5 Healthcare Trends to Address in Your 2016 Marketing Plan

5 Healthcare Trends to Address in Your 2016 Marketing Plan

By Kristen HicksFeb 2 /2016

healthcare_trendsHealthcare is always in the news in some way, shape or form. In 2016, we can expect that trend to continue. People will always be concerned about their health after all, and any trend, legislation or technological innovation with an influence on health will dominate news cycles and conversations alike.

For content marketers in the healthcare industry, every new story is an opportunity to reach your audience and get exposure for your healthcare organization. Creating content that addresses the topics your audience is already talking about will both keep them engaged and help assuage the confusion and concerns of your patients between visits.

Here are five healthcare trends we can count on to be in the news in 2016. When you’re looking for topics to cover in your marketing plan this year, keep these in mind.

1. Rising healthcare costs

Both health insurance rates and drug prices are going up in 2016. On the one hand, this isn’t anything new—healthcare costs have been steadily increasing for some time. On the other hand, you can bet this is a topic your audience has top of mind.

There’s not much you can do about the cost increases themselves, but you can supply content that helps patients understand and navigate healthcare costs better. You could put together videos that explain the costs behind common medical procedures. And you can produce blog posts with tips to help patients save on healthcare—like what questions to ask their doctor to determine if all recommended tests are necessary, or an analysis on the difference in cost between specialty and generic drugs.

Brainstorm what kinds of questions and frustrations cost increases inspire in your patients and then figure out which of those you can use your content to help clarify. Money’s a subject people often feel uncomfortable talking about in person, but will always appreciate an opportunity to learn more about, especially when it pertains to something as difficult to navigate as healthcare costs.

2. Healthcare politics

It’s another election year, and we all know what that means. Political stories in the news every day (more like every minute) and a constant rehashing of every candidate’s views on every main issue. One of the issues that inevitably gets the most attention during presidential campaigns is healthcare. With the ACA still causing fevered debates and controversy between parties, you can count on healthcare legislation to be a top topic of conversation in the months to come.

You may want to play it safe and avoid taking sides in your content for most of the year, but if a topic pops up that directly relates to your clinic’s expertise or will have a significant influence on how your patients receive care, don’t be afraid to jump into the fray and weigh in. Politicians aren’t healthcare experts and many people will be eager to look to those who are to get an informed response to healthcare proposals.

3. Wearables

Wearable technology has made a big splash in healthcare in the past couple of years, although the current popular wearables still mostly help people with small-scale (but important) healthcare goals like how many steps they walk in a day or how much sleep they get. Meanwhile, medical-grade wearable devices are just starting to make their way onto the scene.

The next big stage in healthcare wearables, medical-grade devices are designed to monitor and help alert healthcare professionals to serious symptoms in patients suffering from specific issues, such as recognizing a seizure in epileptic patients or tracking fluctuations in glucose levels for people with diabetes.

These devices must get FDA approval before they can take the healthcare world by storm. Once they get approval, however, it’s possible that health insurance plans will cover them, which makes them all the more likely to influence how particular healthcare issues are treated in years to come. That’s the kind of innovation your audience will want to know about.

4. Telemedicine

Many insurance companies have started to cover telemedicine, making it a viable choice for patients who either appreciate the convenience or have mobility issues that make getting to the hospital a challenge. In our busy culture where stress is a growing threat to health, providing more patients with the option to replace a visit with a phone call increases healthcare accessibility considerably.

Telemedicine use is expected to grow about 40 percent a year in the next five years. That suggests a significant change in how we approach and think about healthcare in the years to come.

Some patients may not know yet that telemedicine is an option or may have concerns about whether it’s a reasonable solution for their needs. Your content is a good place to explore the pros, cons and commonly asked questions.

5. Cybersecurity

Every year brings with it new stories and warnings about our data’s sensitivity. With hackers targeting everything from retailers to government agencies, no data is safe unless the people and organizations with access to it work hard to keep it so.

Healthcare organizations have access to more sensitive data than just about anyone and they’re starting to come into the crosshairs of the cyber criminals. Your patients want to know that their information is safe. Provide them with content that clarifies what your hospital is doing to ensure their records won’t fall into the wrong hands.

This year looks to be especially rich in healthcare-related stories. If you can swoop in to address the issues your patients will be talking about, you can help them parse hot topics from a place of greater knowledge and position yourself as a trusted resource.

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The Author

Kristen Hicks

Kristen Hicks is an Austin-based copywriter and content marketer specializing in helping businesses connect with customers through content online.