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Allan Woodstrom's Marketing Blog

Heathcare Marketing Notes and Word-of-Mouth Marketing

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Moving from a position as an Internet marketer to a healthcare marketer, I’ve seen how different successful social media marketing can be depending on the industry.

Specifically within healthcare, patients are looking online for information about conditions, treatment options and physicians. A recent study however showed that their decisions about which physician they want to see still comes down to word-of-mouth suggestions from primary care physicians, friends and family members; not necessarily from something they read on the Internet.

Look no further than Minneapolis-based to see that online word-of-mouth and price comparisons factor very little into decision making about which physician patients go to see. was social healthcare web site that wanted to do for healthcare what Travelocity did for the travel industry. The site allowed patients to rate service and compare pricing among competitors.

Since going live with the site in January, the company has decided to shift the focus of their company to software and consulting. Their sites for the Minneapolis and Seattle area’s will remain live, perhaps to be redeveloped when more consumers are ready.

With that said, the Internet is an important place to reinforce suggestions made by friends and family members. Search engine optimization and web design are critical parts of reinforcing image and reputation. A well designed web site with good content might help raise the level the perceived care a potential patient thinks they will receive.

Another note about 
The concept behind the site was perhaps a bit too ahead of the times. Pricing for consumers may become more important as more people switch to high deductible insurance plans.

The underlying  issue behind the lack of success may have been that most people don’t want to think about healthcare until they have to and at that point, pricing is not always on the top of their minds. 

Additionally from a healthcare providers perspective, providers had to pay for a listing on the site while many of the individual services listed were rarely offered and priced individually. And while many physicians still in practice were taught to never advertise it is tough for marketers and administrators to justify costs.


Written by Allan Woodstrom

December 15, 2008 at 10:00 pm

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