Posted: July 6, 2017

Build More Trust and Drive More Appointments with Better Find-a-Doctor Pages

Today’s empowered health consumers turn to physician profile pages to learn something meaningful about the person who will be managing their health. Yet often they’re greeted with a resume: an academic history, professional credentials, and a headshot. While the consumer is looking to make a real connection, these profiles rarely resonate emotionally or convey a sense of who the doctor is as a person.

As we know, healthcare is as personal as it gets, and relationships matter. A health consumer’s initial encounter with a provider in your network likely begins online, right on your website. Though many hospitals are starting to integrate star ratings and videos on provider profiles, most are missing an opportunity to build trust with prospective patients by using retail-like web features.

Imagine your hospital website as a highly immersive experience — comparable, say, to an IKEA store where each sample room has been crafted to tell a story customers relate to. By the time the customer leaves, she is emotionally invested in that gray sofa and envisioning how it will look in her home.

Likewise, influencing consumer health decisions on your profile pages hinges largely on what is presented — and how. Here are some important ways to create engaging, transactional physician profiles that go beyond credentials, and begin to form a genuine bond between doctor and patient.

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Start by Answering the Consumer’s Qualifying Questions
On a basic level, a physician's profile must include information that health consumers need or want to know in selecting a provider. Answer the questions that qualify their options:

› Do they accept new patients?
› Do they accept my insurance?
› Are they located near where I live or work?
› What conditions do they treat?
› What are their specialties and certifications?
› What have other people experienced with this physician?

Providing this information helps prospective patients narrow the field, but the consumer journey doesn’t end there. Their choice usually comes down to likeability, trusted endorsements, and expertise and convenience.

Develop a Story that Evokes Emotion
Changing the standard, formal physician bio into a compelling story can create a personal connection between patient and doctor, before either has met. Speak to things that humanize the physician — where they grew up, what motivated them to pursue medicine, professional interests, favorite hobbies, and other personal touches. The layout and writing style are crucial as well. For example, writing in a conversational, magazine style is an engaging alternative to the dry, bulleted format of your average profile page.

Use Videos to Enhance Engagement
Videos are an engaging and share-worthy component that deepens a physician's attributes and skills, displays her personality, and offers insight into her background, philosophy of care, and perspective on the practice of medicine in general. It also creates a sense of comfort and familiarity prior to meeting the physician for the first time. Shot in high definition and edited with a storytelling approach, physician profile videos are highly effective tools for inbound marketing. If you don’t have the time or budget, even short in-office videos filmed with a smart phone can be effective. Overall, these videos play a key role in driving new traffic to your hospital’s website, engaging prospective health consumers, and then converting them to loyal, long-term patients.

Integrate Physician Reviews and Ratings
Adding physician reviews and ratings on provider profiles is a rapidly growing trend. It follows how we all use online feedback to guide our daily decisions, from where to shop and eat, to what movies we see. According to recent research by The Journal of the American Medical Association, approximately 60% of people surveyed report that physician reviews and ratings are important when choosing a doctor. Along with patient satisfaction scores, embracing this sort of transparency on your profile pages can go a long way toward earning trust.

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Add CTAs (Calls-to-Action)
If you were browsing an e-commerce site, a product page without a “buy now” or “add to cart” button is close to useless. Using that analogy, provider profile pages are a hospital’s “product” pages — and thus should feature a transactional call-to-action.

Calls-to-action tell a potential patient what to do next, with you in control of the narrative. Ultimately, making an appointment should be quick and easy. CTAs are also ideal for measuring your marketing efforts and determining what is and isn’t working on your website. Trackable phone numbers, forms, and other conversion points are always recommended.

Bottom Line
Building trust during the qualifying and evaluation phase of the health consumer’s journey is where we see most organizations miss the mark with their provider profiles.

We often find profiles with minimal, inaccurate, or incomplete information. Aside from those essentials, you also need to include engaging and interactive elements. Absorbing bios and videos, physician ratings and reviews, and calls-to-action are absolutely vital to your hospital’s success online.

To learn more, download our Bringing the Amazon Experience to Healthcare white paper.