Editor's Note:

This article is part of the Power of Patient Journeys series. In this series, we will illustrate four foundational ideas for creating and utilizing the compelling narratives of your patients. As the industry develops, we will continue to update these guides. You can keep up with those changes by signing up for our newsletter.

Here are the parts:

Part 1: Gaining New Patients Through Expert Storytelling
Part 2: Solving the 3 Modern Content Problems
Part 3: Six Questions to Determine if Patient Journeys Are Right for You
Part 4: Choosing the Right Patients

Table of Contents

 

The CoRe Issue: Content & Relationships
Question 1: Are You Trying to Be Trustworthy?
Question 2: Do You Need Compelling Content?
Question 3: Do You Have 20 Minutes to Spare for Content?
Question 4: Do You Have Good Relationships With Your Patients?
Question 5: Do You Have Patients Who Are Willing to Participate?
Question 6: Do You Need Help With Your Digital Reputation?

Let’s get down to the CoRe issue that brought you here: are patient journeys right for your practice?

For those wondering, we didn’t sneeze and hit the capitalization key when we said get to the CoRe issue. When we say CoRe, we are referring to two things specifically: Content and Relationships. 

We know, we know. You have a million and one people coming at you with new abbreviations and acronyms. But trust me when I say that this one is more important than any other abbreviation out there.

HIPAA, who? DNR, what? STAT, why?
(We are being facetious. Please prioritize these acronyms.)

The answer to the question that has been monopolizing every waking thought you’ve had since you first read about patient journeys is found in these six foundational CoRe questions. 

🎵 Let’s Talk About Content, Baby 🎵

Let’s talk about all the good things

And the bad things that content may be

Question 1: Are You Trying to Be Trustworthy?

It might sound like it, but that is not a trick question. Trustworthiness is one of the biggest obstacles that medical and aesthetic practices (not to mention, you know, the world) face in today’s climate.

We know there is an obvious answer to this question, but it is still worth pondering because, at the end of the day, you are investing in this content to help build trustworthiness with potential patients. 

If your reputation is bulletproof, and you have the social media following and stardom of a celebrity physician, then you might not need to worry about building trust with your audience. (Or maybe you still do. There’s always room for improvement.) 

But if you are with the other 99.99% of the population, you could seriously benefit from a little TLC in the trust department — at least when it comes to your medical practice marketing.

Now that being said, if you’re looking to utilize patient journeys to gain trustworthiness, you need to make sure that everything contained in that piece is 100% authentic.

No paraphrasing, no exaggerating, no embellishing, no overselling, and absolutely no fake or touched-up results. The quickest way to ruin your reputation is to deceive someone while they’re in a vulnerable, trusting state.

In other words, when it comes to building trustworthiness, you probably shouldn’t stick to the rivers and lakes that you’re used to.

Question 2: Do You Need Compelling Content?

If you made a Venn diagram of people who are highly skilled aesthetic professionals versus people who are highly skilled content creators, you would probably not be shocked to find that there isn’t a ton of crossover. Actually, in our experience, there is almost no crossover. 

But let’s assume there is maybe one dastardly genius unicorn out there who finds their way into the middle of that diagram. 

 

Now, let’s take that dastardly genius and make another Venn diagram. This time, let’s compare the people who are skilled in both aesthetic medicine and content marketing to people who have the time to dedicate to their content. What does that look like?

Ha ha, they don’t exist. Very few people these days have extra time, and to find a medical marketing professional that is also a content marketer and has extra time is simply impossible. 

The point we are trying to make is that every brand, business and practice needs compelling content. Stories about people, specifically stories about real patients, are about as compelling as they come. 

And as you can see (and likely already knew), medical professionals aren’t expected to be the curators of the compelling content that’s needed to turn skeptical potential patients into trusting buyers.

It’s one thing to identify a need for the type of content required to achieve that goal, but it’s another thing altogether to have the expectation that you, as a medical professional, can carefully craft that content to tell your patient’s stories well enough to build a visceral connection strong enough to convert new patients. 

Enter the PJPs (Patient Journey Professionals). Not sure we’re loving this moniker, but we’ll go with it for now. Whether you choose an agency that specializes in medical marketing or hire an in-house content writer, it’s critical you have someone staffed that knows how to identify and curate compelling content. 

So take a hard look at your marketing strategy and decide for yourself if you have any truly compelling content in the pipeline.

Procedure pages and bios are great and add value to your site (in fact, well-written pages are actually paramount to a successful marketing strategy), but nothing really has the same kind of impact as these highly shareable stories from your past patients.

Question 3: Do You Have 20 Minutes to Spare for Content?

This is the big one. Because getting a patient journey starts in your court. You have to pick the right patient, reach out and ask if they are interested and then be available for a few potential follow-up questions after the patient is interviewed. 

All in all, it will only take you about twenty minutes to get all this done — but trust us, we know the value of twenty minutes when you have a packed schedule to keep up with and a stack of charts to finish. 

Time is money, and money pays the bills, bills, bills.

So, ultimately, patient journeys are only a good fit if you have the time needed to put into them. If you can get the patient to talk to us, our cough — world-class, hyper-creative, unparalleled, trailblazing — cough content team can take care of the rest. 

