Are You Telling Your Entire Digital Story?

In an age where more and more people are seeking medical help and advice electronically via everything from WebMD to Facebook to Yelp on devices that include PCs, smartphones and tablets, marketers for health providers are understandably placing a lot of time and energy on their expanding digital presence and delivery options.

But while you're focusing on making sure you have the best socially connected experience on an iPad EVER, there's another digital opportunity that looms that could be more impactful to your customers and could eventually be the "viral" hit you've been looking for.

Acronyms like EMR (electronic medical records), HIT (health information technology) and HIE (health information exchange) can be just as powerful as the four little letters L-I-K-E that have driven many marketers Facebook crazy over the past year or so.



While there are a lot of hurdles to overcome before electronic medical records, health information technology and health information exchanges are truly understood and appreciated by the general public, success stories abound now that can and should be told by marketers as part of the broader narratives they tell of patient care. The big question is, are there any that are sitting right under your nose?

To help you figure out the answer to this question, I put together a little checklist. This is most definitely not scientific but it should help you get started.

  • Do you know all of the digital ways your customers can interact with your service?
  • Do you have an online patient portal?
  • Who can use it?
  • How long has it been in existence?
  • Without violating HIPAA regulations, what type of information can you glean from it?
  • Can you cultivate success stories from this service that would help support your existing marketing messages?
  • Are there new narratives you can tell from patient experiences within this portal?
  • Are there patients who would be willing to talk about their experience?
  • How much are providers you're marketing involved with electronic medical records?


  • Can they share success stories?
  • Has it helped them improve patient care?
  • Has it helped them provide meaningful, coordinated care with other providers?
  • Are there patients the provider could refer you to who would be willing to talk about their experience?

"Going digital" can be a slippery slope. For every efficiency created that might help a patient or customer, there can be a sense of giving up a bit of personal connection by seeing a doctor in person. That's why it's crucial that any marketing in this area is told as part of a broader story of competence, innovation and caring.

Every day more people are on smartphones, and with that comes an increase in data usage and connectivity. But it also comes with an increase in expectations about the digital capabilities of the world around them. Ignoring this trend is done at one's own risk, especially when the growing opportunity to leverage your healthcare provider's digital capabilities is there for the taking.

1 comment about "Are You Telling Your Entire Digital Story? ".
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  1. Mike Einstein from the Brothers Einstein, June 3, 2011 at 9:44 a.m.

    Some readers here may remember a January WebTrends CTR/CPC analysis of display advertising on Facebook. This analysis revealed health care as the worst performing vertical ad category on Facebook with an average CTR of .011% (1-in-9000) and an average CPC of $1.27 (for an effective CPM of fourteen cents).

    Given these numbers, it would appear that it isn't so much a matter of the health care folks telling their entire digital story as it is a matter of anybody hearing it!

    Now ask yourself how any Facebook salesman can recommend a 1-in-9000 response rate with a straight face?

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