There they sit, row after row, stack upon stack, red, blue , green, purple and all the colors in between: pamphlets, flyers, and printouts advertising the latest information, products, and procedures in the healthcare industry. If you've been to a doctor’s office recently you know what I’m talking about—the key word being IF.
How to Create Content under Strict Regulations
The National Center for Health Statistics reports that, for the average American, that is only four times per year. Meanwhile, whether they are out of that sterile office or waiting in the lobby for their appointments to begin, people are spending approximately 1,196 hours a year on their phones, tablets, or other screens emailing, messaging, using social media, or participating in other forms of online communication—hours equivalent to almost 50 full days.
What these wastes of paper—and the dust collecting on top of them—really symbolize is a costly disconnect between your business and your consumers. I know, I know marketing yourself in the healthcare industry is not as easy as it used to be. Thanks to the strict policies of the FDA, HIPPA and the AMA it seems every syllable you wish to release to public has to be analyzed and revised by a legal team to avoid a lawsuit.
Your excuses pose legitimate concerns; however, creating effective, informative content for consumers is not impossible. They may have changed the game, but that does not mean you cannot change yours. Even if you play by their rules, your business can still prosper with a simple shift in strategy.
Match Up to the Batter at the Plate, Not the Whole Team
Within your line of work in the healthcare industry, you have a priceless opportunity: the opportunity to help real people with the real problems, real concerns, real questions they face. Regardless of the restrictions placed upon you, your patients will still be struggling to find the information and answers they need.
That being said, real people are not one and the same; what aids one does not aid all. The content you publish and where you publish it must be suited to satisfy the unique circumstances of those you aim to serve, relating to them on a personal level.
Today, 72% of internet users use it to search for health information. If you want to receive some of this attention online you need to increase your presence with:
- Interactive websites with calls-to-action and targeted landing pages
- Easily accessible ebooks and other downloadable documents
- Blogs posts that help answer, educate, inform or entertain potential patients about the alignments they may have
- Accounts on social media sites allowing for better connections to be formed with your practice and your patient community
The return on your marketing investment holds the potential to be more than just money in your pocket and patients in your waiting rooms; it can mean healthier, better-informed individuals, families, and generations. With that in mind, a healthcare provider must also ensure that its customers have access to what they need whenever and wherever they need it.
Don’t Throw Them a Sales Pitch, Give it to Them Straight
Your strategy for writing even under the laws and codes introduced by government organizations should be to give the individual the answer or information he or she desires, not your sales-pitch.
Any and all flowery, overdone, or overemphasized talking points or rash promises about your practice in doctor-speak or medical lingo will send consumers straight out of the batting box before they even take a swing.
People living in the internet age are privy to finding clean, clear answers. If you don’t offer them, you can bet one of your competitors will. Give customers the information they desire in a straight-forward manner that is easy to understand, to digest, and to relate to.
After all, your patients aren't looking to buy a product as much as they are for answers and solutions. Deliver the facts so they can make up their own mind off of their own research.
The Bases Are Loaded, Don’t Walk in a Run—Use Common Sense
When you are writing content for your patients, you must enlist the skills and expertise of qualified writers. You cannot have any member of your staff crank out any sort of document on any medical topic. You need your writer to be:
- Knowledgeable on the subject
- Able to conduct the appropriate research
- Well-versed in the different regulations and other applicable laws that could affect you
By selecting a writer that meets each of these standards, you can ensure that the pieces you receive will not only be ready to publish, but ready to provide answers and relief for your waiting patients.
Once the writing process concludes, it is just a matter of cross checking to cover your bases and elude any sort of trouble from the government organization. Here at InTouch, we work hand in hand with our clients’ own internal approval programs, sometimes streamlining the process to make sure a deadline is met. More often than not, the only thing that stands between you and a legal fiasco is a fresh set of eyes.
It’s going to be a tough battle under these new regulations, but the spectators in the stands—your potential patients—still rely on you the play a great game. Weak, wimpy content collapsing under the weight of the observing government organizations, printed on papers they only see four times a year is not going to do the trick.
If you are truly driven to positively impact the lives of people, you must do all you can to provide them with strong, clear information and answers available wherever they are. So, focus on the individual you are serving, what that one person desires, where he or she must find it and how it can be presented as solid as legally possible.
Bill is the CEO and Founder of InTouch Marketing. Bill drives the vision and direction of InTouch except when England's playing in a soccer tournament, because everything stops!