Do you know that 5% of Google searches are for healthcare-related information?
Or that 62% of smartphone owners use their devices to find information on a health condition?
With the abundance of information available online, your patients are going to do a lot more research before making that appointment.
Beyond using search engines like Google, they will also be consulting their friends on Facebook or Twitter for recommendations on physicians, as well as visiting online forums to review what other patients with similar conditions have experienced.
What then should you do to attract your patients’ attention, win their trust, and strengthen your own reputation as a healthcare professional?
Show Physicians are Humans through Storytelling
The first thing you could do is to reveal your humanity.
I like how MD Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas shines the spotlight on what their people do. Here’s a vivid account featuring Immunologist Elizabeth Mittendorf taken from their website:
Elizabeth Mittendorf’s first year in medical school didn’t bode well for a career as a doctor. During one of her early encounters with a patient, she fainted. And it wasn’t due to blood or gore.
It was the pain of a patient with a broken wrist.
Here’s another compelling story, featuring a pediatric hematologist/oncologist who has battled cancer when he was 13. Now a fellow at the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Matthew Ramirez, M.D., has stayed true to his dream.
Quoting from the website of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta:
“Childhood cancer survivors should be empowered,” he said.
“Surviving is the rest of your life.“
Educate Your Patients
With so many potential patients searching for healthcare information on the web, it only makes sense to provide them with useful information that they can use.
Here are some benefits of incorporating patient education in your online content:
- Improve the overall health of your patients through better pre- and post-treatment behaviours;
- Deepen patient understanding of their own health conditions, including side effects of treatments, diagnosis, and process. This reduces anxiety and improves trust between patient and care provider.
- Demonstrate knowledge and expertise. The more you share with your patient about his or her condition, the lower the perceived risks to your patient.
- Strengthen patient motivation and recovery. Patients who are better educated tend to reach their healthcare goals more quickly than those who don’t.
- Reduce post-treatment consultation. With improve patient education, you can devote more of your limited time seeing new patients while still providing the necessary care to those who have already undergone treatment.
The National Health Services (NHS) in the UK has a pretty good website providing patient information. Each health condition is classified from A to Z, and they’ve even included an anatomy chart for you to choose the right location of the condition!
Courtesy of NHS Choices (UK)
Provide a Useful App
What if you do not have the time to create your own health encyclopedia on your website?
Well, you can consider outsourcing it to content creators like us! Alternatively, you may wish to invest in developing a useful app that your patients could find useful.
Once again, children healthcare institutions have blazed new trails. In the case of Boston Children’s Hospital, they’ve created an app that helps their patients to navigate the different locations in the hospital and find the right physician.
Check out the screenshots below:
Courtesy of Boston Children’s Hospital
Another great example of a useful app for patients is the First Aid app by the American Red Cross. They’ve included all the important first aid actions that a person in an emergency health situation should undertake. Have a look at the screen shots below:
Courtesy of First Aid by American Red Cross
LinkedIn to Demonstrate Thought Leadership
OK, you’ve shared heartfelt stories featuring your doctors, provided useful patient information, and even invested in an app to better serve your patient community.
What about your own reputation and expertise? Is there a way to use the power of social media to amplify what you know?
Yes there is. And the best place to do so would probably be LinkedIn.
Considered as the world’s largest professional network, LinkedIn has over 400 million users worldwide comprising mostly professionals, managers, executives and technicians. Through the LinkedIn Pulse publication feature, thousands of professionals around the world have demonstrated their expertise and thought leadership to millions of followers.
Here’s a well-known example in the healthcare industry: David Katz. A prolific writer, Dr Katz has shared his views on different health conditions and issues.
As an example, here’s what he recently wrote about sugar as well as its effects on our health.
Courtesy of David Katz on LinkedIn
Publish Useful Visual Content (especially Infographics)
Do you know that 90% of the information transmitted to the brain is visual? Or that visuals are processed 60,000 times faster than text?
The power of visual content cannot be understated, especially in an increasingly mobile digital world where the preferred mode of consumption is through browsing and scrolling (rather than reading).
From infographics to photographs, quotes to videos, there are multiple ways in which you can use visuals to educate your patients.
Here’s an excellent example of using infographic from none other than the Mayo Clinic itself. What I love about this infographic is that it is not only easy to follow, clean and simple, but makes patient education so much more fun and interesting!
Now that you’ve read about some content marketing strategies which you can adopt, we’d love to hear what your thoughts are. Say hi to us!