Last week, we reviewed ways of improving your medical blog. This week we'll talk about the best topics that every doctor’s blog should have.
Most of my clients prescribe their blogs to their patients and visitors from internet advertising. Why? To further qualify patients for the doctor’s expertise and practice goals; to improve patients’ experience; to improve adherence to treatment programs; and to screen out patients, i.e. plastic surgery (body dysmorphic people), pain management (junkies seeking drugs), or psychiatry (cases the doctor is uneasy to see).
Here’s our top five list:
1. Answers to the most common patient questions in the form of FAQ. What kind of insurance do you accept? What to do during an emergency? What does it mean “I accept only out-of-network benefits.”
2. What do you repeat to your patients every single day? This is perhaps the best topic for a blog to have because of the immense time savings during patient visits. Before the patients’ appointments, your secretary or medical assistant would direct patients to the blog for the resources for them to read, i.e. how to prepare for the specific procedure or to help manage patients’ expectations from the visit. Some of our clients also have a tablet PC in their front office so if patients forget to read the prescribed resources the medical assistant will quickly browse to the blog and hand the patient reading material before the doctor sees them. Again, this should be a time-saving feature for the precious time you have with your patients. This also helps patients prepare themselves mentally for patient history.
3. What should patients do after the procedure or treatment? The blog should direct patients to specific online resources designed to improve their overall treatment: especially online patient communities. Keep things very relevant and well-categorized for easy browsing. Not only is this important for patients, but also for your staff which will be helping patients navigate to the resources specifically for them. This type of resource helps patients adhere to treatment protocols. It also satisfies another very important topic: How much time patients spend managing and living with their conditions versus how much time they spend in the doctor’s office. It’s very important to prepare resources for patients to turn to when they’re between visits. Don’t rely on Google to educate your patients. Google will mostly misinform them. There are very few resources for patients that doctors would approve. This is your chance to do what most doctors never even think of.
4. Latest news or research in your sub-specialty. When patients see these resources they tend to trust their doctors better. Nothing tells patients that their doctor is an expert like keeping up to date with research. Some doctors even ask their patients for assistance in writing these resources for other patients like them. The purpose here is to keep medical jargon out and translate everything to educate your patients. Consider this your ongoing public relations.
5. Celebrate your expertise, your practice, and your staff. Have you recently hired a great manager? Were you on the news? Did you publish research? This is the kind of resource that helps personalize the blog and show patients you care not only about them but your practice.
Keep your blog focused, well categorized, and always blog with SEO in mind. Remember to keep controversial issues out of the picture. Your blog is supposed to be the most trusted source of medical information for your patients. Always keep that in mind. Click to last week’s article for more information about that.
Find out more about Simon Sikorski and our other Practice Notes bloggers.