That the patient takes for granted what the docter tells him, is now past. Patients nowadays want to hold the reins. They are more independent, and this is due to developments in health care in the field of digital. It is a process where control is shifting slowly towards the patient. A patient needing more and better information, taking control and wanting to manage a lot of health care related issues himself, is called ‘patient empowerment’.
For health care service providers, pharmacists and medical producers, it is important to give the patient access to relevant information. Think of medical data, but also the proper and reliable information of the expert/therapist on certain medical conditions and symptoms. The latter kind of information can be offered in the form of different forms of content through channels like social media, websites or applications. For organizations in healthcare, pharmacists and medical producers there are lots of opportunities to effectively reach the empowered patient and form a connection.
Social media offers a lot of organizations the chance to get in contact with their target group. It is, for example, possible for health care service providers to stimulate interaction, offer information and hereby attract the empowered patient. Besides this patients can, in an easy and straightforward way, get in contact with a health care service provider. Make sure to, as a health care service provider, offer relevant information to attract the empowered patient and keep them involved with your organization.
The empowered patient takes informed decisions and wants to be able to read up on a treatment or medication before visiting a doctor. Patients nowadays look for information and a direct solution to their problems online. With relevant content you can help and reach this online patient. Online content creates a bond between the target group and your brand, product or organization. Think of blogs, videos, infographics or an online newsletter. By monitoring what content and information is interesting to the target group, you can offer the empowered patient tailored content.
As mentioned above, there are many forms of content that can be deployed to reach the empowered patient. A relevant place to share this content is the website. This website has to be modern (think of a responsive design and a variety of textual and visual content) and have a strong online presence. There are many ways to make sure that the empowered patient finds you when he is looking for information on his health or medical condition. Its is for example important to use the right keywords (on the base of a keyword research) in your website texts and have an active blog page on the website with relevant blog articles.
Patient empowerment will in the coming months not stop developing itself further. Especially because of the arrival of many e-health and m-health applications, patients will become even more self-reliant. It is expected that wearables will play a role in the future for many treatments. Apart from the wearables we know now, like wrist bands and watches, we will in the future most likely have to deal with ‘wearables’ in the form of hypodermic tattoos. Through this technology the health of patients can be monitored. Stress, pain in the chest, shortness of breath or for example diabetes can be noticed instantly. Besides this patients will always and everywhere have access to their personal medical data and will be able to get in touch with their therapist through a variety of ways, like chat systems.