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Behind the Curve: Why Physicians Need Email to Reach Out To Patients

October 25, 2013

Social Media Statistics Healthcare Marketing

Digital communication improves patient-doctor trust, frequency of physician interactions, and outcomes, according to a few recent studies. So, why aren’t you utilizing this form of communication with your audience? At Quaintise, we find the answer is simple, really; fear. There is an unqualified fear that email or social media communication will become overwhelming, intrusive, and down-right bothersome with little to no positive outcome even though the studies and the experts disagree.

Overall, 85% of consumers said that digital communications such as text messages, emails, and voicemails are just as helpful—if not more helpful—than in-person or phone conversations with their physicians. Additionally, more than one-third of survey respondents admitted they would be more honest about their medical needs through an automated call, email, or text message than they would be in person with their doctors. Nearly 30% said they would talk more frequently about their nutritional habits and fitness regimens through digital communication, according to the report. -


In today’s digital environment, communication via email, text, recorded voice message, even social media, should be highly integrated into your marketing and communication campaigns. In fact, these kind of digital communications should be commonplace and routine for you and your staff. It is one thing to remind a patient about flu vaccines when they visit for an annual checkup in July, and hope that they remember come flu season. It is quite another to provide helpful insight into flu season on social media during flu season while simultaneously shooting personalized emails and/or text messages to patients in greater risk categories for getting the flu.


In a 2010 study done at Kaiser Permanente reported in Health Affairs of 35,423 people with diabetes, hypertension, or both, the use of secure patient-physician e-mail within a two-month period was associated with a statistically significant improvement in effectiveness of care as measured by the Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS). -


Reading this blog as a patient, not as a healthcare marketer or advertising agency professional, think about the last time you were able to actually speak with your physician on the phone, ask them questions about a prescription, or explain some symptoms to them. I’d venture to guess it’s been a while, if ever, in which you had a lengthy and productive conversation with your physician on the phone.


Physicians are notoriously impossible to reach on a personal-professional level, which is one of the reasons why so many of this generation prefer to use email. It becomes the most productive system of communication.


In addition, digital communication provides a safe place for individuals to express private concerns, details which they might not feel as comfortable talking about face-to-face, but are privy to certain privacy benefits when typing personal questions into an email.


The time doctors allot to the traditional interactions of office visits and phone conversations with patients is so strictly managed these days that it rarely allows for extended discussion. Sometimes patients can't even see a doctor without waiting for weeks, or reach a doctor directly by phone. Little wonder that so many patients feel that their doctors are inaccessible. -


Digital communication provides patients with access 24/7, something that increases transparency and builds trust, two aspects that are supremely missing in today’s healthcare industry. Making yourself completely accessible to your patients at any time of the day or night sends the message that you care about their situation and want to offer additional assistance.


At Quaintise, we can facilitate these healthy digital connections, educate your patients and potential patients on the benefits of utilizing digital communication, and smooth out the entire process. Give us a call today for more information.