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3 Steps to Reach the Wireless Patient

Marianne Aiello, for HealthLeaders Media, November 3, 2010

Take advantage of geotargeting
Harbor Hospital in Baltimore has used geotargeted ads in a recent integrated campaign promoting its emergency department. Using geolocation technology, the 193- bed hospital's ads will appear on the mobile versions of popular news and consumer sites for smartphone users in the area.

"Being able to access the Internet on handheld devices isn't going anywhere—it is only expanding and the audience is starting younger," said Nikki Laska, marketing and communications manager for the hospital.

"Mobiles allow us to target potential patients based on their location, and it allows them fast access to our hospital information with a click of a button. Because time is of the essence when finding emergency care, we want Baltimore area residents, business professionals, and tourists to know that quality emergency care is only minutes away."

Create customized apps
Downloadable smartphone apps are another way hospitals are sharing information with patients and physicians. One of the most common smartphone apps among hospitals is a tool that informs mobile users of emergency room wait times.

Apps can be made for internal use, too. Toronto's Mount Sinai Hospital created an in-house iPhone app called VitalHub, which allows its physicians to securely access patient records, test results, and medical literature from an internal data network.

Southern Regional recently created an app in an attempt to increase donations to its foundation. Users who download the app can also read the latest Southern Regional news and watch videos. But so far, the results for that effort are mediocre.

"I wouldn't say it's been below expectations, but the traffic hasn't been as great," Gordon said. "The mobile-specific site has exceeded our expectations and has been a big satisfier to our internal clients like physicians as well as our external consumer base."

And by instituting these mobile strategies now, your organization will be in a position to reach its increasingly wired consumer base for generations to come.

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