The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons expects knee replacements to jump by more than 600% by 2030. With the aging population and better technology, shoulder and ankle replacements are also increasing.
And aging boomers not only are getting more surgeries, but because of the information-loaded Internet, they are showing up more informed about possibilities than ever before. And you can bet they don’t just turn to Google. With social media a perfect place to find people with health opinions, they are asking their friends who have gone through the same problems.
This raises a few issues:
- All of the information a patient receives might not be accurate or true.
- Physicians may need to find new ways to market themselves to this growing market.
So what’s a physician to do? In a recent MediaPost article, “Still Shopping For Spare Parts (Or, Physician: Market Thyself)“, Traci Phillips suggests the usual brochures and seminars may not cut it. Especially since those looking for these surgeries are younger—most of the 600% projected growth is in patients younger than 60.
Instead, she recommends:
- Social media programs to communicate with those in the market.
- Website learning tools and mobile content.
- iPads with information in waiting rooms.
All of her suggestions will give your patients confidence in you, inform them accurately, and keep you in touch with a generation that is aging into a world of technology. In fact, while the suggestions are especially apt for patients seeking joint replacements, they can be applied across most specialties where physicians are looking to improve communication with patients.
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