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A Visual Today Keeps the Patients Awake: The Top 3 Changes in Digital Healthcare Communications

The healthcare industry in Asia is predicted to reach USD 2.21 trillion in 2018. Given the potential and the stakes involved, marketers need to pay close attention and adapt to changes in the industry by simplifying and digitally communicating niche and highly specialized information to patients. To practice what we preach, here are three simple ways to start rethinking your healthcare strategy digitally:


1. Go Visual:

In order for healthcare professionals to convey highly specialized information to consumers, multimedia and visual tools specifically, are the key to health literacy. In fact, research has shown that even simple drawings can improve understanding of crucial medical information, which avoids using little-known medical jargon, small fonts and statistics for many patients, a large percentage of whom are over 60. Grandparents much prefer large and attractive visuals or videos that break down the information in a simple fashion, instead of text in size 9 fonts that discuss osteoarthritis, orthostatic hypertension, or other multi-syllabic words that are learned in medical school. Simply put, winning eyeballs is no longer just about content; it’s about using viewability and visuals to bridge consumers to that “Visual Moment of Truth”. Chacko states that multimedia grabs the attention but also simplifies complex ideas, which is crucial in the healthcare industry.

Infographic from The Economist Intelligence Unit's Report.
Infographic from The Economist Intelligence Unit’s report.

Infographics are an effective way of communicating information and raising awareness of medical issues, as shown in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s example (above) as they effectively captured the right content with the right format about tuberculosis on a global level. Furthermore, infographics are easily shareable on social media, which expands the reach of your message. The shareability of infographics fits neatly into the strategy of having the right content being pushed at the right time to the right place, amongst which is mobile. Not only should it be designed with the content in mind, it also needs to be designed with usability in mind, as seen in our infographic below. This brings us to the reason why mobile is shaking up the digital sphere.

PR Newswire's Top 10 Tips for Creating Wildly Successful Infographics
PR Newswire’s Top 10 Tips for Creating Wildly Successful Infographics


2. Stay Connected with Mobile:

Before the prevalence of affordable smartphones, marketers were tethered to the PC when communicating digitally. This has now changed, especially in the Asia-Pacific region where mobile penetration rates are amongst the highest globally, such as the 120% rate in Taiwan and more than a billion Chinese users which is the highest number of mobile users in any country. Even more important, the amount of time spent on mobile has not outpaced television. In China alone, consumers spend 170 minutes a day on their smartphones, twice that of television. This means that the horizon for the right time and right place has now expanded, from not just desktop but also including peak times while users are wiling away time whilst commuting to work or meeting their friends. What all these statistics mean is that it is time to think more about how to reach your consumers at the right time and the right place, which is where understanding and data about your target customers are crucial for healthcare marketers looking to create a digital strategy. The statistics provided above are readily available online, such as PR Newswire’s Asian Media Landscape or companies such as Millward Brown.

Information presented through multimedia from Millward Brown about Internet Usage on Various Devices.
Information presented through multimedia from Millward Brown about Internet Usage on Various Devices.

However, content cannot just be transferred willy-nilly from a desktop to mobile screen. Again, it is all about viewability. On a smaller screen, information via visuals and multimedia translate more effectively, and it is worth noting, much more attractively. The other digital evolution native to smart devices are mobile applications, which also open a whole realm and format of possibilities when communicating healthcare information as well as acting as innovative tools. Mobile apps allow information to be pushed to smart devices, and as tools, can be integrated into the routines of everyday lives such as the popular consumer-oriented “MyFitnessPal” or  more trade-focused apps such as SimPraxis® for healthcare professionals. Thus the moral of the story is, don’t lag behind when exploring all the channels in connecting with your audience, such as mobile. Sometimes you may have great content, visually-optimized with an important message, but if it doesn’t reach your audience, it’ll be lost in the great Internet-space. The key then lies in cross-platform.


3. Integrate into cross-platform distribution

With every new technology and media form, some experts will always predict the doom and irrelevance of the current ones – it happened with radio, print, and so on. Half a century later, radio is still on the scene. Therefore while the digital revolution is being waged, don’t neglect your offline presence. As said before, it is not traditional media versus new media, but rather it is an additional channel that can carry your message.


While many say that content is king, one must not forget the importance of its format and distribution in order for healthcare content to stand out for consumers. We must adapt to the changes brought on by digital and mobile, and the key is to leverage with visuals and multimedia for maximum impact and shareability.


Celine Wu is the Audience Development Executive for PR Newswire.