I recently came across an excellent post on the AAOE website, “Consumer Driven Healthcare,” which discusses why and how healthcare providers are acting more like retailers. Written by Robert Jehling of BACTES, the post asserts that healthcare providers have no choice but to adopt retailing practices because patients are getting savvier about researching their care, and reimbursement models are rewarding the quality of the patient experience and price in addition to clinical outcomes. I urge any orthopedic provider to read the column because his points apply to you, too — an example being the need to focus on wellness care.

“To win in a hypercompetitive healthcare market, healthcare providers must transform culture and their thinking,” Robert writes. “This must develop from the mindset that a quality clinical outcome means a good experience to that of a patient centered consumer experience that touches their patients in a 360-degree manner. Including marketing and creating brand loyalty not only when patients are sick, but also when they are healthy.”

For many orthopedic specialists, mending broken bones and treating degenerative problems has been Job One. But orthopedic practices are realizing they have a role to play with wellness care, or helping patients manage their own health more effectively. I recently blogged about how orthopedic practices such as Resurgens Orthopaedics are mastering the art of visual storytelling. Resurgens, for instance, uses videos and images to explain topics such as causes of muscle strain on the upper back, such as driving for extended periods and carrying heavy bags. Resurgens also offers bulletins on topics such as back pain associated with pregnancy with visuals helping expectant mothers learn ways to rest their backs. And Resurgens is far from the only orthopedic provider providing wellness tips — just Google “wellness care orthopedic” for many more examples.

Sharing useful and visually appealing content is one way that orthopedic practices are emulating retailing websites. Businesses such as Resurgens understand that immersive retailing sites have raised the bar for the user experience across many other industries, including orthopedic care. And I’m not surprised that the rise in visual storytelling on orthopedic websites aligns with more of a focus on wellness care. Orthopedic surgeons are realizing that useful content that promotes wellness builds their credibility and authority for when patients go online to search for care — and these days, most searches for care begin online.

As our population ages, patients are increasingly looking for information on how to keep themselves healthy, and digital gives them the power to find what they want, when they want it, just like when they research a new retail purchase. Forward-thinking orthopedic care providers have stepped up to respond.

To learn more about how to make your orthopedic practice more compelling and responsive to the retail-minded patient, contact SIM Partners. We’re happy to help. And if you happen to be at AAOE 2017 in Indianapolis, visit us at booth 821 and talk with us personally about how our Velocity Health solution can help you improve patient access.

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