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Are Online Communities Key To A Better Patient Experience?

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The growing use of cloud technologies, social media channels and mobile devices is transforming interactions between organizations and their customers.  Even though the healthcare sector has been slower than other industries to embrace these social media technologies, experts predict that 2014 will be a year of significant progress in how healthcare organizations interact with both patients and one another to deliver care and manage health.


The Institute for Healthcare Informatics (IMS) recently suggested that "the role of social media in healthcare and impact on patient engagement is moving to center-stage."  As previously reported, Price Waterhouse Cooper's Health Research Institute expects that engaging digitally with patients will be key to addressing healthcare consumer expectations.


Patients as well as caregivers are using social media and other online resources in increasing numbers to not only access health information, but also as a diagnostic and decision-support tool.  There is also growing recognition among healthcare organizations that social media channels can bring stakeholders closer together, engage them in deeper, more meaningful, and stronger relationships, while ensuring better outcomes.


Online communities are especially well-suited to address the demands of the empowered healthcare consumer for a more personal and engaging customer experience. The highly interactive, multi-directional nature of community platforms, through which individuals are able to share, co-create, discuss and modify user-generated content, provides a ready and potentially impactful forum for access to healthcare information and patient support. 


Branded Online Communities?  The Best of Both Worlds? 



Source:  IMS Health with IntellQ Health Annotations  


Healthcare providers who have embraced social media and online community platforms are already realizing the differentiated benefits of these new engagement channels in terms of reach, frequency, usability, and immediacy.  They are also netting significant reputation building value from a superior patient engagement experience.   
If your organization is looking for a way to enrich the patient experience trough social media, and particularly online communities, we may just be what the doctor ordered.  For more information about ways you can enhance the customer experience using online communities and/or other social media tools, just give me a call send me or an email. 
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Bert Kollaard, M.S. is Vice President and Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer for IntelliQ Research and Strategy. In addition to a very strong foundational skill set in marketing research and competitive intelligence, Mr. Kollaard brings a unique mix of more than 30 years of Fortune 1000 corporate, consulting/agency and entrepreneurial start-up global leadership experience in B2B and B2C product and services development, marketing, strategic planning and business development.

He also has deep industry specific knowledge in healthcare, and especially in diabetes management and medical information technology, information publishing, manufacturing, petrochemicals and financial services.

Prior to IntelliQ, Bert held senior leadership positions with NCR Corporation, Lexis Nexis, as well as several leading regional marketing services and advertising and strategy firms. Bert is a multilingual, naturalized, US citizen of Dutch descent and has a master’s degree in social and applied economics from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, where he has been teaching graduate and undergraduate marketing and management courses as an adjunct professor since 2006.


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