The “Feel” of Your Office: Replicate it on Your Website

How does your medical practice feel?  The way a prospective client reacts to this question, more often than not, is reflective of the marketing practices/business models they employ.  A traditional model is focused on the physician and his or her professional accolades.

In a traditional business model the “feel” of a practice is typically not addressed; whereas, in a progressive business model it is an integral part of the marketing strategy.  Which model do you think would most likely resonate with a prospective patient?  To develop a strategy that redefines the experience from the patient’s perspective you have to know where you are starting from.  What is your current environment?

Technical Skills Are Expected, Differentiation Comes from Communication

Today, relationships define our success or lack thereof.  Technical skills are expected, the differentiation comes from the communication/bed side manner we have with our patients and staff members.  The input-output economic model reflects the interdependency of the relationship between the two variables.

“It’s not what you say.  It’s how you say it!”

If we look at practice management from a holistic perspective, we realize all of our communications affect our end product and, in turn, directly influence patient engagement.  The old adage, “It’s not what you say, It’s how you say it” certainly reflects the importance of modeling the behavior you want replicated.

This can be especially hard for physicians and attorneys.  Our training instills in us the need to filter out extraneous information and formulate questions that will provide us with the data we need to diagnose and treat.  We are taught to look at the problem, not the individual who comes to us with the problem.

As a result, once we feel we have figured out the problem we tend to tune out or, worse, we fail to tune in at the onset because we decided no real data was being provided.   The problem with this approach is that the extraneous information is what makes the relationship real and sometimes important information is meshed in with the extraneous information.

So what is the environment of your practice?  What are your communication styles?  In essence, how does your practice feel?  As mentioned before, you need to know this information before you set-out to develop an on-line presence.  To get a feel for your office you will want to look at both the direct/concrete communications taking place; as well as the subtle non-descript overtones that encompass the office atmosphere.

We recommend you begin this process by first observing how your staff members interact with you, their colleagues, and most importantly your patients.

Consider the following:

Experiment #1

Leave your office door open and listen to the interactions taking place.  Ideally this would take place at several different times throughout the day.  How are your staff members communicating with each other?  What is the tone of their voice?  How do they speak with your patients?  How do they speak to you?

Experiment #2

Focus on the non-verbal communication styles being used.   Walk through the office and pretend you can’t hear anything.  Observe your office staff?  What does their body language say?  When you approach, are they receptive or do they look apprehensive?

Experiment #3

How are your patients communicating with one another, with staff members, and with you?  What does their body language tell you?

Once you have made your observations you should be able to get a pretty realistic “feel” for your practice.  With this information you can now develop your branding strategy which you will use to develop your on-line presence.


Health Posts: What to Write About

 How does a doctor avoid writer's block.  Several tips on subject matter for a medical blogger.

The art of writing for a website is copywriting.  Writing relevant content on a regular basis adds value to your site and is an integral piece of  creating great SEO (search engine optimization).

But what do you write about?

There is an endless supply of topics for a health professional.  When I started, I was afraid my list of suitable ideas would be extinguished in a few short weeks.  But I have several ways I prevent “writer’s block;”

1.  Your Explanations:

As a physician, you have an arsenal of explanation to the most frequently asked questions in your office.  Use these answers or explanations as sources for your writing.  The best part about using your answers is that you have already perfected them by rehearsing them over and over again, so all you need to do is write them down!

The answers to these questions would make great blog posts for your medical website;

  • What antibiotic is best for the common cold?
  • Am I hurting my eyes if I sit too close to the TV or don’t have enough light?

There is a second advantage to using your lectures as topics;  you can send your patients to your website for them to re-read what you just went over in the office…a great teaching tool and time saver!

2.  Electronic Journals and Magazines

I personally subscribe to about 6 Ophthalmology “journals” and blogs.  I have all the emails from each sent to my email address and some RSS feeds are sent to a news aggregator to save time and improve efficiency.   I use “Google Reader.”   Do a search for journals and electronic magazines in your specialty.

In this way,  it is a very easy to keep on top of current events in your field.  I’ll select those articles that are appropriate for my patient and education.  Remember don’t “copy,” but rewrite.  “Duplicate Content” is a huge no-no!

3.  Transparency – Articles about yourself.

One thing that docs and their medical practices need to do is to show some transparency, both as a small business and personal.  The experts recommend that one article in every 10-12 should have some element of transparency, showing that you are human.  It will help define you to your readers.

In the past, I’ve written about;

Medical providers have a greater advantage over the typical copywriter because the wider range of topics that we can use.  Take advantage of the work you’ve honed in your practice, continue reading your journals and blend in a little bit about yourself!