February 21, 2015 § Leave a comment
Google has partnered with the Mayo Clinic to deliver health information through search in a totally new way to provide more information on symptoms and treatment. This change, which began on February 10, will certainly set a new bar for how Americans seek information and medical facilities respond. But it may also pose a challenge for marketers.
Rather than relying on information resulting from a regular search, Google has taken the position that health information needs to be presented in a different and more reliable way. Mayo Clinic has partnered with Google to review all the information provided. Now, when a consumer does a search, they will see an expanded box next to their Google search on desktop and more detailed information on the Google app.
And while this new search box will provide useful information, the change certainly impacts content and search strategy for marketers. The addition of this information box to the search results may likely mean a reduction in clicks to the websites in the SERPs. The person searching may not perceive a need to go to the website with specific information. For instance, if a person needs information on heart attack warning signs, they may never go to a local hospital site, only relying on the Google box of information. Video may be a strong tool in getting around the knowledge graph. Currently videos are not included in the knowledge graph. A 2011 study by AimClear demonstrated that video can receive as much as 41 percent more clicks in organic search over text results.
According to Google, “the box will be filled with enhanced information culled from throughout the web, verified by multiple physicians and, finally, signed off by doctors from Mayo. Altogether, an average of 11.1 physicians have inspected and approved the information Google will now present.”
The information may include special illustrations, symptoms and treatments. Google is beginning with 400 medical conditions which will inform about 10% of current health searches.
This initiative is huge in Google. Here are some of the reasons why Google has made this change:
1. One in every 20 searches on Google is about health information.
2. Three-quarters of all health inquiries start with a search engine, according to Pew Research.
3. The most commonly-researched topics are specific diseases or conditions, treatments or procedures, and doctors for health professionals.
4. 35% of US adult say that they have gone online specifically to try to figure out what medical condition they have or someone else has.
5. One in five internet users have consulted online reviews and/or rankings of healthcare providers/treatments.
6. 31% of cell phone owners, and 52% of smartphone owners, have used their phone to look up health or medical information.
The technology that Google is using is part of the Knowledge Graph which links searches to connected information. Now, you currently see this technology at work when you see the box of information to the right of a search results displayed for a celebrity or famous personality.
March 20, 2014 § Leave a comment
Since the Affordable Care Act has been in place, a recent Gallup poll shows the number of uninsured American declined from 17.1% to 15.9% in the first quarter of 2014, the lowest level since 2008. Half of Americans who remain uninsured say they will ultimately purchase health insurance as the March 31 deadline approaches.
The percentage of Americans who get insurance through a current or former employer fell nearly two points so far in the first quarter of 2014 to 43.4%. More Americans now say their primary health insurance coverage is through a plan fully paid for by themselves or a family member compared with at the end of 2013 — 18.1% vs. 17.2%. Those most likely to still be uninsured are under 34, Hispanic and make less than $36,000.
A recent presentation by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee reported that those purchasing healthcare are more likely to be female, aged 45-64. Why is that? Women use the healthcare system more regularly than men. We have babies, we have a need for more preventative services, and we tend to be in charge of our family’s health.
Before the Affordable Care Act in 2008, the American Academy of Family Physicians reported that women want a health care system in which they and their families can conveniently obtain preventive services, see their personal physicians the same day they become sick, and receive coordinated follow-up care from hospitals, or care from other physicians. A Kaiser Family Foundation report indicates over half of women have a chronic condition of their own to contend with. Women need appointment flexibility – less than a third have the flexibility to change their paid work hours, but nearly 20% of them provide care for a family member. These challenges continues to be important information for those seeking to satisfy their patients.
October 14, 2013 § Leave a comment
New research says that the average consumer visits the doctor three times a year but spends some 52 hours a year researching health information online annually.
The average number of physician office visits per person is 3.19x. Since most physicians actually spend only 15 minutes per patient, there is a role for other healthcare efforts to expand the physician experience through other efforts such as email, telephone care and even group visits. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, 63% of women want a relationship with a doctor that knows their medical history.
Marketing healthcare is really marketing to women.
Learning the behavior of women in these situations is important because women make the primary healthcare decisions in 2/3 of households.
- Some 59% of prescriptions are ordered by women.
- Women spend 80% of all dollars in a drugstore.
- 60% of all doctors appointments are made by women for the household.
- More than one in ten care for a sick relative or parent.
While many online search occasions are prompted by physician diagnosis, it certainly means that consumers are not getting adequate information from their healthcare provider.
The research, conducted by Makovsky Health and Kelton among Americans aged 18 and older, was focused on behavior related to healthcare and prescriptions. We tend to go to pharma-related websites when we are experiencing symptoms (16%), after receiving a diagnosis (51%) and before filling a new prescription (23%).
