Writing the medical articles for your professional practice or clinic can be a very rewarding undertaking for the health care professional. Your practice or clinic website is an extension of you – your professional image, clinical acumen and even your bedside manner to some extent. If you can impart a bit of yourself in your website, chances are that you will stand out among the thousands of professional health practice websites out there. Not every health care practitioner has the writing skills to create outstanding content but medicine should not be about the glitter – your patients are just simple people and want a simple approach to health care. Where better to start interacting with them in this manner than on your professional practice or clinic website.
First read our writing medical articles guide and here are some additional pointers if you are planning to develop all the content for your professional website or blog.
Write it as you speak it
Doctor : Your test result suggest bronchiectasis.
Patient : What is bronchi … ex … that disease?
Doctor : Bronchiectasis is a permanent and abnormal dilatation of the …
Stop right there. If you are one of those health care professionals who loves dishing out the medical jargon to impress your patients, secretary and friends then chances are that you are not well understood and probably not well liked among the non-medical folk. A single medical term is definitely worth ten words if not more but there is just no excuse for using terms that non-medical people do not understand. Would you appreciate it if your auto mechanic chose to speak in Swahili when he knows English? Not unless you are more fluent in Swahili.
Always go back to your home ground – how would you explain a certain disease to your parents (who are not medically inclined)? You need to keep it simple, use lay man terms and explain medical information as you would to high school student. You may be oversimplifying medical matters but as long as you avoid the condescending tone, every reader will appreciate your honesty. Yes, honesty. There is a misconception among patients at times that doctors are hiding the truth behind complex medical terms. Or that doctors do not care enough to take the time to simplify medical information.
Bottom line – you can never keep it too simple. But do not let simplicity exclude important information. Find the balance. If you really want to get informal then opt for a blog that carries your picture, short bio and practice details.
Keep it local
Most medical professionals are dealing with patients from the vicinity of their medical practice or clinic. Unless you are a highly sought after practitioner with patients jetting in from across the globe to see you, the chances are that your patients live within 10 miles or so from your practice. By keeping it local you are making the information on your website relevant to your patient base.
Furthermore you are helping your website get local exposure on search engines. It may sound a little confusing but search engines like Google have different ways of deciding which website should be at number 1 or number 100 for any given medical term. You want to attract a local audience and source patients from your vicinity. Or at the very least you do not want your patients to be referring to another clinic’s website in the area.
Use words like your town or city name. Mention latest health news from the area. Discuss outbreaks that are relevant to the vicinity of your patients. And tag yourself on tools such as Google Maps. All of these factors will give you a more familiar feel to the reader. Familiarity is usually trusted.
Nobody wants to rewrite an entire medical textbook and chances are that your patients do not want to read one either. While it is important to define the disease and discuss a little about its causes, symptoms and complications, most patients want to know what you are going to do about it. Professional practice and clinic websites should spend more time on articles about the diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions rather than competing with high ranking websites on other information that very often a patient has already been informed upon.
This is not to say that a comprehensive medical article on any disease is not worthwhile. But as a health care professional you do not really have the time to cover all aspects of a disease and do it justice. Furthermore you want to distinguish what you do from what the medical textbooks say about the disease. Address the diagnostic and therapeutic aspects of your article in a more personal yet professional approach. Inform the patient on what you need to do, what you can do and what they may expect.
Outsourcing medical articles for your practice website
There is no denying that outsourcing all the content for your professional medical website is still the cheaper and quicker way to do things. After all time is money and you cannot be spending a lot of your time writing articles when you should be attending to patients. Ensure that you outsource your work to reputable medical writers – there is no shortage of doctors especially from Asian countries who have good English skills and are looking for medical writing work.
Once you have sourced it, read every article and add in your own personal touch to ensure that the content has a relevant feel for your patients. Generic medical articles are a dime a dozen on the Internet and offer little value to your patients without your personal touch. Remember that every article on your practice or clinic website is a representation of you, your organization and your abilities. Find what works for you and what best reaches out to your patients. You may ultimately discover that you will be spending less time in the consulting room describing diseases on plastic models and charts by simply referring your patient to your website to read up more.