The Importance for Doctors to Cultivate an Online Presence
There have been many debates on how active doctors should be online. Almost everyone has a digital footprint. But for professional like doctors or lawyers, it can be tricky navigating the digital world. It takes effort to protect your professional reputation. So why bother with cultivating digital presence?
1. Be Part of Thriving Health Tourism Industry.
Transparency Market Research, in a recent report, studies the emergence and growth of the global medical tourism industry. According to the report, the value of the global medical tourism industry was pegged at US$10.5 billion in 2012. This is estimated to grow to US$32.5 billion by 2019. Doctors are discovering the benefits of medical tourism to expand their practice.
With the growth of medical/health tourism, it becomes important for the doctors to profile themselves on the internet to help grow their practice. Cost of treatment in developing countries is in a range of 20% to 30% less to the cost in the United States. Therefore, a patient can save up to 30% to 85% on the medical services coupled with sophisticated travel expenditure.
2. Connect with the Rising Asian Middle Class
The bulk of health tourism comes from Asia itself. With a growing cash rich middle class in South East Asia, ease of travel with low cost carriers and the convenience of lodging sites like Air BnB. Travelling for healthcare, with family in tow is no longer an issue. Travel is no longer a hassle, nor is it only for the rich.
3. Be There When Patients Search for You
The internet has created various new as well as innovative ways to communicate and research. According to a poll by Adweek.com, 85% of people search for information online before making a purchase. In addition, according to consultancy firm Goldman Marketing, 90% of patient review doctors' business online before visiting them and about 82 % patients says that the reviews on the doctor profiles impact their decisions.
Especially for Doctors running a small private practise, not having digital presence holds you back from being part of this market.
4. Develop a Professional Image Amongst Your Peers
For the doctors, many social media tools are available that can also be used for improving or enhancing professional image. Doctors can use the internet to:-
- Debate health care policy
- Promoting health behaviours
- Educate and interact with the students, colleagues, and patients
- Develop a professional network
- Increase personal awareness of discoveries and news, motivate patients
- Provide health information to the society.
Doctors that are part of an organisation or large companies will usually have a professional team to manage their digital presence and manage their marketing activities. It is vital that small private practice clinics also pay attention to their digital image as this is an important platform to communicate to peers and patients.
DrCommune is a social enterprise, dedicated to the success of small practices. The digital platform is for small clinics to network, share resource, refer and try out partnerships with each other.
Cultivating an online presence is not a costly endeavour, but it does require effort. The returns from a well managed digital profile are worth so much more.