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  • Writer's pictureCarie Behounek

Ban Boring Bios; Earn Trust

(Reposted from a post I wrote in 2018. Sharing again because I believe this is applicable in any professional industry!)

Physicians are fascinating people. But they hide it well. Especially in writing.

Take the average doctor’s website bio. The acronyms: MD, PhD, MED, FAACOG, QRST, LMNOP. The list of universities: undergrad, med school, residency, fellowship, post-doc. The summa-cum-laudes and other distinctions. The publications, the board-certifications, the awards, the professional organizations.

All important stuff, right? For sure. But who is this stuff most important to? My guess? Other doctors. And other doctors aren’t the only people visiting your website. Your patients want more.

Write What Patients Want

I’ve interviewed hundreds of physicians in my career. For the most part, they are exceedingly accomplished professionally and personally. And best of all — they practice medicine because they love it! They love their patients, and they love their work, despite all the hassles and burdens they face on the daily. But, this information ever comes across on the “About Dr. Doofenshmirtz” web page on your practice’s website. A missed opportunity to build trust? I say yes.

The business world embraces great online employee bios because people work with people they like. After the homepage, more than half of readers click “About Us” next. Professional bios are a sales tool, and there’s a lot of evidence that they work. Our brains love a good story, and stories connect us as humans.

Patients google their doctors. And thanks to Yelp and others, patients can now rate their physicians. One of my specialists (a person I trust implicitly) has a terrible patient review online. I will admit that had I read it before seeing him, I might have made a different choice.

Then there are the complications of patient experience and reimbursement.

Build Trust with Better Bios

Bottomline: Information about your doctors is already out there on the web. You can’t control what others say. You can control what you say.

Patients want doctors they can trust. Health care communicators like myself help organizations build trust through storytelling. Your bio can tell a great story, AND…

  • Showcase the empathy and expertise with which you practice

  • Provide clues about your personality (thereby answering the question, would I like this person to be my doctor?)

  • Begin the process of building trust

Tips for Improving Physician Bios

  • Speak professionally but don’t shy away from adding specific details that people might be interested in knowing. I’m more interested in learning why my doctor chose rheumatology than where he practiced during residency.

  • Answer this question: What’s in it for me if I choose you to be my doctor?

  • Add details that make your story great. This could be something humorous or a fact that’s out of character for a person in that professional position.

  • Show why you’re passionate about your field. This could be an anecdote: “I knew I wanted to be a geriatrician when I was 8 and visited my great grandma in the nursing home.” It might be a commentary: “Caring for people as they age is the most respectful thing we can do for society.” Or it might be a personal experience: “I decided to be a geriatrician after meeting sweet Eloise during my Internal Medicine rotation…”.

  • Keep it short, sweet, and to the point. Long copy doesn’t get read, so use bullets and headers when possible. Use conversational language and have fun with it. This isn’t an academic research paper!

Need help connecting with your patients online? Let me help you go beyond what’s typical. Together we can create web copy that better expresses your dedication to outstanding patient care.

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