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Health & Medicine

How Has Healthcare Marketing Changed Since COVID-19?

— April 27, 2021

Future healthcare consumers will be, without a doubt, better-informed individuals who will know exactly what they want. And healthcare marketers will have to deliver precisely that! 

Ever since the COVID-19 outbreak brought the world to a standstill, the healthcare sector has been upturned like never before! 

But now, even as vaccines have arrived on the scene, the return to normalcy will still be a long winding road. Why? Because the pandemic has dramatically changed the way we consume and promote healthcare. 

In fact, at present, healthcare marketing looks a lot like a vast, unexplored ocean where marketers – fish out of a small bowl – are slowly learning to swim! 

How are Healthcare Marketers Adapting to the Newly Emerged Market Order?

How individuals consume healthcare services has changed dramatically since the dreaded month of March 2020. 

But one thing has continued to remain the same. Patients are still the healthcare industry’s Sun! Even more now than before, which is why many brands and marketers have completely switched to messages and communication strategies centered solely around patient care. 

That said, one significant change in the healthcare sector since the pandemic has been the wide-scale adoption of the digital-first approach. 

Those working in this billion-dollar industry probably know how slow the industry is in accepting and deploying new technologies. Something, which has now been fast-tracked, and marketers are keeping up by clearly communicating the benefits to the consumers. 

Strategic branding operations have also surged big time! People are no longer receptive to the ‘profit over people’ business approach. They are carefully questioning and scrutinizing how a company is sending marketing messages to do business. If anything, consumers are now demanding more transparency, and marketers are raising heaven-and-hell to come through! 

Lastly, even after the pandemic war ceases, digital-first trends and cutting-edge technology adoptions will most likely continue into 2021 and beyond. 

Here’s how healthcare marketing trends have changed since the COVID-19: 

Virtual Healthcare/Telemedicine Will Surge 

Before the pandemic, only a few people, including HCPs (Healthcare Practitioners), knew what telemedicine technologies were or how they worked. Even fewer were willing to adopt them! But such innovative solutions have been in existence for over a decade, and have only now received acceptance and witnessed large-scale implementation in healthcare.

Doctor advising patient via laptop telemedicine; image by Master1305, via
Doctor advising patient via laptop telemedicine; image by Master1305, via

Here are some telemedicine technologies which have witnessed a surge during the pandemic:

  • Robust and secure communication systems for helping doctors connect with patients from anywhere.
  • Cloud platform storages for patient data.
  • Remote methodologies for testing patients. 
  • Solutions for conducting remote diagnosis.

Any apprehensions HCPs and medical institutions had towards the adoption of telemedicine have long been eradicated. COVID-19 induced disruptions have nearly convinced every non-believer to change directions towards tech-adoption! 

This also definitely spells a win-win situation for the healthcare marketers, who can bank on the telemedicine boom and persuade the any doubting Thomases into boarding the new medicinal ship. 

And rightly so! Because the general public’s perception towards virtual healthcare has done a complete 180, given how safe the tech-alternative is to visit their HCP physically. A survey by also backs the claim. It reports nearly 83% of US patients are expected to use virtual appointments even post-COVID-19. 

Rise of the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT)

COVID-19 has certainly revolutionized healthcare services. 2021 onwards, IoT (Internet of Things) will begin to play a vital role in medicine. 

In fact, the future of medicine now belongs to the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT), which are essentially devices that healthcare practitioners can use to check patients’ vital signs and record the same. 

Now, imagine a single cloud containing all patient health statistics and data that can be swiftly monitored, retrieved, analyzed, and compared using Big Data sciences. Over time, if a pandemic-like situation were to arise again, intelligence extracted from the said data can offer critical insights and probable solutions. In short, we’ll be better prepared to win the war! 

From now on, the push for IoMT integration and deployment will undoubtedly take precedence in the healthcare industry. And marketers will find themselves selling what were recently called ‘futuristic’ solutions sooner than imagined. 

Crisis Communication is Top Priority

As the pandemic evolves, who knows what shape it will take next? There’s new information cropping up every other day, and consumers are overwhelmed. As such, many marketers are now investing their marketing bucks into creating educational content. Informative and credible content is currently reigning supreme amid the abundance of misinformation and unreliable news.

Communication focused solely on providing information in a compassionate, practical way is winning over patients/consumers. Taking a humanized approach is also helping rebuild their brands favorably. 

This way, healthcare marketing is slowly moving on from the immediate ‘halt all marketing’ move, made at the start of the pandemic, and foraying into high-value content creation and local SEO optimization. But what sparked the change?

Well, since the pandemic, more and more consumers are relying on digital platforms for health queries, fact-checking, statistics, understanding health concerns, and whatnot. 

Meaning, consumers are first making sure they need medical intervention through such digital platforms before seeking any professional help. Naturally, content marketing has become the #1 area of healthcare marketing spending.

The Road(Blocks) Ahead

Since 2020, the pandemic has disrupted the healthcare sector in unimaginable ways. But with the arrival of vaccines and beginning of immunization across continents, the end of the tunnel is finally visible! 

Even so, much has already been disrupted in the healthcare sector irreversibly! High-touch technologies, IoMT adoption, AI-based healthcare solutions, and increased robotics use are some of the new waves of digital change that will disrupt the shores of healthcare going forward. 

Future healthcare consumers will be, without a doubt, better-informed individuals who will know exactly what they want. And healthcare marketers will have to deliver precisely that! 

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