healthcare technology trends

The healthcare trends that will affect your practice in 2022

Let’s go over healthcare trends that are now critical components of your career as a doctor. They evolve around building an active personal digital profile now that patients spend more time online. The key ingredient: leveraging your role as an educator.
healthcare technology trends

The healthcare trends that will affect your practice in 2022

Kris Borgraeve - Co-founder Digital Practice

Kris Borgraeve

December 16, 2021

1. Use digital to build trust in times of an infodemic

doctors and the infodemic

The World Health Organisation officially calls it an infodemic: this current overload of health-related information, both official and unofficial. How do you make sure that – as a doctor – you make yourself relevant without getting caught up in online discussions?

The healthcare trend that has rocked 2021 has definitely been this information overload and the need for doctors to ramp up their level of active communication. Gone are the days where you could just build your career based on word-of-mouth referrals and a 5-line paragraph on your hospital’s website.

Kris Borgraeve - Co-founder Digital Practice
Kris Borgraeve | Founder Digital Practice

"Your personal profile, an active position in the digital space where patients spend a lot of their time, and an awareness of your role as an educator, are now critical components of the doctor’s career."

Building trust is a matter of being part of the right conversations. Don’t feel an urge to become an epidemiologist overnight. Instead, amplify the knowledge you have about your speciality area or the areas that you have a particular interest in.
Kris Borgraeve - Co-founder Digital Practice
Kris Borgraeve | Founder Digital Practice

"As a general family practitioner, you could be interested in boosting the immune system. As a fertility specialist, you could talk about potential changes in IVF procedures because of the pandemic restrictions. The bottom line is that the consumer is in the middle of all this digitisation and there is a role for qualified doctors to be present in that content mix."

The WHO even mentions infodemic management as a priority and what you can do is make sure your online presence exceeds a simple Services page.

2. Communicate well to get a higher leadership status

doctors as educators

Let’s dig a little deeper into this new landscape, where consumers and patients seem to balance between overwhelm and voluntary overconsumption of digital content. What can you do as a specialist doctor? Or as a family practitioner with a particular interest in specific areas?

Virtually anyone in healthcare has gone through a digital growth spurt recently, and a platform such as LinkedIn clearly demonstrates the emergence of more doctors-educators. What we see is more interaction between referring general practitioners and specialists and between specialists in different areas.

In the years before the pandemic, the importance of a strong online profile as a doctor was often mentioned, but also bumped into various levels of resistance. The doctors who now stand out in this rapidly evolving health landscape, are the ones who really create a digital experience before that first consultation. The patient feels as if they are already communicating, and the value that is offered in reliable online content is now far more important than a few years ago.

What you are doing on every quality content page of your website, or in every blog article, is helping the consumer find their way towards evidence-based information and choices.

In the video, we look at 3 powerful ways to create a higher leadership status by using the communication channels that are available to you as a specialist doctor or surgeon.

3. Understand the crucial role of artificial intelligence

new trends in healthcare tech

Artificial intelligence is not just revolutionalising the way healthcare advances in general. Artificial intelligence also directly impacts how many patients you will see in 2022. Google’s AI, in particular, is already watching and one of the technology trends in healthcare is the increasing importance of SEO.

This is not about putting in place a few ads on Facebook or Google Ads. It’s not about doing some SEO. I keep hearing shocking stories of doctors telling me that someone is doing some search engine optimisation for them on a monthly basis and yet, nobody seems to be able to articulate when and how their website will be populated with more quality content!

Google’s artificial intelligence now looks deeper than the surface. If your SEO agency told you that a few ads and a few extra titles here and there would do the job, think again. In 2022, it’s going to be even more important to be aware of semantically related keywords.

What does that mean? As an orthopaedic surgeon, you don’t just want to focus on being visible for patients who search for ‘orthopaedic surgeon Canberra’. Semantically related keywords come into play when you create content pages and paragraphs on ACL reconstruction, recovery after ACL surgery, how to prepare for ACL surgery, types of ACL injuries, etc.

Google analyses the context of your patient’s Google search, and in that split second when it taps into its own AI, tries to understand the search intent. It means that your content needs careful thought, a deep analysis of patient search behaviour and meticulously organised information that is still palatable for the patient but attractive to Google.

We help our customers understand how this ever-expanding artificial intelligence is constantly reassessing your information. If – like so many doctors I meet – you feel you could be more visible and could be seeing more results coming from your marketing efforts, book a free consultation and we will discuss how to put some practice intelligence against this mountain of artificial intelligence.

4. Keep networking digitally

digital networking in 2022

The combined impact of new digital habits also applies to you as a doctor. You can resist them or embrace them. Here’s our checklist of digital networking tools to keep an eye on:

  • Zoom meetings: Zoom meetings are rapidly becoming a synonym of ‘having a meeting’. Becoming good at it includes finding your way around the interface, and improving your background, camera positioning, and audio settings.
  • LinkedIn: Once a platform that many people flagged as ‘the one they were almost never on’, it has rapidly become an additional connection tool between specialist doctors and general practitioners. Conversations are drivers of referrals and this type of networking turns out to give you more control over your time and networking efforts.
  • Webinars: Even with webinar fatigue kicking in, the format is rapidly evolving. New skills, new technologies and new habits are transforming the way we interact and you can be at the forefront by looking into new webinar formats with attractive visuals, multiple panel members to support your content, and a focus on your local community or your referring general practitioners. Just being in the same webinar with other people shapes new relationships, and if they happen at a local level they could make a difference in your practice.
  • Streaming: Some leading specialists use IGTV and Facebook Live to share nuggets of wisdom and share expertise in the community. More content means more exposure, more amplified word-of-mouth and more conversations.
healthcare technology trends

5. Make your entire practice tech savvy

IT for doctors

We will definitely cover some of these aspects in more depth here in our Grow magazine. What I see in my daily conversations with leading surgeons and specialists is a growing awareness of technology. Knowing that most of you operate complex systems in a theatre environment, I no longer accept it when a doctor tells me they are not tech-savvy. I can understand that you feel a void in understanding the latest internet technology and online platforms and there are ways to quickly improve your situation.

The main voids in digital expertise are often related to understanding the way Google looks at your website, understanding how your website works, mastering essential video meeting tools and the combination of video and presentation software.

The main benefits of upscaling your tech-savviness would be:

  1. More leverage in conversations: As you discuss your online presence with other members of your practice or service providers, you will ask better questions and demand higher levels of clarity.
  2. Better investments: As you gain a deeper understanding of marketing platforms and tools, you will make better distinctions between short-term investments and long-term ROI.
  3. Control: I see many doctors actually experience a transition from finding digital a bit daunting to seeing the fun of it. The main fun factor is often that you can now finally feel in control of your online profile and your business growth.

Oh, and another benefit is the impact of your new image as you share the new expertise with team members, peers, family and relatives.

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