Some 24% of consumers use at least one or a combination of social media channels (YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and blogs) to access healthcare information.
The most accessed online resources are:
- WebMD – 53%
- Wikipedia – 22%
- Health Magazine Websites – 19%
- Advocacy Group Websites – 16%
- YouTube – 10%
- Facebook – 10%
- Blogs – 10%
- Pharmaceutical Websites – 9%
Contrary to their search for health information, 33 percent of consumers have spent less than an hour researching information on the Affordable Care Act.
February 19, 2013 § 3 Comments
Let the statistics speak for themselves: Women make 80% of the healthcare decisions. Seventy-three (73%) of medical and health service managers are female. Women compose 47% of medical school graduates. Some 32% of all physicians are women. And yet only 18 percent of hospital CEOs are female. And even worse, only 4% of healthcare company CEOs are women.
The following presentation from Rock Health gives some of the perceived barriers to advancement in healthcare – self confidence, time constraints, ability to connect with senior leadership, family and education/skills.
While women are beginning to make upward progress, it is amazing that these types of gender differences still exist. What do you think?
January 10, 2013 § Leave a comment
Guest Post by Scott Zimmerman
High-Tech Healthcare Engagement: Helping Women Make Their Own Health a Priority
Conventional wisdom tells us that women take care of everyone else before taking care of themselves, and research, including our own, supports this. You do it all—own businesses while having kids, running marathons, making family decisions, and earning degrees. And because you’re busy taking care of everyone else, you tend put your own health last.
In a study conducted on behalf of the American Academy of Family Physicians, 90 percent of adult women in the United States are responsible for making healthcare decisions for themselves and their family members. This includes spouses, children, and other relatives, such as parents and grandparents. Unfortunately, while you make care and treatment decisions, most of you aren’t following doctor’s orders. In fact, 81 percent of the women we surveyed in our TeleVox Healthy World study, “A Fragile Nation in Poor Health,” admitted they do not follow treatment plans as exactly prescribed by doctors.
Luckily, we live in a technological age that enables patients to communicate with doctors and nurses more frequently and with greater ease. Through mobile apps, text messaging, email, and voicemail, patients now have the opportunity to stay connected with their doctors outside of the exam room, making location and lack of time both issues of the past. Today’s digital media is advancing wellness efforts and strengthening patient engagement—all while saving time and money.
Our studies showed that women requested the highest amount of between-visit care—and when you consider that they are the primary caregivers in most homes—this makes complete sense. So it follows that, as the decision makers when it comes to healthcare, you need adequate knowledge and tools to help you achieve success in that role. One of our TeleVox Healthy World studies, “Technology Beyond the Exam Room: How Digital Media is Helping Doctors Deliver the Highest Level of Care,” revealed that 84 percent of women said receiving digital communication updates from their healthcare professional, such as text messages, emails or voicemails, are as helpful, if not more helpful, than in-person conversations.
We found that when women integrate doctor-patient communication into their daily lives, they look for physicians who are attentive, receptive and accessible. You want to know that your doctor is listening. Some women reported wanting doctors to take a few more minutes to just ask them about their day—How’s the family? How’s the job? What’s new? Personalized engagement efforts go a long way. “Technology Beyond the Exam Room: How Digital Media is Helping Doctors Deliver the Highest Level of Care,” found that 55 percent of women want the communication they receive from healthcare professionals to be relevant to them as an individual, with 51 percent reporting that communication received from healthcare professionals should be personalized with information that is tailored to their specific needs. Thirty-four percent of women would like all communication from their doctor to be personalized with their name, and 11 percent said that they would ignore or refuse digital healthcare communication if it is not personalized. Another 23 percent expect the communication they receive outside of the exam room to help them become or remain healthy individuals.
It’s these small, but meaningful touches doctors can do to help you make your own well-being a priority. Whether it’s through emails that provide health and fitness tips, text messages that remind you to take medication, or voicemails reminding you to schedule a yearly exam, you want doctors who genuinely care about keeping you healthy. Doctors need to remind you that it’s okay to prioritize your own healthcare.
Scott Zimmerman is a regularly-published thought leader on engaging patients via ongoing communication between office visits. He is the President of TeleVox Software, Inc, a high-tech Engagement Communications company that provides automated voice, email, SMS and web solutions that activate positive patient behaviors by applying technology to deliver a human touch. Scott spearheads TeleVox’s Healthy World initiative, a program that leverages ethnographic research to uncover, understand and interpret both patient and provider points of view with the end goal of creating a healthy world–one person at a time.