The only way to meet face-to-face with our healthcare providers is by getting dressed, hopping in the car, and driving 15 minutes to their office, right?

Wrong.

In 2016, all it takes is the gentle press of a touchscreen to speak with a physician. Gone are the days of having to roll out of bed with a 101° fever just to be told that you have the flu or sinusitis. Like something straight out of a 1980s science fiction film, there are now phone and tablet apps that allow us to directly communicate with physicians via video chat. This means that instead of going to the doctor, the doctor comes to us. Thanks, technology!

As healthcare marketing specialists, it’s crucial to stay current with what’s going on in the industry, specifically paying close attention to the role of technology, the ever-changing times, and what it all means for us. With that said, let’s take a look at some of the other ways in which innovation has made its home in the healthcare world.

1. Web Portals
There are some practices that still rely on the reception staff to deliver general messages and appointment reminders to patients, but most have adopted the contemporary mode of correspondence: the online portal. A portal is a more practical way for patients to stay up-to-date with their medical information.

How it works: After a patient creates a username and password for access into the portal, he or she can view prior visit history, request prescription refills, schedule future appointments, and much more.

Online portals enhance physician organization, provide patients with in-between visit support, and most importantly, help establish a greater physician-patient rapport by expanding the lines of communication.

2. Fitness Wearables
If someone would’ve asked “where do you wear your fitness?” 10 years ago, you would’ve probably responded with something that sounded just as ridiculous as the question. Fast forward to today—when the same question is asked, there actually is a logical answer: on my wrist.

Instead of using an old fashioned pen and notebook to record how many calories you burn from taking 1,200 steps in one day, benefit from smart health by calculating your fitness on a tracker. It’s simple: strap your new accessory on your wrist and run out the door.

Fitness bands such as Jawbone and Fitbit monitor everyday exercise, heart rate, sleep patterns, and more. Ultimately, the hope is that these tiny technological gadgets increase awareness and eventually better the world’s health.

3. Intelligent Medical Equipment
When living in a tech-savvy world, it’s expected for some of the digitalism—that is smartphones, tablets, and other computerized devices—to spill over into different domains. Fortunately, the one domain that’s getting the most impact is the healthcare system.

Perhaps physicians don’t use their iPhones to treat the slew of medical conditions out there, but they do utilize a number of different tools—point-of-care diagnostics, 3D printing, and brain-computer interfaces—that wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the science behind technology.

It’s unbelievable to stop and think about how far we’ve come in 2016; and it’s going to be even more mind-blowing when the world begins to see the production of gadgets with (if you can believe it) even greater intelligence, such as Google contact lenses, IVF robots, and implantable machines for congestive heart failure.

In truth, technology makes the world go ‘round, and our everyday lives as healthcare marketing specialists wouldn’t be the same without it. Case in point: take a moment and try to imagine not being able to rapidly share an interesting article using social media apps; or think of losing the ability to perform a Google search to discover the latest and greatest trending topics. Yikes! Both scenarios are frightening, and without technology, could become potential realities… But until that happens, let’s just continue to show gratitude for each and every wondrous innovation that technology has given us today.

How does technology influence your company’s healthcare marketing? Let us know.