Care online

The healthcare marketplace has traditionally prided itself as being above the commercialism of the high-street, seeing it’s role as a provider of clinical excellence only. This is slowly changing, as national, chain-type, brands strive to break the old GP-referrer cycle and reach-out directly to potential customers and nowhere is this more prevalent than on the Internet. The healthcare category is one of the most researched online and commercially-focussed healthcare companies are now expanding with up-to-date marketing, strong calls-to-action and bigchoice messaging.

The irony here as that the older clinic-model is actually a really good fit in the online marketing world as site visitors are seeking information, re-assurance, answers and solutions to health-related issues. The early adopters in this space are, naturally enough, the elective treatment providers such as laser eye surgery and cosmetic surgery but it doesn’t stop there. Freedom Back Clinics have recently opened a small national chain of clinics aimed at providing convenient chiropractors, osteopaths and physiotherapists and their web-presence is chock-full of Calls-to-Action and a pretty sophisticated online booking service. The aim, we are told, is to simplify the steps a patient needs to take to attend either a free consultation or directly book a treatment.

They are one of the early adopters in their space and in a year have grown from a single clinic in Leeds to add Canary Wharf and Manchester with more planned during 2011. This commercialism should not be feared by the clinical model, nor should they take a snob-view of national chains. They should adapt and beat the new boys at their game using the power of their trusted brands to reach out to all those millions of web-centric folk who have healthcare issues that can be addressed.

With the planned cuts in NHS services more and more individuals will be turning to private clinics and treatment even for conventional treatments and operations and this presents a huge opportunity for growth in this sector at the same time as the NHS-funding for referrer-type business is falling away. There will be some big winners and losers over the next 2 years.

Taken from