by BRIAN R. DOOLEY
Patients have a lot of choices when it comes to physicians. Making sure your online profile is up to date, complete, and contains these five items will improve the chances that a website visitor will become a patient.
Create a personal connection. Having good rapport with patients is important, and that process starts before patients ever walk in the door.
How often have you seen a physician bio that only contains a single, humanizing detail in the last sentence: “Dr. John lives in Washington, DC with his wife, Karen.” Some physicians may be hesitant to provide personal info, that shouldn’t stop you from sounding personable in your profile.
To create a stronger chance of a connection, providers should consider adding interests and activities outside of work: “When he’s not at work, Dr. John enjoys cheering on the Chicago Cubs,” with a small photograph of him and his family at the ballpark.
Another consideration to sound more personable is to include quotes and conversational language in your profile. Instead of saying, “Dr. John specializes in kidney stones,” include a quote that says, “I treat a lot of patients with kidney stones. They can be really painful, but we have several treatments available that can provide relief in a matter of hours. One of the best parts of my job is seeing the look of relief on a patient’s face when their pain has disappeared.”
Professional photo. For under $200, you can find a local photographer that can take a professional headshot for your profile. This picture will be viewed thousands of times and may last several years, so it’s worth the minimal investment upfront to make sure it’s nice.
Patients often make judgments, fairly or not, about the quality of medicine based on appearances. Make sure your appearance is top-notch.
It may seem trivial, but make sure you’re smiling in your photo. Much research has been done on the power of a smile to increase trust, which is imperative in the doctor/patient relationship.
Special training, specialties, areas of interest. If you have special training or expertise in an area, be sure to include it in your bio. Patients prefer to see someone who has advanced knowledge or expertise that can help them.
If you’re just getting started and have a preference for certain disease states, include that in your profile. It will help steer the patients you want into your practice.
Awards and recognition. Honors like, “Doctor of the Year,” and “Best Plastic Surgeon — Chicago Tribune,” are beneficial to include in your online profile. Having “MD” or “DO” behind your name builds authority, and adding awards and recognition will build even more.
Location and contact information. Most providers will have a separate contact page, but in addition to that, each provider profile should have their location and contact numbers. Especially if they practice at more than one location.
This makes the patient experience more seamless. A provider’s profile page will likely be the first Google result for their name, and contacting that physician for an appointment or question are among the most common reasons patients visit a medical provider’s website.
Call to action. For most providers, the logical next step is to request an appointment with the provider. To make this easier on the patient, the call-to-action should be very clear. It might be an appointment line phone number immediately after the bio, a “Book Now” button that takes you to an online form and contact info, etc. It should be immediately obvious to the patient what they should do next.
Implementing these points in your physician profile will put you in the top tier of providers who have taken the time to improve the message they are sending to prospective patients.
BRIAN R. DOOLEY
Brian Dooley is an expert in Digital Marketing, Reputation Management, and the Founder of Independence Digital – a marketing firm for medical practices.