patient driven care

Is your practice flying blind?

We all know about patient-driven care. But in recent years, we see the emergence of patient-driven content marketing. In a nutshell, it means that, as a doctor, you publish content based on data and research. Not about your niche, but research about what patients google for.

patient driven care

Is your practice flying blind?

Kris Borgraeve - Co-founder Digital Practice

Kris Borgraeve

May 18, 2022

Doctors are no longer seen as dictators

patient centred care

In the 1990s, the evolution toward patient-centred care still made headlines. It has become a given, and we all know that as a doctor, you will face patients who know what they want, who have done their research and who may have been shopping around. 

Even before the internet was born, experts agreed that when the patient takes a more active role in their treatment, better outcomes are achieved and it brings down the overall cost of healthcare.

Whether we have a neutral attitude or a more frustrated one about patients bringing printed materials they have googled before their consultation with you as their specialist…let’s face it. This is not going away.

Patient-centred care now needs to add a whole new level of conversations: the ones you have in the virtual world before the patient is sitting in that chair in your consultation room. That is where we see a trend toward patient-driven marketing, on top of patient-centred care.

patient driven care

Patient-driven marketing? Is there such a thing?

patient driven marketing

The short answer is yes. We have been lucky in Australia to be at the forefront of patient search behaviour analysis. The data covers the majority of medical specialties and maps the questions patients type into Google at various stages of their care journey. 

Kris Borgraeve - Co-founder Digital Practice
Kris Borgraeve | Co-founder Digital Practice

"Patient-driven marketing means that you no longer just publish content to explain what you do. As a doctor, you now look at the most common questions your patients have before you publish your medical website."

This is good news for the patient because it means that more quality content is produced to help them understand symptoms, conditions, treatments and procedures. 

For you as a doctor in private practice, patient-driven marketing is also spectacular news. It means that from now on, your medical website can become the driver of predictable visibility and growth. In other words, you can use digital to shape your career for years to come.

The question is: How does the patient want to be helped?

patient-centred communication

When we start looking at medical marketing from the perspective of patient-centred communication, everything changes. The process is no longer about promoting yourself as the best surgeon in town. The conversations are now covering this other essential question and are assuming the position of the patient, not your position as the specialist doctor. 

Kris Borgraeve - Co-founder Digital Practice
Kris Borgraeve | Co-founder Digital Practice

"How does the patient want to be helped? It’s not just about the best surgeon, the qualifications, the fellowship, or the technology in theatre. Patient-centred communication moves beyond a traditional paternalistic approach to health care. And every pixel on your website uses that mindset."

What are your patient’s values and preferences? What level of flexibility does your practice offer in the provision of your services? How do you make it about that important question: How does your patient want to be helped? When you address these values and preferences in your online content, you are actually achieving two goals at once:

  1. The patient feels it’s about them and feels supported much more than on a traditional medical website where it’s just about explaining medical terms, conditions and treatments.
  2. Google detects that patients prefer your content because they spend more time reaching your pages and watching your embedded YouTube videos. You start ranking higher in local searches and your practice is growing.

Multiple studies have illustrated the benefit in terms of patient outcomes and benefits for the healthcare system. In other words, we get a better healthcare system if we start with the patient in mind.

When we apply this to marketing, and we look at patient-centred and patient-driven content to help the patient from that first moment they start googling…You get a total gamechanger in how your private practice provides additional value to the patient.

The smart way to integrate this in your business

patient-centred medical content

Patient-centred medical content has been one of the backbones of the Digital Practice strategies since 2016. These strategies are known to have doubled or tripled some of our customer’s business results, creating online visibility and more conversions. 

There are a few simple ways to make your patient-centred medical content effective and they all come from a new mindset.

Kris Borgraeve - Co-founder Digital Practice
Kris Borgraeve | Co-founder Digital Practice

"When you post, publish, or write for your practice, put yourself in your patient’s shoes. Forget what you have learned in Medical School and take their position for a moment to look at their most frequently asked questions. Not your story, but their story as a patient."

Your checklist for patient-driven marketing starts with you. I mean the word you. The more you use a tone of voice that addresses the patient directly, the more engaging your content will sound. 

Don’t write:
Patients generally see me at around 6-8 weeks in their pregnancy.

Instead, say:
Typically, you would have your first antenatal appointment at around 6-8 weeks in your pregnancy.

Another great way to make your online profile patient-centred is using the FAQs you already know. Your reception team and practice manager are well-informed to give you the important information you need. Work with your medical marketing agency to make sure the FAQs are used throughout your web pages and you will see your results change spectacularly.

If you decide to write about your qualifications, research, experience and achievements, always phrase it so the story angle highlights the benefits of your work for the patient. Don’t write to impress. Write to connect. If you want your content to attract traffic and convert visitors into patient leads time and time again, book a free 1:1 Strategy Session below so we can discuss the market data that applies to your medical specialty.

Simplify medical topics with grace so your patient feels at home on your website, not estranged or overwhelmed.

Empathy is one of those more fluffy topics that not all surgeons see as their highest value or priority. But in medical content writing, I believe this is a skill you can learn and improve and what we see is amazing improvements in digital performance, once a doctor’s profile breathes more empathy and applies patient-driven marketing.

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reputation and positioning

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