Patient Education: Providing Accurate Education that Circumvents “Internet Research”
Being in the medical website design business, we talk to A LOT of different doctors and health care providers across a wide range of specialties. It’s actually quite fascinating on multiple levels. You see, in addition to fulfilling a need, a big part of our job entails problem solving. And in order to effectively help doctors solve their problems and meet their online needs, we end up asking a ton of questions and listening to the various issues they face within their specific specialty. Interestingly enough, across the board (and regardless of medical specialty or subset specialty), we hear one common grievance again and again: patients are often diagnosing themselves and forming conclusions based on their internet research. Most of the doctors that have voiced this frustration to us feel like they are competing with Google when it comes to their patient’s education. And as one doctor recently said to us: “A lot of the information and ‘education’ on the internet isn’t even accurate or is outdated and just freaks my patients out. So by the time they come in to see me for a follow-up, they’re convinced that they’re in a disease state much worse than the reality.” And the thing is…we get it. Most of us are probably guilty of researching a random condition or symptom at some point or reading a blog and taking it for fact. Let’s face it: Google has the uncanny ability of making even the most normal human into a raving hypochondriac. You can see where health care providers would get frustrated and perhaps not a little annoyed.
At Medical Site Solutions, we pride ourselves on offering our doctor and physician clients access to some of the best patient education resources available. Our website packages can come with the inclusion of a health library specific to your medical specialty, patient education videos, and even waiting room TV videos. You may also choose to provide your own education by writing original content. Many health care providers choose this route because they want their patients to get descriptions of disease states and practice specific surgery (or procedure) information directly from the horse’s mouth. You, the doctor are able to educate your patients based on YOUR practice and knowledge. And bonus: because you are creating original and unique content when you go this route, you’re giving your website’s SEO a boost!! A total WIN WIN if we do say so ourselves!
Unfortunately, no health care provider can definitively stop their patients for researching medical issues on the internet. However, by providing as much of your own patient education via your medical website, you can help circumvent much of the misinformation and outdated “education” that patients are embracing these days. Directing patients specifically to your website for patient education resources (whether it be a Health Library, online Videos, or your original content) could save you a ton of time, energy, and frustration. Think about every time you hear this at a patient appointment: “But I read on the internet that…” That inevitably leads to a lengthy discussion where you, the doctor, must disprove or debate already formulated conclusions formed by your patient. This leads to longer appointment times spent with patients, patients who are convinced they know more about the situation than they actually do, and a frustrated physician who has tight schedule as it is. And let’s face it, time is money. The great news is we’re here to help. Let us help you efficiently and effectively provide streamlined education to your patients. Contact us today to find out how we can help you enhance your online patient education.
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