With plastic surgery on the rise, it’s now more important than ever for patients to have the ability to connect with their doctors. In the past, it was common for patients to choose a doctor based on word-of-mouth, or perhaps even the Yellow Pages of the phonebook. But, the times they are a-changin’. Surgeons, who arguably have to market their services more than other kinds of physicians, have continued to enhance the way they communicate with their patients. For doctors in this specialty, it’s essential to utilize digital media, which benefits both the surgeon and patient. Providing 24/7 access to a practice through interactive websites, blogs, and social media makes it easier than ever to engage in the online and offline worlds.
In recent years, digital platforms have given patients and doctors a level of accessibility that they didn’t have previously. Half of U.S. plastic surgeons are regularly using social media for their professional practices, according to a study by Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. Many of these surgeons adopted these platforms as marketing tools, but also find them very useful forums for patient education. About one-third of the surgeons in this study reported positive outcomes from using social media due to its effective and low-cost means of advertising, in addition to its ability to increase the exposure of their practices. About half of these surgeons believed that engaging in social media led to increased patient referrals and positive feedback.
Doctors are also utilizing blogs as additional outlet to reach out to patients in an informative way. Blogging is important for a number of reasons, including granting access to medical information and procedural knowledge to the public. This platform has the ability to create a sense of community between a doctor and patients by encouraging further interaction. Whether it is strictly used to educate or it’s geared more toward sharing information, photos, and specials, blogs are a very useful resource for patients and doctors alike.
A blog can also be an effective adjunct to a doctor’s website. For example, Dr. Vincent Lepore, who practices plastic surgery in a very competitive market – Palo Alto, California – leverages his blog to provide up-to-the-minute information that supplements his website. Many surgeons, such as Dr. Lepore, link their blogs to their websites for an even more comprehensive user experience. In addition, many potential patients will turn to online resources in search of answers, so incorporating one or more FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) pages is a huge step in the right direction for surgeons. Let’s face it: people want the facts. Not only do they want the facts, they want them in bite-size Q&A chunks, and with access to an online world, this option is more attainable than ever.
Incorporating each of these factors has revolutionized the way that we can connect with the medical world. More and more surgeons are adopting these means of communication, allowing them to be more visible and available online.
So what is the biggest takeaway from all of this? Thanks to these digital channels, patients have the ability to really get to know doctors while educating themselves about procedures before making critical choices about personal surgeries. Prospective patients should be sure to do thorough research because the information is out there. And surgeons, whether they like it or not, have to embrace these communication tools—because their competitors have embraced social plastic surgery.