile Experience
More than 60 percent of physicians check email on their mobile devices. Rendering issues, such as blocked animation or sluggish downloads, can disrupt clarity of message and typically result in annoyance or frustration – something doctors have no time or patience for. In order to ensure a smooth mobile experience, it’s best to use preset templates that have been tested on a variety of email client platforms.
Some physicians may be more receptive to digital engagement than others. Instead of deploying with the same frequency across the board, identify which physicians present consistent open rates. Focus your efforts on those who are actively engaging in order to foster and further future conversations. You don’t have to drop non-engagers completely. Reaching out to them periodically keeps the communication lines open.
Whether your goal is to circulate information to internal members of your health system’s community or improve upon physician referrals and retention, digital engagement is far surpassing other methods as an effective tool.