Why physicians need strategic communications support and how we do it
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FAQs

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQS)

 

VALUE FAQS

What makes CureComms different from other marketing firms?

As PhD-level biomedical scientists with marketing expertise, we are uniquely positioned to develop your brand and to create and curate content that supports your communications goals.

 

Our strategy goes beyond traditional marketing techniques. Unlike other firms, we:

 

1. leverage medical news and research to create high quality content that is targeted to your audience

2. incorporate evidence-based strategies that draw on neuroscience, psychology, and marketing to:

 

  • present content in a digestible format
  • distribute content for high impact
  • create user-friendly websites
  • design brand-promoting logos and materials
Why is the way I communicate so important to my patients?

Improved physician communication produces several beneficial outcomes,1-5 including:

  • enhanced patient satisfaction
  • increased adherence to treatment plans, and
  • improved clinical outcomes

Many physicians don’t realize that patients care as much about the information you provide – and the way you present that information – as they do about your training or clinical expertise.6,7

Does my practice need an active online presence?

Yes. The digital era is changing the way medical information is communicated and provides an opportunity to efficiently communicate with a large volume of patients and prospective patients simultaneously.8

Physicians underestimate the amount of information that their patients desire and overestimate the amount of information that they have provided to their patients.9 Effective communication takes time, and patients often complain that their physicians are too busy to communicate well.10 Active online engagement can mitigate these problems by providing your audience with the ongoing and timely information they desire.

How will digital content improve my communication?

Time pressures limit the quality and volume of the information you can provide in the clinic, which unfortunately impacts patient satisfaction.11,12 Digital communication complements the in-person dialogue between physicians and patients.

You also have an opportunity to reach prospective patients, other medical professionals, and the broader community through your digital content. Most patients are now online and are increasingly interested in participating in clinical decision making and receiving personalized care.13,14 As a result, they actively seek reliable medical information online.

Though many practices maintain a web presence, few of them regularly curate and publish high quality content that patients value. Adding this type of content to your website’s static content is critical for:

  • demonstrating your commitment to your patients and to medicine
  • establishing your authority in your area of expertise
  • maintaining your relationship with patients between visits
  • keeping your patients informed about relevant health topics

Each of these benefits of ongoing content help to enhance your community’s trust in you and to drive traffic to your website.

What will CureComms provide for my practice?

The heart of CureComms is content.

 

Our high quality content will differentiate you from other practices by providing timely and valuable information to:

  • your patients
  • potential patients, and
  • the broader medical community

CureComms will build you a portfolio of content that empowers patients, increases your efficiency, and enhances the long-term development of your professional reputation.

CureComms also works to promote the impact of your content. For instance, we can:

  • curate and redistribute your content and that of other quality publishers via social media
  • help you design a user-friendly website, and
  • create a logo that reflects your brand

Our strategy incorporates evidence-based principles at the intersection of behavioral science, marketing, and design.

What is the advantage of content over direct advertisements?

Advertisements, which leading marketers refer to as “interruption marketing,” are intrusive, and people have become skilled at blocking out these types of marketing messages because they provide us with little value. Nonetheless, people do seek out valuable content. If you provide that content distribution, people will willingly digest your messages.

Why should the healthcare industry embrace content?

Content marketing has been successful because it gives users what they need. In the context of healthcare, content marketing means empowering patients to improve their health.

Though 90% of organizations now invest in content marketing to provide value to their audience,15 the healthcare industry is far behind.16 According to McKinsey & Company, the healthcare system suffers from the myth that patients do not have the same expectations about their healthcare providers as they do about their providers in other industries.17 This belief has contributed to the industry’s resistance to a “customer-centric” mindset,18 despite pushes toward personalized medicine, patient-centered outcomes, and shared decision making, all of which are customer-centric principles that can be effectively addressed with content.

Why should I outsource my content creation to CureComms?

The most significant barriers for effective content marketing in healthcare are: 1) the time commitment required, and 2) the need for interdisciplinary knowledge in science and marketing.

