Washington (AP) – The federal government is poised to spend $500 million on digital marketing to bolster the nation’s healthcare delivery system, a move that could boost a fledgling industry that already is one of the most lucrative and efficient.
The spending, announced Thursday by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), is a significant expansion of an existing program that aims to spur digital advertising in health care, which includes doctors’ offices and clinics, and is already generating hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue.
It could help spur growth in the sector, which is expected to grow to $4.8 trillion by 2025.
Healthcare providers say the digital advertising campaign could lead to better health outcomes, including reduced hospital stays and improved patient quality.
A 2015 RAND Corp. study found that digital advertising had an overall impact of $3.3 trillion and that it contributed about $3 billion to the U.S. economy.
Digital advertising, often referred to as digital marketing, includes social media posts, videos and other digital content, with the aim of increasing awareness of an organization or brand.
CMS also will use data analytics to measure digital spending and determine which providers are spending the most, according to a release.
The government is seeking proposals from a panel of five independent experts to help decide whether the government should spend the money, which would total $1.8 billion over three years.
The government is offering the money for five years.
CMS is also offering a grant of up to $1 million to a provider that is the fastest-growing in its sector.
The program, which began in October 2016, allows providers to bid for digital advertising on their websites, social media platforms and mobile apps.
CMS would pay a percentage of the total cost to the winner.
The money will be used to create a pilot program, or program, to evaluate how well digital advertising works and develop an overall strategy.
CMS will also seek proposals for new technology to help deliver digital ads, such as using mobile phones or other devices that are connected to the internet.
The $500-million program is part of a broader $4 trillion federal budget proposal that includes a $500 billion increase in Medicare spending over the next decade and a $1 trillion stimulus package for the economy.
It would also allow the government to spend the additional money on things like education, infrastructure, border security and other projects.
Health care companies and others say digital advertising has been key to improving patient care.
The industry has raised the bar for how providers can be trusted to deliver high-quality digital content to consumers.
The federal Government Accountability Office (GAO) has estimated that the healthcare industry spends $3 trillion on digital advertising annually.