Amy and I got back from Orlando, last week. We attended the American Academy of Ophthalmology annual meeting, the world’s largest gathering of ophthalmologists and those associated with our “industry.” It’s our huge trade show. For us, we got some national exposure for our new company.
You may remember that we received a nice endorsement from the AAO earlier in the year. The endorsement came in the form of acceptance of our lectures (4) and and invitation to address young doctors about marketing.
In short, we told everyone about what we are doing here at RetinaEyeDoctor.com.
We told the story of how we started, how it has benefited my practice (patients arrive internationally and nationally), how we use the site to educate patients (real and virtual) and it has become a valuable tool in developing relationships with my patients and my “tribe” (those that follow this site…um, that means you!).
While the courses topics ranged from choosing a URL to implementing social media via a blog, we were advocating some very simple points;
1. If You Have No Website, You Don’t Exist: Patients have become empowered by the Internet. Long gone are the days where a patient will blindly take the “referral” of one physician from another. Today, patients want to select their doctors based on their own criteria. The easiest way to search is to use Google, but you (my readers) know this. If a doctor has been recommended, but a website can not be found (or is old and stale), patients will never call to make an appointment.
2. Doctors need Transparency: There are two types of transparency that physicians must display, personal and business. Personal transparency means that a doctor must display some attributes of being human. This personal transparency means that doctors should share a bit about their personal side to which patients (as other humans) can relate. Patients want to relate to their doctors.
As an example, a doctor listing his/her hobbies is much more engaging than listing the elite academic achievements to which noone else can relate (even other doctors).
Every other business in every other industry, except medicine, opens itself to public criticism and evaluation. Movies, books, restaurants all go under review of the public. Doctors must get used to the notion of operating this type of transparent business.
3. Serving the Public Good. The only way a medical practice can use a website as an effective marketing tool is to publish credible health information. While over 80% of the public turns to the Internet first for health related questions, there is a paucity of reliable information (you know this, too!).
If every doctor were to publish/write on their own sites, they would get the rankings they want …and the public would get the answers they need. Best of all, this means that the quality of health information available to the public improves.
What Does This Mean? We got validated. We met so many doctors trying to learn how to engage the Internet, to make their websites useful and to learn how to build relationships. We were appreciated and really became to feel that we are leading a movement…..maybe we are.