Most healthcare providers simply do not have the time to create ongoing content or the marketing experience to support brand development. Most marketers do not have the scientific training to navigate the medical literature or to contribute unique insights regarding the latest medical research.

CureComms solves these challenges by combining scientific and marketing expertise to deliver content that is well-suited to bolster your brand.

CONTENT FAQS

What kind of content does CureComms create?

The majority of our content is in the form of user-friendly articles that physicians post to keep their websites fresh with ongoing and timely information.

We work closely with clients to develop a comprehensive strategy to develop their brand, which may include active social media engagement of patient and physician target audiences.

We also produce other forms of content, depending on our client’s needs and preferences.

What do I do with the content CureComms gives me?

You own all the content we provide, so you are free to use it however you would like. We suggest publishing ongoing content on your website as a way to provide value to your patients and potentially to your colleagues and the broader public. You can publish the content yourself, or we can publish it on your behalf.

Interesting digital content spreads quickly, which social media can facilitate. We therefore suggest including social media share buttons on your content. If you are interested in actively broadening your content’s reach or in developing your brand, we recommend strategic social media engagement. To learn more about how we can support your social media efforts, see our Social Media FAQs below.

We can also work with you to create other forms of content or to re-purpose content we provide to achieve your goals.

Can CureComms help us track the success of our content?

Yes. Defining metrics of success and employing analytics related to digital traffic and user behavior allow you to assess the impact of your marketing strategy.

Can CureComms help us with the static copy on our websites?

Yes. In addition to providing active content, we ensure that the static part of your website is organized in a user-friendly way and that it serves as a valuable resource to your patients. Placing certain information online can protect against circumstances where your patient may have misplaced written materials or forgotten or misunderstood verbal advice. 19

For example, you likely communicate certain basic information to a number of your patients. Putting this basic information online reinforces critical information, strengthens the physician-patient relationship, and enhances your ability to personalize your patient visits.

Can CureComms support our other communications needs such as those related to conferences, board meetings, manuscripts, grants, and reports?

Yes. Our services are customizable and flexible.

SOCIAL MEDIA FAQs

What can you do to support our digital marketing efforts?

We offer 3 options of support for your social media channels:

  1. Full Management – We fully manage your social media accounts and provide quarterly analysis and insights for those who prefer to outsource their social media activity. Fully managed digital marketing allows you to focus on patient service while we build your brand through digital engagement.
  2. Detailed Strategic Plans with Analytics – We develop a strategic plan for how to best execute your social media engagement based on current news and research trends and provide you with content to use in your campaign. While you manage your social media activity day-to-day, we analyze the success of your campaign quarterly and modify plans based on our findings.
  3. Customized Best Practices – We consult with you to identify your needs and develop a strategic report that details our suggestions for how your practice can deploy social media to achieve specific objectives.
Can CureComms help us bring traffic to our website and ensure that people see our valuable content?

Yes. Regularly publishing content on your website increases your search engine ranking and enhances your visibility. You can further encourage the spread of your content via social media campaigns that engage potential patients or referral networks. Social media platforms provide fruitful opportunities for medical practices.20

We can work with you to select the right balance of social media presence tailored to your goals and patient populations.

What does a social media campaign involve?

A social media campaign allows you to broaden your reach and to enhance the value you provide to your community. Through social media, you can distribute and re-distribute your content, target your content to certain audiences, and encourage interaction with your content. In addition, social media enable you to direct your audience to useful information from other sources and to add your own commentary to content created by others. The combination of distributing original content and curating other content enables you to expand your audience and deepen their trust in you as you become their go-to expert on specific topics.

If we choose to leverage social media, what channels should we use?

We will help you select specific social media platforms based on your goals and the details of your target audience. For instance, some practices focus their marketing efforts on patients and prospective patients while others focus on other physicians and medical professionals. We can help you tailor your social media strategy based on the objectives of your practice and the characteristics of your patients.

Can CureComms help us with more traditional forms of marketing and advertising?

