Key takeaways in this post:

  • Beyond interviews, engage doctors in various content aspects like research input, enriched bios, and video participation to add depth and authenticity.
  • Collaborate with physicians to enrich patient narratives with medical insights, highlighting unique aspects of care and institutional strengths.
  • Respect physicians’ busy schedules by offering flexible communication options, providing adequate lead time for content review, and diversifying involvement to prevent overburdening individual doctors.

As healthcare marketers, you likely face a daily challenge. That is, how to balance the highly technical expertise of physicians and specialists with the consumer-oriented language of your customers. You play a critical role in bridging the gap between trained doctors and their patients by translating complex medical jargon into helpful content.

Doctors are a crucial part of healthcare marketing because they are often the face of the services you’re offering to your customers. But how can you engage with these physicians beyond the subject matter expert (SME) interview?

Learn how to collaborate with providers throughout your content process.

You are, hopefully, already engaged with doctors for your SME interviews. But doctors can help support your content well beyond being your subject matter experts.

1. Research

Many doctors are also active researchers, especially in academic medical centers. Many others conducted research earlier in their careers during residency or fellowships. Beyond being SMEs, physicians can provide important angles as researchers by bringing peer-reviewed content to the forefront. This research helps create content that engages patients as well as peer physicians.

2. Provider bios

Go beyond the basics in your provider bios by engaging physicians in the process. This can be effective whether you survey new doctors or conduct one-on-one interviews with specialists. Consider including information like hobbies, research interests and care philosophies that give a fuller picture of the doctor. Don’t forget to ask providers why they chose their specialty and how they landed in your health system. It’s encouraging, for example, for a community hospital to let locals know that providers are returning to their hometowns to care for their neighbors. Or it may inspire others to learn how an orthopedic surgeon’s experience as an athlete led to their specialty.

While you’re working on your bios, here are some tips to engage doctors in the process.

3. Patient stories

While patient stories should focus on the patient’s experience, collaborating with the doctors involved in their care can add a new dimension. Physicians can answer questions about the medical aspects of the story. They can also highlight your health system’s differentiators. For example, a cancer survivor might not bring up a National Cancer Institute (NCI) designation, the number of clinical trials offered or department-wide metrics. But it’s likely their physician will.

4. Video

While not every doctor will be comfortable on camera, video is another medium for docs to come alive. Try ideas like these to involve providers:

  • Add doctors to social video content, such as answering crowdsourced questions or responding to recent hot topics.
  • Create video patient stories.
  • Include video with physician bios.

5. Referral marketing

Especially when it comes to specialty care, more than half of patients rely on physician referrals to find their doctors. Peer-to-peer physician engagement looks very different than consumer-oriented marketing campaigns. But physicians still need to be involved in the process. Try using surveys to understand the referring physicians’ needs and involve them as experts in referral marketing content development.

6. Social posting

How are your physicians using social media today? LinkedIn, Twitter, Doximity and other social engagement sites can help physicians become thought leaders in their specialties and advocates for your health system. Encourage physicians to cross-post your content and arm them with best practices for sharing their thoughts through different social channels.

How are your physicians using social media today? LinkedIn, Twitter, Doximity and other social engagement sites can help physicians become thought leaders in their specialties and advocates for your health system. Encourage physicians to cross-post your content and arm them with best practices for sharing their thoughts through different social channels.

Whatever content format you’re working on, make it easy for physicians to work with you. Doctors have busy schedules and patient care always comes first. Remember to:

  • Ask for their preferences. Would it be easiest to respond to questions asynchronously? Or would a phone call be easier?
  • Give plenty of lead time. Don’t forget about building in time for doctors to review your new content.
  • Provide thought starters. If you’re meeting with doctors, share an agenda, questions or an outline ahead of your time.
  • Diversify your physician pool. You will no doubt find your own favorite, responsive and collaborative physicians within your system. While that’s a good thing, try not to ask too much of the same doctors.

Do you have ideas on other ways to collaborate with physicians on your content? The digital experts and content strategists at WG Content can help you create a better content experience that highlights your doctors at every step. Contact us to start your project.

Doctors can play various roles in creating engaging healthcare content. They can provide valuable input based on their research expertise, enrich provider bios with personal insights, contribute to patient stories by offering medical perspectives, participate in video content, aid in referral marketing strategies, engage in social media advocacy, and generate new content ideas based on their experiences and patient interactions.

To effectively collaborate with physicians, healthcare marketers should prioritize communication and convenience. This involves understanding their preferences for communication methods, providing ample lead time for content review, offering thought starters or agendas for meetings, and diversifying the pool of physicians involved to prevent overburdening any individual doctor.

Physicians can be encouraged to use social media platforms to establish themselves as thought leaders and advocates for their specialties and institutions. Additionally, marketers can tap into physicians’ research backgrounds to incorporate peer-reviewed content into their materials, thus enhancing the credibility and relevance of the content to both patients and fellow healthcare professionals.

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