By Harlan West, Design and Marketing Professional with 25 years of experience designing materials for major healthcare organizations, municipalities and large corporations.
Have you ever gone into a doctor’s office for a scheduled appointment only to be forced to wait an hour or more? Yes, we all have had this unfortunate experience. Doctors seem to think that their time is more valuable than the average person’s. True, emergencies do come up and some patients take much longer to examine and diagnose than others.
Now, we all know how doctors tend to fill their waiting rooms with stacks of dated magazines that often contain technical content or boring articles about such unexciting topics as a golf stroke. C’mon, let’s get with the times!
In this world of constantly evolving healthcare procedures, policies and regulations, doctors, more than ever, need to better communicate with their patients.
Below is a sample newsletter design we created to be used in a doctor’s office waiting room.
There are several important reasons why a newsletter can be beneficial to a physician or a medical group:
1) As mentioned above, it’s a great way to connect with patients and staff. These new letters are a great way to introduce new associate doctors, office staff or clinicians to the patient.
2) Newsletters placed in the waiting room will most likely have a very high readership rate. Similar to onboard rail newsletters that I discuss in previous posts, physician newsletters can be strategically placed in the waiting room to take advantage of a captive audience. Indeed, patients are sitting waiting and watching the clock with nothing to do. They are just trying to l time until they are called to come back into the examination room. They are very likely to pick up any attractive and interesting reading material in front of them. Try a more “home-baked” yet at the same time professional approach to the newsletter. With such an approach, patients may feel more relaxed.
3) Newsletters can help take away some of the depersonalization of today’s healthcare. Too often we feel like just a number in a heard of cattle. This is especially true where doctors groups, medical groups or HMOs are involved. Stories about doctors, their staff, new services, billing policies, new procedures or medical innovations can help put patient’s fears at ease. Articles about patient success stories can also increase the comfort level. But, be careful not to divulge patient information without their prior consent. Due to privacy concerns, it is essential to leave out names and actual photos.
4) Newsletters can also be a great medium for building awareness on the importance of fitness, exercise and healthy eating. Try including stretching exercises that can be done at home or in the office. Generic photos of active “boomers” living a healthy lifestyle are great additions to help perk up the newsletter. With a regular newsletter, healthcare practitioners can more easily “preach” to their patients about such hard-to-discuss topics as weight loss, proper hygiene, cancers and sexually transmitted diseases.
5) A regular monthly newsletter can allow a doctor to show a more compassionate side even if he or she does not have a great “bedside manner.” Articles about the physician and how he or she is helping patients receive the best care can go along way to bridging this gap. In other words, a physician newsletter can show a new side of the doctor, even, if in person, he is not a very compassionate individual.
6) Providing a newsletter keeps the dialogue focused on the patient rather than just the doctor. Patient-centered is the essential to succeeding in today’s healthcare maze. Knowing as much as possible about the patient will allow doctors to share valuable information can really add to the success of the care experience and treatment. In a newsletter, patients can find valuable resources and web links to the doctor’s website, other practitioners, pharmacies and such preventative care as flu vaccines, nutritional guidelines and fitness regimens. Newsletters are also a way that patients can learn about other ways to stay connected with the doctor’s office. Other useful resources including e-mail contacts, online e-newsletters, the office website and social media could be easily included in the regular newsletter
A physician newsletter can make for a healthy patient doctor care experience!
If your company needs an innovative physician, healthcare, fitness or nutritional newsletter, e-publication, or promotion, please contact HWDS at firstname.lastname@example.org. We make beautiful things happen. To find out more please visit westdesign.com
Harlan West is the author of successfulcorporatecommunications.com and has been working as a creative director and design professional for more than 25 years and has designed and art directed hundred of publications for both print and online purposes.