Yes. While we encourage our clients to take advantage of content marketing because it is a valuable and untapped strategy in medicine, we also provide other types of marketing and branding support, including:

 

  • web development
  • logo design
  • search engine optimization (SEO)
  • search engine marketing (SEM)

 

As with our other digital marketing services, we can enable you to manage these efforts yourself, or we can do them on your behalf.

REFERENCES

References
  1. Zolnierek, KBH & DiMatteo MR. Physician communication and patient adherence to treatment: A meta-analysis. Medical Care. 2009;47(8):826-834.
  2. Neuwirth ZE. Physician empathy–should we care? Lancet. 1997;350(9078):606.
  3. Neuwirth ZE. An essential understanding of physician-patient communication. Part II. The Journal of Medical Practice Management. 1999;15(2):68-72.
  4. Stewart M, et al. Evidence on patient-doctor communication. Cancer Prevention & Control. 1999;3(1):25-30.
  5. Stewart MA. Effective physician-patient communication and health outcomes: a review.1995. CMAJ;152:1423-1433.
  6. Harris Interactive. Doctors’ interpersonal skills valued more than their training or being up-to-date. http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/doctors-interpersonal-skills-valued-more-than-their-training-or-being-up-to-date-74036937.html. Published 2004. Accessed January 22, 2017.
  7. Deloitte. The value of patient experience: Hospitals with better patient-reported experience perform better financially. https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/us/Documents/life-sciences-health-care/us-dchs-the-value-of-patient-experience.pdf Published 2016. Accessed January 22, 2017.
  8. Horwitz LI & Detsky AS. Physician communication in the 21st century: to talk or to text? JAMA. 2011;16(305):1128-1129.
  9. Waitzkin H. Doctor-patient communication. Clinical implications of social scientific research. JAMA. 1984;252(17):2441-2446.
  10. Levinson W & Pizzo PA. Patient-physician communication: it’s about time. JAMA. 2011;305(17):1802-1803.
  11. Forbes. For every hour with patients, doctors spend two record-keeping. https://www.forbes.com/sites/brucejapsen/2016/09/06/for-every-hour-with-patients-doctors-spend-two-record-keeping/#1fdbda7f2950. Published 2016. Accessed January 22, 2017.
  12. Dugdale DC, Epstein R & Pantilat SZ. Time and the patient–physician relationship. Journal of General Internal Medicine. 1999;14(Suppl 1):S34-40.
  13. National Research Corporation. 2015 Healthcare consumer trends: Emergence of ratings, reviews, and the digital decision maker. https://www.mymedicalshopper.com/pdf/gnA49g4xbBcoSXucZ Published 2015. Accessed January 22, 2017.
  14. RAND Corporation. A demonstration of shared decision making in primary care highlights barriers to adoption and potential remedies. http://www.rand.org/pubs/external_publications/EP51315.html. Published 2013. Accessed January 22, 2017.
  15. Harvard Business Review. The content marketing revolution. https://hbr.org/2014/07/the-content-marketing-revolution. Published 2014. Accessed January 22, 2017.
  16. Content Marketing Institute. Research finds health care content marketing lags two years behind. http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2012/11/health-care-content-marketing-lags-two-years-behind/. Published 2012. Accessed January 22, 2017.
  17. McKinsey & Company. Debunking common myths about healthcare consumerism. http://www.mckinsey.com/industries/healthcare-systems-and-services/our-insights/debunking-common-myths-about-healthcare-consumerism. Published 2015. Accessed January 22, 2017.
  18. Skyward. Who will lead healthcare content marketing out of the dark ages? http://www.skyword.com/contentstandard/marketing/who-will-lead-healthcare-content-marketing-out-of-the-dark-ages/. Published 2016. Accessed January 22, 2017.
  19. Ong LM, de Haes JC, Hoos AM & Lammes FB. Doctor-patient communication: a review of the literature. Social Science & Medicine. 1995;40(7):903-918.
  20. George DR, Rovniak LS & Kraschnewski JL. Dangers and opportunities for social media in medicine. Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology. 2013;56(3):453-462.