Digital Trends, Old School Reality

digitalhealth

It’s true:  your company is progressive and ahead of the times.  You have a beautiful, educational diabetes management website translated in Spanish for your large Hispanic customer base to peruse.  It dazzles the eye.

Do you think the doe-eyed abuella sitting quietly in a doctor’s office received your most recent Facebook post or the monthly newsletter you just emailed about the importance of monitoring her blood sugar levels?

When it comes to educating patients, social media has its advantages, however, it’s only viable if your customers use technology.

That’s only your first hurdle.

If they are online, customers need to understand the information.  According to a study by the National Assessment of Adult Literacy, only 12% of patients qualify as “health literate”.  Having a digital presence suddenly seems less valuable.

Does this mean digital media is a waste of resources?  Quite the opposite, your online communications need more thought than any other marketing means at your disposal.

A 2012 HealthEd Academy survey called “Engaging Patients from Multicultural Backgrounds” reached out to 192 “healthcare extenders” consisting of non-MD healthcare professionals working directly with patients: nurses, health educators, registered dietitians and community health workers, the front line of healthcare.

According to this survey, 79% of those polled who use mobile health apps report they improve the quality of patient interactions.  Mobile health interaction is a dominant trend in patient education, but the shift is very slow.

Conventional PC-driven interaction and emailing is where the largest shift is taking place as 95% of surveyed educators claim to use internet websites as a resource to print and share online content.

Despite fancy websites with videos and flashy graphics, old-fashioned paper is still how you reach most patients.

To that end, does your web content print easily?  Is your content written in the clearest and simplest way possible to be understood by the greatest number of people?  Is it translated into multiple languages, especially Chinese and Spanish which are the two most requested translations?  Is it considered reliable information?

The lovely abuella may not visit your website but her diabetes educator will.  She needs simple, understandable, diabetes education pages to print in Spanish for her patient.  Making sure healthcare educators have electronic access to this wonderful resource will keep them returning to your site for many future abuellas and abuellos to come.

Sherry Dineen

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