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Turn Tech-Savvy Providers into Marketing Allies

Marianne Aiello, for HealthLeaders Media, June 20, 2012

Some docs are finding it more convenient to text patients. Natasha Bergert, a Kansas City pediatrician, replies to patient questions with emails and texts.

Colleagues "look at me and kind of shake their heads when I tell them what I do. They don't have an understanding of the tools," she told the Associated Press. "For the next generation that's coming behind me, I think this will be much more common."

It?s true. So marketing leaders need to figure out how to approach these new communication practices now. They may certainly lead to increased patient satisfaction, but there are also many security, confidentiality, billing, and other factors to consider.

Create technology evangelists

Finally, you can use your pool of tech-savvy doctors to create more tech-savvy doctors. Doctor-to-doctor communication is one of the most impactful ways to convince that traditionalists to try typing their notes using the computer in the exam room, to test out the EMR email capabilities, to try out tablets, and so on.

Sometimes the tech-savvy doc might not be who you expect. Cleveland Clinic cardiologist Steven Nissen, in his 60s, recently started to dabble in e-technology. With help from the marketing department, he led a live Twitter chat about topics like heart failure and cholesterol problems, and found the process "in some ways maybe a little exhilarating," he told the AP.

Nissen?s case goes to show that any technologically inclined physician?s interest and skills can be harnessed by marketers to improve communications with patients. Now you just have to get them to look up from that BlackBerry.

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