Healthcare News: What is geo fencing and how does it apply to healthcare

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You can’t dispute it—today’s consumers are glued to their smartphones. In fact, they are checking their mobile devices upwards of a hundred times per day. Marketers are taking note and applying location-based technologies to reach out and better market to their audiences. One such technology is geo fencing.Geo fencing is the practice of delivering marketing messages to users based on their geographic location, for instance, a dentist’s office, healthcare clinic or hospital cafeteria. And according to a mobile search study, consumers are happy to receive these messages—70 percent say they are willing to share their location information if they believe they’ll be receiving something of value in return.

If your hospital, office or clinic is considering using geo fencing to market to its patients, keep reading. This e-newsletter will offer several ideas to use this location-based technology in the healthcare setting.

  • Push notifications: When patients walk into your clinic or office for an appointment, you can use their location to push relevant notifications. For example, parents bringing their children to the pediatrician may receive notifications about parenting classes, bike helmet clinics or flu shot availability. Include an incentive to take action, too. For instance, “Safeguard the ones you love! Attend our bike helmet clinic and get a free helmet and Helmet Reflectors.”
  • Navigation: Who hasn’t gotten lost in a hospital? Several hospitals are being proactive by developing way-finding apps that use location to help patients and guests navigate hospital wings and halls. Imprint bandage dispensers for distribution at nursing stations and retractable banners with a quick response (QR) code for easy app download.
  • Safety: Geo fencing can also provide safety. For example, caregivers in a long-term care facility can receive text or email alerts when patients step outside of predetermined “fenced” areas, like the outdoors or into a maintenance room.
  • Sales and specials: Does your facility have a gift shop, café or cafeteria?  Consider sending notifications or special deals to consumers who are in close proximity. You may even want to offer a free, neoprene coffee cup sleeve or a gift bag with purchase when they mention receiving the notification.

 

Countless other geo fencing methods exist that can help market to your healthcare facility’s target audience. Try one of these, or come up with your own unique way to reach people in the right place at the right time.

Young, Wesley. “Location Based Geo-Targeting Boosts Paid Search Ad Performance…Or Does It?” Search Engine Land. N.p., 04 Feb. 2015. Web. Retrieved 24 Oct. 2015.

“Geo-targeting: What Is Geo-targeting?” Word Stream. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Oct. 2015.

Sharma, Ajay. “Geo-fencing’s role in preventive and e-health care.” Healthcare Interoperability. N.p., 08 Sept. 2013. Web. Retrieved 24 Oct. 2015.

Badalian, Janna. “Hospital Wayfinding App Released by Sarasota Memorial Uses Beacons, Geofencing.” MobileSmith. N.p., 16 Feb. 2015. Web. Retrieved 24 Oct. 2015.

 

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