We are so consumed by technology these days, that whether we are trying to find the best general practitioner or a qualified specialist, we’ll try to figure it out all by ourselves on the internet. Every hospital insinuates that they offer the finest world-class health services money can buy. It comes as no surprise that just like every other business, even doctors and medical practitioners will need to market themselves well enough to gain trust from their potential clients. But what happens when the government itself creates laws preventing doctors from doing this?
In Singapore, the Private Hospitals and Medical Clinics (PHMC) Publicity Act carries strict guidelines on how doctors can market themselves by completely outlawing traditional laudatory marketing. Many believe that Singaporean legislators wanted to avoid a situation like in South Korea, where brightly lit billboards with amazing before-and-after treatment photos litter the city. This would inevitably create a whole new ideal of beauty, pressuring the local women into making choices which might have negative financial and psychological implications.
The PHMC guidelines have left doctors baffled to a point where medical clinics are afraid to perform marketing. They would rather risk their business’s health than receive a warning from the Ministry of Health (MOH). Many regard traditional marketing agencies with suspicion and doubt, given that these agencies generally have little knowledge of how to navigate the PHMC Publicity Act. Thankfully, all is not lost. There’s one marketing agency – Healthmark, that has it all figured out.
Healthmark is a leading digital marketing SEO company in Singapore that specializes in the medical industry. They are the only marketing agency that have regulation experts on the PHMC Publicity Act and SMC ethical guidelines, promising their Singaporean clients safe, effective advertising. From medical specialists to medtech startups and inforportals, Healthmark has quickly defined themselves as the premier boutique medical marketing service.
As Healthmark has plans to eventually move into Thailand, we found the chance to speak to their founder, Nate Wang, and query him on his thoughts about the regional medical industry as well as his future plans for his company.
Healthmark’s founder Nate Wang’s insights
Being an ex-clinic owner himself, he believes that Healthmark has all the tools it takes to bring any medical business to the forefront of their niche, regardless of the business being in Thailand or Singapore.
Wang candidly suggests, “It’s all about creating new channels and information flows and knowing the difference between private and public spaces. It’s not something as shady as sponsoring an influencer to blog about you and then denying any knowledge of that when the MOH asks. These are doctors. Be ethical. Doctors shouldn’t lie nor is there a need to.”
While doctors have been struggling to market themselves within the strictly controlled medical marketing scene in Singapore, Wang shares that there is a trade secret to it. He says that it’s possible for doctors to show their success record from the past if they invest a high level of knowledge in both technical marketing skills and the law. “By combining both disciplines, you can create new channels through which the marketing collateral flows, getting all your best materials out while staying compliant with guidelines. That’s what we did for our own clinic all those years ago,” added Wang.
Wang shares that there’s a way for clinics to legally use before and after photos on their websites but no doctor he has spoken to is aware of this. “The 2019 update of the PHMC Publicity Act also allows patient testimonials on their own websites. I’ve yet to see clinics take full advantage of this. Medical marketing and SEO in Singapore is still very primitive. There are far better ways to take advantage of this new ruling,” he said.
As consumers, we instantly know when medical institutions are trying too hard to market themselves. But there are ways for doctors to get publicity without appearing too salesy. Wang adds in that Healthmark generally encourages doctors to create educational content as there are emerging digital platforms available to share medical knowledge. For instance, in Singapore, doctors can present their expertise within different medical fields by writing articles and making it public on leading medical portals like ubiqihealth.com and healthascent.com. As Thailand often attracts foreigners and expats alike, it would be favourable for Thai doctors and clinics to gain some exposure and present their expertise in the right way via such medical portals.
Healthmark entails a small team of experts with targeted skillsets and Wang prefers it that way. The Healthmark founder believes that his team has been drilled with all the laws surrounding the industry and trained up to an elite level in marketing, compared to normal SEO companies. For all intents and purposes, it seems that Healthmark’s trajectory is to make a definite mark on the Thailand medical scene – given its unique skillset and great track record of success in Singapore.