Want to Get a Hold of a Doctor: Use Digital Technology

Want to Get a Hold of a Doctor: Use Digital Technology

Doctors are not easy people to get a hold of. Their hectic schedules and patient care have always made it difficult for patients, vendors and colleagues to get in touch with them. However, an infographic by OBizMedia the “Rise of the Digital Doctor” shows that 90 percent of doctors, compared to 65 percent of the general population, use digital communication such as email, texting and social media.
Rise of the Digital Doctor
Since relationships are enhanced by communication and relationships are essential in the medical community, this infographic shows new opportunities for vendors, pharmaceutical companies, medical professionals and others in the medical community to communicate with physicians.

How Doctors are Communicating

Many doctors find digital communication fits into their lives better because they can communicate on their time schedule instead of dealing with schedule conflicts. A doctor who is working the overnight shift may have a break at 2 a.m. and digital communication allows them to communicate even though most everyone else is asleep. The use of mobile devices provides additional opportunities during breaks and downtime as well. Additionally, as more doctors are communicating digitally, they are able to see the benefits to the entire medical community.

According to the infographic, the top method of digital communication for physicians is physician online communities, such as professional societies, forums and email groups. If you are a member of one of these communities, this will most likely be your best opportunity for connecting with a physician. LinkedIn and Facebook are the next most popular tools. Google+, blogs and YouTube are used almost equally and are next in line in terms of usage.

Less Time Required for Medical Advancement

When asked what type of information they communicate about in physician communities, 92 percent responded that their goal is to learn from experts and peers followed by discussing clinical issues (90%), discussing practical matters (87%) and sharing expertise (84%). This shift towards digital communication has the ability to make a dramatic impact on medicine and patient care due to this willingness to share information that previously was only accomplished through print publication and conferences. The infographic shows that previously it took 17 years from discovery to widespread adoption, but that digital communication could dramatically shorten the cycle to a mere 17 days.

Doctor to Patient Online Communication Lags Behind Peer-to-Peer

However, the willingness to communicate online does not necessarily translate to doctor to patient communication. The infographic found that 33 percent of U.S. doctors have received social media requests from patients, and 75% of those are declined. While many physicians are wary of communicating via open access social media networks, such as Facebook, there has been some definite movement towards patient communication through email or online secure web portals.

Expanding Digital Communication

Since getting in touch with physicians can be a major challenge for all in the medical community, including vendors, pharmaceutical companies, training companies and even other physicians, understanding the digital trend is valuable. Take the time to find the best way to get in touch with physicians in your network by first determining where they communicate most often.
Look at their online accounts to determine their social media presence and then note which accounts they are most active on. If a doctor you are working with tweets regularly, then consider sending a direct mail on Twitter or sending a tweet.

By using tailoring your communication method to the specific doctor’s style and using digital technology when appropriate, you will most likely find yourself getting more responses and developing a better relationship. And you just might wake up to find that the doctor you have been trying to track down for weeks sent you a message from a hospital break room at 2 a.m.