Blogging to Engage Your Patients and the Community
Health care providers know they need reputation management, reviews, and great office management to be successful. However, in the digital age a health care provider also needs a good website. It’s not only a great way to save money and help you patients get better care through automated refills, online chats, and even making appointments online, but it is also a great way to reach out and engage patients and the community.
One of the best ways to do this is through blogging. Answering questions, offering feedback avenues, showcasing your qualifications and talents, and simply humanizing your business will all be great ways to improve the way you and your patients relate.
Knowledge is Power
In most areas, ignorance is not truly bliss, and the same is true in the healthcare field. Knowledge is what arms a patient to be engaged with their own care and be a part of the solution rather than a part of the problem. The more patients take control of their health through diet, exercise, and compliance with medications they need to take, the healthier they will be.
At the same time, there is a lot of misinformation out there on the web as well. Your patients could enter the office with entirely the wrong information about a disease, a recent local outbreak, or what medications they might actually need to treat their conditions. A blog lets you set the record straight long before they arrive in the office and makes conversations about difficult topics that much easier.
The other thing a blog lets your patients and the community know is news about the office. Will you be taking a vacation? Did you get a new nurse or other new staff? These are things your patients may want to know ahead of time, and a great way to communicate them is through your blog.
Patient Satisfaction Improves their Health
The more satisfied a patient is with your service and your care, the better off their health is. The simple reasons are that satisfaction means they have less stress, have more trust in your instructions and are more inclined to follow your advice, and are less likely to be depressed about treatment outcomes.
This does not mean you have to cater to every patient’s wants at the exact moment they demand it. It is also a reminder that the patient, much like the customer in retail, is not always right. They do not always know the best course of treatment, the right diet for them, or the medication they may need despite the television commercials they may have seen.
A big part of patient satisfaction is how solutions are presented, and how you let them know when they are mistaken. As mentioned above, misinformation is rampant, and knowledge is power. Empower your patients, encourage research and second opinions when necessary, and let them know where to find information that is reliable and actionable.
Take interest if they have an issue with your staff and work to correct it peacefully. Not everyone will get along perfectly, but you can help manage those relationships and address legitimate customer service concerns before they become a problem you can’t solve.
Automation and FAQ’s
Is your staff constantly answering the same kind of billing questions? Is there an outbreak of flu or some other common illness in your area you should let patients know about? Do you have new, automated systems for refilling prescriptions and making appointments?
Automation can be a huge part of your website design and can also save you a great deal of time, money, and hassle. This allows your staff to better serve the patients in the office without sacrificing the needs of your existing patients who call in.
However, if you patients don’t know about this service or you don’t have the answers to common questions on your website somewhere, you will still be inefficient with your resources. This waste not only translates to your bottom line, but it can also induce patient frustration. Your blog is a great place to answer questions and explain automation without having to walk each patient through the process individually.
Showcase Yourself and Your Practice
You may have impressive skills as a practitioner and have some really great certifications. Having them hanging on your wall is one thing but having them on your site is even better. Why? Patients like to know about you and your education and that you are keeping up with the changes in medicine.
However, this goes beyond you to your staff as well. New EMR training, the automation mentioned above, and customer service and patient care training all matter to those who will use your services. Want new patients to be impressed even before they arrive? You can set expectations and make the patient journey even better from the start.
This doesn’t mean to simply brag but be real. Simply providing information in an exciting format lets them know you are improving to serve patients and your community better.
Often people keep going to the same doctor because they like them as a person and they interact well with their staff. A part of using a blog and website is to humanize your practice. Your office is made up of people. Those are the faces patients will see when they come in.
Nothing puts someone at ease faster than a friendly face, so include profiles on your blog. Highlight what you and your staff do outside of work. What are your hobbies? What do you do for fun? These are things your patients can relate to, and that help you develop a relationship with them. That relationship is what keeps them a part of your practice rather than another one.
A website is a great tool, and necessary for any successful practice. A blog is an excellent addition to that website, helping you to engage with your patients and the community at large.