Patients today use the internet more then ever. Whether they are looking to learn about a procedure, or try to understand a condition; they are usually going to Google or another search engine and typing in a keyword. It’s no longer the millennials either who mainly use the internet. Patients of all ages have easy access online. Seniors now use the internet regularly. Therefore it is critical to provide education on the conditions you treat and the treatments you offer to your patients. Become an online resource for your patients, and you may find patients will remain loyal to your practice.
Physicians spend many years in training. From Medical School, Residency Programs, and even Fellowships. The skills obtained are critical in becoming a successful Physician. Why not share these skill sets with patients? For example, if a General Surgeon learned a minimally invasive technique during his or her fellowship, then they should make this information available to patients. Patients are very educated today and will research many articles, publications, websites, and even social media before making a decision. An elective surgery is a very important decision in a patient’s life. If a patient is seeking a minimally invasive approach to this surgery, and a medical practice does not make this information available online, they have simply missed out on an opportunity to educate that patient.
There are several ways to educate patients with an online platform. Using images, text, video, and even animation are great ways to connect with your audience. The content that you publish should be informative but not overly technical or clinical. Remember, patients did not attend medical school and can quickly become overwhelmed or simply lost if the content is not easy to understand. Using illustrations, animations, drawings, and even video can help the patient understand and feel more confident about your medical practice and your approach to treating certain conditions.
YouTube is another great way to educate patients. This platform has tremendous potential to reach patients (both existing and new). Any video demonstration or tutorial on a condition, treatment, procedure, or clinical breakthrough can be very impactful. These videos can be seen by millions of users daily and provide a wide exposure to your practice or profession. Traditionally, this would not be possible, but now with internet access being so widely available with WIFI, Hotspots, and access on all devices such as laptops, mobile phones, and other PDAs, anyone can access your digital content.
While it may be tempting for a physician to publish this content yourself, this can become overwhelming. A Physician have clinical expertise. Understanding how to navigate through web design, social media, search engine optimization, and other online strategies should be left to the experts. Their are many web developers and internet marketing companies that can help you bring your practice online. Make sure you find a partner that understands healthcare. They should have experience working with physicians of all types. They should understand how a medical practice operates. The ultimate goal is to educate patients and become a resource for existing and new patients. This approach will help drive new patients to your practice while further enhancing your relationship with your existing patients.