The ubiquitous “Dr. Google” has allowed patients to be more involved in their own healthcare than ever before. The idea of the engaged patient, through the power of digital, has now become the “empowered” patient.
Let’s walk through an example scenario. When patients start to notice something doesn’t feel quite right, they google their symptoms and make a preliminary diagnosis. These self-diagnosers find a physician with some expertise in their condition and check Google Maps to see who is convenient to their homes or offices. They assume they will end up with a specialist, so they read the local specialist reviews on Vitals and Healthgrades. In the waiting room, they post iPad updates on their situations to Twitter and Facebook. Maybe they do some last-minute research. An empowered digital patient’s relationship with “Dr. Google” doesn’t stop after communicating with their real doctor. After the doctor visit, they research side effects of prescribed medications. They set up accounts in the physician’s EHR. Then they change social-network profile icons to show support for a cure.
While marketing has always played a role in getting new patients in the doors, it is important to not forget about sustaining relationships with the fully engaged—these are the ones who will spread the word about your organization.
Follow the digital patient journey with “Dr. Google” from start to finish in our new infographic.