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The Biggest Branding Mistake in Patient Education

February 16, 2017

In the nearly 20 years since I started Mudbug Media, I’ve seen many good examples of patient education from medical device and pharma companies. However, I’ve also seen a fair share of bad examples.

In previous articles, I’ve talked about the different qualities of good, effective patient education. Now that we’ve covered what you should do, I’ll cover what not to do when creating your patient education.

What is the biggest mistake I’ve seen in patient education? Putting the brand before the quality of the content.

Let me explain what I mean by that phrase.

Don’t Put the Brand Before the Content

When you are too focused on your brand—your company’s name, products, etc.—you often end up with patient education content that doesn’t educate patients in the way they need. It often ends up sounding more like you are trying to sell patients on a device or medication, rather than actually helping them get healthy.

Patients don’t want to feel pressured into undergoing a particular procedure or taking a particular medication. They want information on what they should do to get healthy. They want to know about all of their treatment options, not just yours. The content needs to be comprehensive and cover everything—the condition itself and the different treatment options—so that patients can make important health decisions, including which type of doctor to see.

For this reason, physicians also need your content to be comprehensive. They want to see the patients who will most benefit from their specialties, and good patient education helps them find the patients who are a good fit for their practice.

Patients may also be apprehensive about a doctor whose patient education seems to push a particular procedure or treatment. Yes, every physician has particular specialties and procedures that they would like to focus on, but they need to provide patients with comprehensive educational materials to help them understand the recommended course of treatment. When physicians don’t provide that information, patients may feel that their doctors are trying to push them into a particular treatment option without giving them the full story. It doesn’t foster trust between the patient and the physician.

In short, focusing on quality content is a better boost for your brand than focusing on the brand itself.

Focusing on Content Quality Helps Your Brand

When your content is primarily focused on pushing your brand and your products, you will often fail the patient. This, in turn, does not serve to put your brand in a positive light because you are putting your brand first, not the patient.

Putting the patient first is not only the right thing to do, but the smart thing to do.

In most cases, your devices or medications are used to treat a condition that millions of people have. You won’t have a problem finding patients that can benefit from your medication or device. When your company helps patients get the information they need via patient education, that reflects positively on your brand. That, in turn, can foster loyalty to your brand.

This is a principle that can be applied to many different types of businesses. When you take good care of your customers (in this case, the patients who need your treatment), they are more likely to stay loyal to you in the long run. Even if they don’t need your services, they are more likely to recommend your medications and devices to friends and family with similar health issues. They are also more likely to seek out physicians and surgeons who use your products.

It’s a win for brand and for your physicians, but most importantly, it’s a win for patients because they get the information and medical care they need. This will do more for your company than pushing your brand.

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