Medical marketing services have been undergoing some major changes lately. As social media claims an increasingly larger percentage of marketing spend, healthcare providers are seeking ways to expand their presence in this important new sector. Social media marketing is based on providing content that is appealing enough to attract the attention of website visitors, and valuable enough that these users will want to share it with others.
Taking that goal as the basis for their new ventures into medical internet advertising, healthcare providers are beginning to post videos of medical procedures online.
A video heart-surgery tutorial
Memorial Health Care System in Chattanooga, Tennessee has posted a free webcast on their site, which allows visitors virtual access to the operating room. This webcast contained two compelling elements: An edited, narrated video of a patient’s open-heart surgery, and an opportunity for live chat with the lead surgeon who performed the operation. The practice of medicine has traditionally held a certain mystique, where no one but the service providers themselves really have the full story on what’s happening. Opening the doors and giving a full view and discussion of such a major procedure results in physician practice marketing content that’s terrifically appealing. The thousands of viewers who signed up for this webcast and told all their friends about it are a great demonstration of this appeal.
Live streaming surgery and the hospital tweeting team
In Orlando, Florida, Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children took virtual access to their operating room one step further as they provided 46 live updates (via Instagram, Twitter and Facebook) of a dramatic surgical procedure in which a 3-year-old received a Goretex graft on her heart. The hospital’s social media team included commentary on these images, which were released about once every 10 minutes.
According to the Chattanooga Times, Memorial Health Care plans to live stream a surgical procedure in the near future. While live footage of surgeries is commonly used for physician training, it’s a new idea to use this video material to engage interested website visitors. Furthermore, surgeons are beginning to use Google Glass as a non-intrusive method of capturing and sharing live video of procedures, and it is only a matter of time before these videos make the leap from physician training material to hospital marketing content.
When a hospital posts video of surgical procedures, they are creating marketing material with an eye to more than just the pool of prospective patients. They are also demonstrating to physicians that the institution has a high level of professional confidence and technological know-how. This can affect the choice that these physicians make when deciding where to refer patients.
Share with Caution
There are benefits to incorporating video with your online medical marketing campaigns, but a word of caution: some viewers may be turned off if the video contains too many graphic images. Depending on the segment you are promoting, using procedural videos cautiously will remain key in the development of this strategy. Though a potential patient may understand that a knee replacement is needed, after seeing a video of a procedure, they may elect to forego the procedure and seek alternative treatment.
Sharing surgery videos as a form of online medical marketing is probably still in its earliest days. It's likely that, in the future, hospitals and doctors will use such transparency to build credibility and establish a reputation for doing excellent work. Prospective patients and their families are likely to share video of similar operations with each other before undergoing those procedures themselves, and the possibilities for marketing are almost unlimited.