“Humility is the solid foundation of all virtues.” — Confucius

Relationships: Playas Gon’ Play

This second but equally as important part of the CoRe philosophy is the one that some people start to get nervous about. After all, even if you think you are crushing it with your patients, do any of them really want to put their stories online? Let’s ponder the following three questions to figure it out. 

Question 4: Do You Have Good Relationships With Your Patients?

Without good patient relationships, you can’t really be a player in the patient journey game. There is really only one requirement to get started on this type of content… and that is a patient on whom to focus said journey.

Having a good relationship with a patient doesn’t mean being invited to their wedding or exchanging funny memes. Believe it or not, you don’t even have to be “Facebook official” friends to qualify as a good relationship – baffling, I know! 

Most of the time, a good relationship is defined by one simple principle: trust.

If you have to ask yourself whether or not you have your patient’s trust, you may be in the wrong business. And believe us, if a patient doesn’t trust you, you’ll read all about it in your online reviews.

The likely answer is that most medical professionals have at least a basic level of trust from their patients, which in turn gives almost every practice a relationship factor strong enough to leverage their story for a patient journey. All you have to do is ask. 

But even if you don’t feel like you have any good relationships you can call on for some content, (which is probably unlikely; I mean, come on, you’re awesome) a quick chat with our strategists can get you there in no time. We have our ways. 

Question 5: Do You Have Patients Who Are Willing to Participate? 

Alright, so it turns out, you do have stellar relationships with your patients. Or they were just hiding all along, and we finally found them. But are they willing to sit down for an interview and then have their lives written about?

Here’s the good news: in most cases, yes. It sounds like a tall order, but aesthetic medicine has a much more visceral and deep impact on people’s lives than something like blood pressure medication. 

Sure, they need that type of medicine to stay alive, but aesthetic medicine helps them actually live

Go watch any teenage coming-of-age story to
figure out which one is more important.

We have found that a great number of patients are not only willing but excited and grateful for the opportunity to share their stories about the medical professionals who changed their lives. 

(In some cases, the endorsement was so profound that
new physician and practice bios were inspired.) 

Take Muffin for example — no, not a muffin, we are talking about the Muffin, the one-and-only breast cancer survivor from Tennessee who underwent 46 radiation treatments, 12 rounds of chemo and 400 chemo pills. 

Muffin, who just turned 67, went to Tennessee Vein Center a few years ago with a varicose vein in her leg and a heart full of fear from her previous breast cancer experience at a different facility.

By the time she was interviewed for her patient journey, this is what she had to say about the practice: 

So trust us when we say that we are confident we can find patients who are willing to be part of your patient journey efforts. You have an entire roster of your own one-and-only Muffins to tap into.

Question 6: Do You Need Help With Your Digital Reputation?

Alright, wipe the tears you shed for Muffin and take a quick gander at any medical practice through any review system on the market — Google, Yelp, Facebook — and you will find a very common theme that looks something like this:

“When I went to Dr. X, they treated me like a real
person, not just a number in the system.”

Or, the much less desirable:

“Avoid this practice. They don’t care about you at
all and treat you like just another number.”

Shudder. 

Here’s some TOP SECRET professional marketing advice that we can give you free of charge, just this once: you want as many of the first reviews as you can squeeze into those vast Facebook and Yelp servers. 

Especially since 90% of healthcare patients use online reviews to evaluate providers.

We trust you, agent, to keep this knowledge safe. 

Treating your patients like human beings isn’t just the ethical, no-brainer approach. Being empathetic is a conversation and approach that is highly en vogue wherever medicine is discussed.

But here’s the thing, online reviews these days aren’t enough. When a potential patient is making a very personal decision to improve their physical and mental wellbeing, they need more than a simple “These guys are great, highly recommended…” Yelp review to persuade them to make a buying decision. 

Ironically, over the years consumers have begun to lose trust in the very systems set up to gain trust. Online reputation platforms like Yelp have garnered a bad reputation for fraudulent reviews (good and bad) and now are widely known to be taken only with a grain of salt. 

Even more than that, building a connection with a potential patient is no longer an option, it’s a requirement. We’re so inundated with information that we as consumers expect to be provided with an experience visceral enough to build a deep connection with a brand in order to make a buying decision. Enter: Patient Journeys. 

So if you find yourself in a situation where glowing reports are scant (we can help fix that too), negative reviews exist, and you have no other marketing material working in your reputational favor, patient journeys are just the thing you need. 

Bring It All to Us

If your answer to even one of these six questions was a “maybe,” if you even stopped for a half moment to think, “Wow, that sounds like me,” then you are likely in a position to benefit from investing in the wonderful world of patient journey content. 

As usual, our educators are here to answer any questions you have, anytime, for free. Give us a call at (800) 949-0133 or schedule a one-on-one

Like we said, bring it all to me us.

You knew I couldn’t sign off without one last all-women
R&B power group reference, right?

 

 

 

In Part 4 of this series, we will explain how you can figure out which of your patients are viable candidates for a Patient Journey story. 

Christian Shepherd

Content Writer

Incredible Marketing

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