This article was written by Jessica Levco, a healthcare writer who covered HCIC19 for Greystone.Net.
Gina Morris, head of industry at Google, started her presentation at the 23rd annual Greystone.net Healthcare Internet conference in Orlando with a very personal story.
She woke one morning and thought to herself, “Is today the day?” She couldn’t explain it, but she felt different.
She took a pregnancy test. After two excruciating minutes, she found out she was pregnant. But before she told her husband the news, she told her mobile phone. By the time he woke up, she knew when she needed to make a doctor’s appointment and what prenatal vitamins to take.
“Hospitals need to get information to patients at the point of need,” Morris says. “They also need to be there for pre-care moments.”
To a rapt audience, she shared a list of shifts in behavior that Google has noticed.
- Preventative care is at the forefront of search. The most popular health concerns people want to prevent? UTIs, kidney stones and diabetes.
- People are comparing themselves to others. Morris says: “They want to know, ‘Is it normal to get two hours of sleep as a new mom?” (Yes.) Comparing questions like these tend to center around women’s health, pregnancy, sexual health and digestive health.
- DIY healthcare. “People want to be in charge of their well-being,” Morris says. There’s an increased volume in searches for alternative and natural medicine, such as acupuncture, chiropractors and reiki healers.
She also shared a few tips that hospital marketers can do when they return to the office:
- Speed it up: “The No. 1 way to improve customer service is to make your mobile sites faster,” Morris says. “Start with compressing image sizes. You want them to be under 100KB.”
- Pay attention to “near me”: “Near me” searches are up from 60 percent from 2018. The most popular “near me” searches in healthcare are: pharmacy, hospital, dentist and doctor.
- Patients need you: She shared that 84 percent of patients research for treatment options online, after initial diagnosis. In fact, 1 out of 5 patients search for health information in the waiting room.