Adrián Alcántara
Country Manager
Doctoralia México
/
Expert Contributor

Promoting Health and Prevention Through Digital Tools

By Adrián Alcántara | Tue, 09/13/2022 - 10:00

Each one of us working in the health sector knows that, in terms of the doctor-patient relationship, we are experiencing a new normality. Today's digital patients are proactive, well informed and, as a result, they make informed decisions regarding their healthcare.

This new profile represents great challenges for doctors, who must undoubtedly act on it and modernize their offices through digital tools. It is a change and a modernization that cannot wait: Vantage Market Research reported that in 2021, US$145.57 billion was invested in the industry and it is expected that by 2028, the total will reach US$430.52 billion.

But we must consider that keeping private practice at the forefront not only means meeting the current needs of the digital patient, it must also take us a step forward to meet the new needs that will emerge.

Revolution Is Just Beginning

In that regard, we have to consider that we are at the beginning of the digital health revolution. If we focus on Mexico, for example, private medicine is on the right path: according to the Digital Habits of the Medical Community in Mexico study, prepared by the Asociación de Internet MX, in private practice almost 50 percent of doctors are connected, 61 percent have electronic medical records and 73 percent have a system developed especially for their hospital or office.

Advances are taking place in our country but for private practice to remain at the forefront, it is also necessary to analyze and monitor the digital patient, who evolves and transforms year after year. That is why we must ask ourselves: what is next with them? What will their new needs be as a result of the digital health revolution?

In countries like Germany and the United Kingdom, the popularity of health apps is increasing, with one in three patients preferring to use them because of their ease of navigation. This particular fact is a clear message to the doctors within these borders and also in the rest of the world.

A Specific Case: Mexico and Health Prevention

Similarly, in Mexico, the end of confinement and concerns about COVID-19 generated new habits among Mexicans. For example, over five years, Doctoralia has made more than 25 million online reservations with health specialists. Of these, more than 7.5 million correspond just to January to July 2022.

This tells us that the pandemic and confinement led to a change in the customs and lifestyles of the new generations. They have new needs in which the digitization of health systems plays a key role.

The issue of prevention is also beginning to take on greater relevance in medicine. The reason is the digitization of health systems, their new tools and, in general, due to the rise of digital health. A study by Strategy&, which consulted 120 executives from the main biopharmaceutical companies worldwide, produced revealing data.

In the next decade, the focus of medicine will be on patients seeking to prevent health conditions rather than treatment. Ninety-six percent of the executives interviewed agree, totally or partially, that medicine will be driven by patients who will not only manage or monitor their health more closely but will also seek preventive, personalized, digital care integrated into their lifestyle, thanks to new regulatory and commercial models.

In addition to this, in the same study, 68 percent agree that this scenario will be the norm in the most important markets for the health industry.

Digital Marketing Is Key 

With a future that has such clearly outlined short-term goals, from our side, we must interpret this information, analyze it and prioritize it. That said, among the priorities for doctors is not only the digitalization of their practice but putting a focus on communication channels with patients, where digital marketing plays a fundamental role.

It is recommended for clinics to focus on the trends that are being generated in this segment. For example, this year, marketing through smartphones is key, since 50 percent of internet traffic is carried out with these devices. Another case is the use of the cloud to generate digital files, keep track of patient reviews and, of course, online consultations.

The adoption of new behaviors by digital patients is one of the greatest challenges in this decade. But so is digitization, which is why online positioning and visibility is essential for private practices. There is no doubt that the digital transformation has to be innovative, revolutionary and introspective to provide the highest quality care and facilitate communication with patients to anticipate their needs, since remote health is a trend that is not only growing, it is already a reality in medicine and this hybrid model will be permanent.

Photo by:   Adrián Alcántara