How To Create Successful Patient Education Content That Reinforces Your Brand
January 26, 2017
I’ve written about the concept of reaching the patient via the practice through your patient education. However, your patient education content helps your company—and your brand—in many ways.
Good, well-written patient education can reinforce your brand both in the eyes of physicians and patients. Patients need medically accurate, comprehensive information so that they can make informed decisions, and physicians need to be able to provide that information to patients so that they can get more of the right patients for their practices.
If your company can provide patient education that fits those needs, you can build trust with both physicians and patients. When you build that trust, you are reinforcing your brand, which in turn can create long-term customers for your company.
Over the nearly 20 years Mudbug Media has been in existence, I’ve learned a lot about what patients and practices need from patient education. We’ve even written our own patient education for our clients to provide to patients on their websites. That content was based on these three ideas:
1. Patient education should be chronological and follow the entire continuum of care.
When patients are searching for information about their health, they are often starting off by trying to find out whether or not they have a condition to begin with. This is why your patient education should be in chronological order and follow the continuum of care to be the most effective.
If you lead with information about treatment with your medication or device, you may not be giving the patient what he or she most needs in that moment. That patient may not be at that point yet; you have to start at the beginning of the process, then work your way down to more specific information. This not only helps patients get the information they need, but also helps to vet patients for your physicians and surgeons, ensuring that they are seeing more patients who are informed and ready for treatment.
Most patients start looking for information because they’ve noticed certain symptoms. With that in mind, a patient is likely to take the following path in seeking information:
- “Do these symptoms indicate that I have [condition]?”
- “If I do think that I have [condition], at what point should I seek medical attention?”
- “If I need treatment for [condition], what options are available?”
- “If I need [treatment option], how does it work?”
- “What do I need to know about before and after treatment?”
As you can see, we’re not getting into talking about your treatment option until the patient is much further into the process. However, it makes more sense to introduce that information toward the end of the information seeking process because that is when the patient is most likely to need that information.
Keep that in mind when writing up patient education so that your content guides patients through that information-seeking process. When patients are able to review all of their options, they are more likely to trust your brand because the focus is on helping them get healthy, rather than trying to sell them on your medication or device.
2. The content needs to be easy to read.
When your content walks patients through that decision-making process, you’re providing a lot of useful information. Chronological information helps patients understand the information in the context of the care process, but you should also look for opportunities to make the information easier to read throughout.
Shorter paragraphs, shorter sentences, headings, and subheadings will make it easier for patients to quickly scan content to find the information they are looking for. Improving the readability helps patients read and understand the content more quickly. If needed, images and videos can also be helpful in illustrating your points and breaking up the text.
3. Be informative, but simplify the concepts as much as possible.
You’re writing this content for physicians to provide to patients. The goal of patient education is to help patients understand their conditions and treatments. This in turn helps your physicians explain these concepts to patients. It reinforces and expands upon what physicians say to patients during office visits. Ideally, patients who read the content are better informed and better equipped to make the right decisions.
With that in mind, it’s important to remember that patients don’t use medical terminology in their everyday lives. The more you can simplify the content, the easier it will be for them to understand. Be as specific as possible, but try to avoid heavy use of medical terminology wherever you can. Make it easy for patients to quickly read the information and find the answers to their questions.
The main goal of patient education is right in the name—you’re working to educate patients so that they are empowered to make health decisions. When your can provide successful patient education, you’re taking good care of both your physicians and the patients they treat, which ultimately builds loyalty and trust in your brand.
You build trust with physicians by helping them see more of the right patients—the patients who know they need treatment. This helps you sell more of your product, because your physicians and surgeons trust you and are connecting with more patients who will benefit from the treatment. You reinforce your brand by helping physicians and patients get what they need—and ultimately, that’s a win for everyone.
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