One of our team members (Rosie) is expecting, so she’s getting a lot of direct personal experience with health care providers. One of the frustrations with the process, for her, is that she doesn’t feel that she gets thorough answers to her questions. “They just tell me everything’s fine,” she says. She is being cared for in a practice where there are many doctors, and the physicians rotate patients, so she rarely sees the same doctor. A few give her lots of information, but most, she says, just say not to worry.
These are busy doctors, obviously. But research has shown that some consumers want a lot of information.
Some consumers, occasionally designated “uninvolved” by market researchers, are fine with lightweight information. They walk into the hardware store, ask a clerk for a paint brush, take the one the clerk grabs for them with a cheery smile, and go on their way.
These consumers, when they become patients, are okay with, “Just keep doing what you’re doing!” and a bright wave of the hand.
But information-hungry consumers want to know everything. Not only do they need the depth of information before they make a purchase decision, they want to know all they can throughout their relationship with their doctors — or their hardware store helpers, for that matter.
Nowadays, information-seeking consumers usually go online. Pew Research tells us that 80% of internet users look up health information at some point, and nearly half of medical consumers look for information online before they see a doctor.
But this can lead to problems. A Nottingham University study found that just 39% of the top sites found in pediatric searches provided accurate information. Other studies have found that patient education information tends to be hard to read. And Rosie finds that online answers to her questions are often very personal — mommy blogs rather than reliable health information is what’s turning up in her searches. These blogs aren’t inaccurate, but they’re sharing information based on a sample size of one.
Solving the time problem
An efficient practice may not give physicians enough time to answer lots of questions or to provide lots of information to patients who may feel that they’re not sure what questions they should be asking.
One solution is a strong, patient education focused blog. Being able to refer your patients to your website for the information they want and need is a time-sparing solution that doesn’t make them feel uninformed or dismissed.
Haden Interactive specializes in health related blogging. We’d be happy to discuss your healthcare content needs.