The next competitive test for leading providers: Can they make the transition from transactional data management to content management?
I recently read an article written by the Senior Editor of Medical Economics, Gail Garfinkel Weiss, titled The New Doctor-Patient Paradigm (June 2008). The article describes how information technology and insurance has fundamentally changed the doctor-patient relationship. She begins,
“The Norman Rockwell image of the doctor-patient bond, typified by an all-knowing, paternalistic doctor focusing on an admiring patient, has evolved into something very different. Now it’s a relationship in which patients, empowered by Internet-acquired information and buffeted by frequent changes in insurance coverage, have few qualms about challenging medical advice or moving on to the next physician.”
Her article clearly describes a new frontier, a paradigm shift, to consumer-driven healthcare. The problem is that the consumer’s demand for the type of information she refers to is ahead of the industry’s ability to provide it. Hence, her article describes frustrated physicians dealing with information and mis-information brought into the exam room by information-starved patients trying to make good healthcare decisions.
So how will all practitioners and institutions, including physical therapy and rehab specialists, meet these new demands?
Enter Content Management – The New Frontier
Innovative content providers and practice managers are beginning to take more control of the content served up to prospective patients and other professionals. While the last generation has focused on transactional data-driven practice management, the next generation will be busy tackling the demand for information about diagnosis, treatment options, and provider selection. For example, as a physical therapist with a special approach to lower back pain, having and delivering educational materials to consumers requesting information through search engines or their family doctor will become a required business function. Launching a website and handing out a brochure with your hours of operation and a menu board of services, CVs, and bold claims about exceptional care just will not cut it. Hanging on to those old brochures and letters is like coming to work with spurs on your boots – they are a relic. Instead, your content (electronic, paper, digital, audio), needs to be specific enough to answer 80% of the typical questions about your type of care from a problem-solution market oriented perspective. The content needs to facilitate collaborative care and indications for referral.
I know this all may sound obvious, but take a look at your content and ask yourself how it educates on consumer problems and solution options. Is it good enough to light up a search engine filter? Is it good enough for a referring physician to actually want to share your content with a patient because it facilitates a conversation about diagnosis and treatment options?
Answers to these questions are what will separate emerging providers of choice from the rest. Answers to these questions will be provided by content management – The New Frontier Of Practice Management.