Posted: January 9, 2018

More than 80% of all online traffic will be video content by the year 2021, according to Cisco's Visual Networking Index, based on direct data, in-house estimates, and analyst projections.

“Several independent online behavioral studies [indicate] that, as a digital society, we prefer video over other means of media and communication," explains Thomas Barnett, Jr., director of service provider marketing and thought leadership at Cisco.

Why? Recognized for being impactful, shareable, and enduring, video plays well across diverse fields. Additionally, people tend to think visually and retain information more readily when it's supported by visual elements.

Healthcare industry observers agree, citing video's rise to prominence in areas such as patient education and consumer-facing outreach. For example, video delivers significant value in terms of organizational storytelling for hospital administrators highlighting services offered by their facility and patients sharing endorsements for care received.

Let's examine some key considerations for your healthcare organization as you initiate or refine your strategy to leverage video's capabilities.

Think big
Video content factors into a variety of potential real-time and on-demand use cases, including clinical care (such as live streaming or recording of grand rounds and sharing of advanced techniques), continuing medical education or training, patient education (e.g., available care options and insurance information), and organizational messaging. Identify the thought leaders in your organization who are most likely to apply and share the technology, and who can help it go viral, recommends Alan Greenberg, senior analyst at Wainhouse Research.

Get to the point
Start with a well-defined purpose or goal for each video segment you plan to post. Put yourself in the viewer's shoes and err on the side of brevity rather than trying to convey too much information. As a rule of thumb, edit videos for viewing in less than four minutes.

Nail the details
Although you needn't be a cinematographer to construct an effective video, you'll maximize play rates by paying attention to core technical elements. That means properly sizing video width (ideally 401 x 600 pixels), positioning it above the screen's midpoint, providing translated subtitles in languages relevant to your audience, including highly visible social share buttons, and concluding with a compelling call to action.

Be helpful
Video can support your mission of providing compassionate care to the community by helping to alleviate the stress and apprehension that consumers often experience upon entering a hospital. Consider creating an inpatient orientation video to explain essentials such as how to reach a nurse, obtain extra linens, and store personal items.

Go beyond the digital realm
While video can reside seamlessly across computing platforms, don't forget the power of broadcasting in physical locations. Good spots for video screens include waiting rooms and facility entrances. Content may include medical staff introductions, virtual tours, procedure explanations, general health advice and awareness messages, promotions of upcoming events, and answers to frequently asked questions.

Enlist patients
Let's say you want to promote a specific service line, such as cardiology or oncology. Who better to help tell your story than the people your hospital has already treated? Video testimonials from patients carry weight with consumers who haven't yet finalized their treatment or facility decisions. They express empathy from the point of view of someone who's been in the prospective patient's situation.

Leverage the potential
Many hospital sites fail to give consumers more than staid staff bios and static headshots. Video opens up opportunities for doctors to show their personalities. Effective videos reveal staff members' values and how they approach patient care. A doctor's perspective on why he or she went into medicine, for instance, could influence a consumer's selection process.

Leading hospitals and health systems are finding new ways to add video to their overall marketing strategy. For more on building sustainable consumer engagement across multiple channels, read “Best Practices for Maximizing Your Healthcare Marketing Effectiveness."