Digital Marketing in Healthcare: Problems and Opportunities

Since this is one of the most discussed topics of the last period of digital marketing in healthcare, we want to try, in our small way, to analyze problems, developments, and tools concerning this topic, in the now very topical perspective of digitization and Healthcare (the “health mental digital”).

Digital Marketing in the Healthcare: Current Developments

Never as in this pandemic period (or post-pandemic: at the moment, the boundary between the two terms is quite blurred, as many health professionals know), the issue of healthcare is, for the first time in our country but not only, finally at the center of debates and discussions in the field of politics, large investments (state, supranational and private) and the medical-scientific debate. The pandemic has not “created” anything new. However, it has contributed to exacerbating (or perhaps only to reveal more clearly) a rather widespread crisis of psychological well-being.

This short article does not claim to offer a unified or even an “original” point of view on the issue. Still, it is intended as a series of ideas to provide further reflections on healthcare digital marketing.

So let’s start with a fundamental question: do new technologies cause problems, or are they not, or are they even the solution many hoped for? Maybe the truth lies somewhere.

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Digital tools are part of the problem

The steadily growing use of digital technologies in everyday life has undoubtedly created more changes in the way of communicating than any other technological revolution of the past decades. This naturally has had a whole series of effects (both negative and positive) on millions of Italians, especially young people (but not only).

Added to this is the ever-increasing quantity of “fake” content (often of a conspiratorial, alarmist, and even violent nature) that flooded the network. With the pandemic, of course, the increase in time forcibly spent in front of smartphones and PCs has helped to increase these ailments and problems.

To give an even more complete picture, just a couple of years ago, as part of its reports on the healthcare of young people, the OECD released the study Young People’s Healthcare Digital Marketing – Shaping the Future, carried out in all the countries of the European Union. According to the research, 61% of 15-year-olds are not fully aware of the time it takes to use digital devices, and more than half (54%) reported feeling ill when unable to connect to the internet.

Or the solution? E-Healthcare

However, there is another side, probably more important, that we cannot overlook and that can reveal excellent tools and allies for those involved in psychology, psychotherapy, and psychiatry.

Also, in this case, the pandemic has acted as a litmus test for the effectiveness and the need for digital tools to deal with new problems related to the world of health and medicine in general and, in particular, to that healthcare.

In the field of healthcare, as well as in other branches (for example, school, and teaching), the support of technologies has been crucial, to the point that a concept of E-Healthcare is now being developed. Digital marketing in healthcare, both in the legislative and scientific fields. In just over a year, from the United States to Europe, millionaire investments – public and private – made in the area of ​​Digital Healthcare have never been so huge. We are only at the beginning, and nothing will ever be the same again.

Digital Healthcare: tools, examples, and developments

A practical measure we can cite without fear was that of the Online Consultancy service, designed precisely to meet the needs of doctors and health professionals who could not physically meet with their patients during the critical period of the pandemic.

It has been a tremendously successful tool to date. Many doctors and, specifically, psychotherapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists use Online Counseling to reach those patients who do not need, need, or the way to go to the office in person., thus guaranteeing important support to its clients and therapeutic continuity. Moreover, many patients (perhaps residing in areas distant from the reference professional’s office or affected by other problems that limit their movements) declare that they mainly use this system even now that the restrictions are largely over.

Digital Healthcare: some virtuous examples in the world

Moving internationally, there is no lack of developments in the field of digital assistance, even for children: in Europe, we cite, for example, the positive impact of platforms and digital technologies dedicated to child psychology and psychotherapy, an App that puts into practice the concepts of Applied Behavior Analysis, using interactive contents and exercises to help children with learning and behavioral disorders, and the startup that focuses on simplifying the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders.

Thanks to the technology it has implemented, would allow early identification of autism spectrum disorders via analysis of ocular micro-movements to implement a timely intervention.

Furthermore, we point out innovations that are less strictly therapeutic but still potentially interesting in terms of mental well-being, such as those undertaken by the German Meditopia, one of the most downloaded self-help apps in this two-year period, which offers its users a lot of personalized content, including meditations, songs, speeches, and podcasts, available in several languages.

The USA remains, for the moment, the most advanced country in this respect: the North American realities have conceived very successful generalist digital services of psychological support at a distance are many, and among these, we remember, for example, Alma and Headway.

Advantages of E-Healthcare tools

We can recognize several advantages of using digital tools in E-Healthcare. Among these, we mention:

  • Greater patient involvement occurs, especially in the case of various apps that remind the patient to remember his appointments with the referring specialist, check or record their health conditions, and maintain more effective communication and continuity with their specialist between one work and another.
  • More immediate and widespread prevention: online information on these issues is now easily accessible. This can encourage many patients to take note of their condition and the need to seek help from a professional.
  • A reduction of various obstacles to access to treatment: we have already talked about how there are telemedicine and online counseling tools, also in Italy, which help to reach your therapist even at a distance, breaking down this kind of obstacle. In addition to this, at least in the first phase, the possibility of looking for a professional online (therefore in a form, if not anonymous, at least more discreet) helps many to overcome what unfortunately is a still present social stigma (although fortunately less present than Before).
  • These aspects are often still underestimated but are destined to have an even greater impact both in the private sector and, later on, in the public one.

Healthcare and technology: an indissoluble link?

How will the relationship between technology and healthcare development in the future? First, we know that innovations bring a heavy set of problems and opportunities.

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