A steady stream of motivated, warmed-up prospects is every marketer’s dream – and in the healthcare space online patient engagement platforms may be the holy grail.

Patients are increasingly engaging with healthcare services online, for example booking appointments through platforms such as MyHealth1st.com.au.

While convenient for patients, the platforms also provide multiple marketing touch points.

1ST Group’s (ASX:1ST) MyHealth1st.com.au, is tapping a lucrative revenue stream from brands keen to place timely messages in front of patients — importantly in a way that also benefits the healthcare practice and patient.

Today 1ST Group announced a new deal with a leading eye care brand which will advertise its products to optometry customers via MyHealth1st.com.au.

In just 12 months, 1ST Group has grown dramatically to dominate the optometry market with more than 1200 optometry stores signed up (about 60 per cent of independent practices), serving five million Australian patients.

The deal would increase 1ST’s Q2 revenue by 10 to 15 per cent, said managing director Klaus Bartosch.

“Optometry patients provide a highly engaged audience, and we are delighted that a leading eye care products company has recognised the opportunity to leverage our market presence and unique capabilities,” Mr Bartosch said.

MyHealth1st’s patient engagement platform

Highly valuable to marketers

Advertising platforms that can intercept buyers before, during and after engagement are highly valuable to marketers — and almost impossible to identify through traditional Google and Facebook advertising.

Rather than relying on “scattergun” campaigns in other channels that may or may not reach motivated buyers, advertisers know messages on MyHealth1st.com.au appear in front of verified prospects at precisely the right time.

The system also contains data that can be used — within the regulatory framework — to present customised marketing messages that are more likely to result in a conversion.

“Our systems know when anyone has booked an appointment,” Mr Bartosch said.

“The key to our approach, however, is a focus on ‘preventative care’ education through trusted healthcare content, or introducing products and services that actually benefit the patient, and importantly, also the healthcare practice.

“Because we know when a patient is going to see a healthcare provider, we are able to engage them through our platform during the period when it is likely to be most relevant to the patient.”

The strategy is a win-win because optometrists and advertiser increase sales revenue, the patient gets introduced to a valuable product, while 1ST Group receives advertising revenue.

“Optometrists are not sales people, they are clinicians,” Mr Bartosch said. “They’re not thinking about up-selling and are uncomfortable doing so. Our system does that for them.”

MyHealth1st’s product survey screen

Google and Facebook can’t do what we’re doing

Because 1ST Group has a direct relationship with doctors and patients, the platform was far more effective than a Facebook or Google campaign, he said.

“In Australia, there is a lot of tension about Facebook and Google stealing all the digital advertising revenue.

“But ultimately, what all of these so called online advertising campaigns are doing is a scattergun approach to advertising, because they don’t really know who you are or when you may have a need.

“Google and Facebook can’t do what we’re doing, because we have a direct relationship with the doctor and the patient. We are targeting highly engaged leads and everyone benefits.”

1ST Group operate within regulatory frameworks and was very conscious of providing useful information to patients – not just display ads, Mr Bartosch said.

“Advertising in healthcare is not about blatant product promotion. It’s actually about patient education. That is at the core of our belief system – the best way to engage is to inform the patient.”

1ST Group’s eye care marketing client – who cannot be revealed for commercial reasons – has signed up for an initial purchase order until the end of December, initially to about 10 per cent of the available patient audience.

1ST Group’s share price lifted 5 per per cent to 4.4c in early Monday trade.

1ST Group – which also provides online pet service portal PetYeti.com.au and the SaaS online booking platform GObookings.com.au – believes there are similar opportunities in pharmacy, pets and other healthcare markets where they dominate.

Besides advertising revenue, the platforms provide three other sources of revenue: set-up fees, subscriptions and usage fees such for services such as reminders sent by text message.


This special report is brought to you by 1ST Group.

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