The philosophy that seeing is believing is as true in medicine as it is with everything else in life. So it's no wonder that more and more physicians posting videos on their medical practice websites.
The philosophy that seeing is believing is as true in medicine as it is with everything else in life. So it’s no wonder that more and more physicians are looking to better engage their current patients, and attract new ones, through video postings on their medical practice websites.
“[Video] allows me to reach the patient before they come in,” explains Moshe Lewis, MD, MPH, a pain management specialist with SpinalCare Medical Group. “Hopefully, the patient comes to the appointment that much more educated.”
Getting the word out
Jennifer Landa, MD, chief medical officer with BodyLogicMD of Orlando, Fla., began posting videos to her website more than four years ago as a way to educate patients about hormone replacement and wellness, and also to increase patient traffic into the practice. Both goals have been achieved, but the education piece was most important to Landa.
“I feel that even if somebody doesn’t become my patient, at least I’m teaching them something; making them aware of something that may help improve their health and wellness,” says Landa, who will frequently post a new video to provide her interpretation of new studies or stories in the news on women’s health. “It’s all about covering a wide variety of topics to develop a library that patients can learn from.”
Lewis says patient education was a key motivating factor in his use of video as well. When doing his own online research he found that not only was there an absence of physician authorship of pain information, there was also a tremendous appetite for information on the part of consumers.
“I felt there needed to be some doctor commentary, and that in part it should be visual,” he says. “Especially today, people watch videos.”
Developing a comfort level
Landa says that, like anything new, incorporating video into a practice’s website carries a bit of a learning curve. She recalls that when she first started doing videos of live seminars with patients, “it was a nerve-wracking experience.” But the more she worked at it, the more she began to enjoy it.
“It was a little awkward at first, but if you know your topic and it’s something that you’re passionate about, you just sit there and speak as if you’re speaking with a patient,” Landa says.
Landa recommends setting up the camera on a tripod, and that the physician might want to a find a wall so his or her medical degrees are visible in the background.
Lewis agrees that practice makes perfect. Even though the medium is different, the information being imparted should be things physicians are already comfortable discussing.
“Even seasoned actors get stage fright,” he says. “Doctors are always taught about poise and etiquette; about not stumbling over our words, or giving information that’s inaccurate.”
Increasing patient engagement
Landa says that since she began posting video to her website, she’s noticed about a 25% increase in what she calls the conversion rate — website visitors becoming prospects.
“It’s like patients filling out an online questionnaire that they want to be contacted,” she says. “And my understanding is that Google uses video in its search value index, and video ranks higher than content a lot of the time. So, it’s really advantageous to use video if you’re trying to do online marketing.”
But Landa has also noticed a difference when she meets patients for the first time. Many say that they feel they already know her, because they’ve watched several of her videos online. Others comment that they selected her because they like the way she came across on the video.
She’s even had other physicians reach out to her based on her videos. A chiropractor in Australia not only watches her videos for his own education, but he also refers his patients to them.
“So even other people are using my videos; other practitioners are using my videos as sources of education for themselves and for their patients. I love hearing that,” Landa says. “It can be an anxiety-provoking experience [for a patient] to go to a doctor’s office. But to feel like you already know the doctor and you’re comfortable, it establishes a rapport even before they walk in the door.”