Why patient education is your key to success
Why patient education is your key to success
December 10, 2021
Understanding patient education and health literacy
the need for patient education
Most doctors will agree that higher health literacy leads to better outcomes. In other words: the more the patient is able to understand the diagnosis, the treatment and the expected patient contribution, the better they are placed to participate, communicate and get better.
Knowing that patients are spending more time online, you have an opportunity here: You can now help patients make a well-informed choice. We know that at least 50% of all patients do several Google searches before committing to a specialist. Depending on their health literacy they will type different questions into Google.
The key to a successful online presence as a doctor is to be in tune with the needs of the market. Not just by offering the treatments and services that are in high demand, but also by having content in place that meets the information needs. That is what we call patient education.
Which patient education content works for your practice?
patient education marketing
In your clinic, you answer massive amounts of questions asked by patients. The questions and answers can be converted into patient education content on your medical website. Blogs and videos are ideal formats to make this knowledge work for you while you are doing other things!
Here’s a handy breakdown of information types:
- Functional patient education: Do patients understand your forms, the general description of a symptom, the instructions from nurses, the labels at the pharmacist, or the recovery exercises or tips for self-care? Do they understand the fee structure, the rebate system and the appointment schedules?
- Conceptual patient education: Do your patients see the bigger picture? This is about seeking out health information and evaluating it, in a time where Facebook posts will find their way to your screen based on algorithms… Do your patients have the skills to make informed choices? To increase their quality of life?
- Patient education that empowers: This is about the patient’s attitude towards doctors. Speaking up. Being an informed consumer. Asking critical questions and expecting to be heard and respected as they navigate the healthcare system.
It took until the 1990s before the term health literacy started showing up in academic content. Before that time, the doctor had the authority and it didn’t matter how literate the patient was, nor did anyone feel a particular urge to measure health literacy let alone improve it. So if at the start of your career this was never a thing, now it definitely is and there are plenty of opportunities to fulfil this consumer need as a doctor in private practice.
We have a higher demand for information, reinforced by devices in our pockets that are connecting us to everything else. Now is definitely not the time to hide under a rock and count the hours until patients find you there!
Triple your online visibility with patient education content
patient education strategies
Triple your Google visibility! Triple your practice turnover even! Hold on, can I do that with patient education content? Now you can.
Patient education content is still underrated when it comes to designing sustainable healthcare marketing strategies. That is because we mainly turn our attention to advertising when we think about doing more business. Large corporate groups and pharma players understand that in order to convince, you can also choose to educate and earn trust, instead of pushing ads out.
"Ambitious ‘Digital Practice’ doctors with a leadership profile are doing exactly the same, and they educate their current and future patients in the three areas that we have discussed."
We all understand that clear website pages on topics that are functional will give your patients a better experience. If the booking system is clear, and if the information is well presented, the patient will stay on your website and trust you as a reliable service provider.
But powerful patient education in the 21st century goes further than practical information and Wikipedia-style definitions of diseases and treatments. It starts with respecting the patient and using a tone of voice that makes you human. Start with the patient in mind, showing that you understand their journey and their focus on optimising their quality of life.
To really book spectacular results with patient education content, the missing link is patient search behaviour data. This set of data allows us to map exactly what patients are looking for. In other words, we can now make an X-ray of the current patient education needs for your niche and in your catchment area.
This puts our customers in a unique new position because they can cater for those education needs on your website. Doubled and tripled online visibility with this highly targeted type of content is not an exception and there are numerous cases where the multiplication factor also applies to the increase in turnover for the doctor.
Why doctors-educators are success magnets
patient education tips
Any effort you do to educate pays off. Why? Because information that is organised with that particular focus becomes more palatable. It is scanned and indexed by Google as readable and palatable, and that helps you rank higher when patients do a Google search.
Patient education is an attitude. Every time a specialist doctor hooks a consumer on a web page, a couple of things are happening:
- That particular patient gets a better understanding of a health problem or a treatment
- The reputation of this doctor as an educator improves and the word is spread
- That entire medical website marks longer site visits and Google rewards the doctor with higher rankings.
You can see why patient education is without the shadow of a doubt your key to success.
Some of the leading specialists we work with have invested in spectacular patient education resources on their website: from topical articles per condition or surgery type to contextual videos or eBooks for family practitioners. The data behind those strategies show us that they are dramatically improving the specialist’s visibility, website traffic and patient conversion numbers.
Educating patients can save lives
patient education facts
Every time you explain a condition or treatment in really simple terms on your website, you are helping people make better decisions. Or your effort can make them change their attitude and contribute more to their recovery.
The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (ACSQHC) works as an independent organisation and adds another useful stat to the conversation: People who are not well informed are up to 3 times more likely to experience an adverse health outcome compared to those with higher health literacy.
As a doctor you will know that typical consequences of low health literacy are:
- Not enough exercise
- Smoking habits
- Low medication adherence
- Lower likelihood of seeking preventive help
When you invest in quality content to educate patients on your website, you are potentially opening someone’s eyes and saving their life.
Excited to educate? Let’s meet!
learn more about patient education
Let’s unpack the myriad of topics you could educate on. Let’s explore how patient education can support your marketing and build your leadership profile. Book a strategy session now and we will meet each other on Zoom very soon!