Written by Richard Marcil on March 7, 2012
in Healthcare Marketing

I was at our local YMCA last weekend and noticed something really interesting – health classes for people with chronic diseases. Specifically, classes for people with arthritis, diabetes and heart disease. Yes – at the YMCA!

It’s fascinating to see how much health care consumption has changed in recent years. This is certainly a function of an overburdened health care system, one that limits timely access to health professionals, but also pushes more accountability to patients themselves.

Study after study has demonstrated that the internet empowers patients to take action in managing their health. Not feeling well? Google your symptoms and make an informed choice – do nothing, self-treat, or see a health professional. If you see your doctor, you’re more likely to tell her what you’ve read online and share your “diagnosis”. And of course, following the consultation, you’ll use Google again to validate her diagnosis and treatment recommendation.

This is the challenge of health marketers and health professionals today.  Simply put, health consumption and delivery are not the closed ecosystem that they used to be. The patient-consumer journey is a quickly evolving one, with “new providers” helping patients help themselves and each other. This journey can be complex, depending on category, condition and consumer-patient profile. And if treatment is adhered to, it can certainly influence the products recommended, and ultimately treatment outcome.

At the same time, the patient-consumer is actively seeking help and information. What a great opportunity for marketers and providers to supplement their products and offerings, with new information, resources and tools. Most importantly, when done well, this should increase patient-consumer satisfaction and lead to better treatment outcome.

So check out your local YMCA and witness one of many new patient-consumer opportunities.


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