5 keys to making your healthcare content connect with patients

Updated: Apr 20, 2020

Healthcare content creation takes time to plan, research and write. To be effective it needs to connect with your audience, consequently, you need to know what your audience is looking for when.

If your content is aimed at patients, it is not enough to just put the medical-ese into lay language, you need to know who they are, young or old, diagnosed, or searching for a diagnosis. In general patients are looking for information and education.

Patients who are experiencing an ailment are looking for symptom information, patients who have been diagnosed are looking for education about their illness, treatment options and potential side effects. Patients with a chronic disease are looking for better ways to cope with symptoms, and better ways of living with their disease.

Patients will go through some version of decision-making regardless of the condition that involves gathering relevant information, identifying alternatives, judging the evidence, choosing and taking action.

You can use keyword planners to get an idea of how your patient audience might be searching, but even Google advises that you don’t try to anticipate actual search queries. Connecting with patients is more about understanding the patient experience and anticipating their needs at different phases of the decision-making process.

Here are five keys to creating healthcare content that connects with patients:

1) Put a face on condition or ailment. Telling the story of a person who has condition x,y or z and how they found out, or what they went through and coped with it is the quickest way for people to connect with your content. Finding someone like themselves makes the medical information understandable and relatable.

2) If they are at the information search stage, ask the questions patients ask at the same point they are on their disease course. If they are still searching for a cause of their symptoms, give them the questions to ask their caregivers. If they have just been diagnosed, they are likely asking what are the odds? Patients almost always want to know how common their ailment is and what are the chances of a cure before they want to know about treatments.

3) If they are in the treatment decision phase, provide the education about the disease course, explain the rationale, risks, benefits and evidence supporting the appropriate treatment options.

4) Don’t dumb down the medical language. Instead, use the language their caregiver is likely to use and explain what those terms mean. Most patients want to be educated not instructed.

5) Hope vs. reality is always a difficult subject to broach. Patients want to hope for a cure, but if that is not in the cards, they also don’t want to be given false hope. They prefer to be educated about the quality of life considerations they are facing. If treatment A gives them the best chance of longer survival they also need to know that the extended survival is likely to be spent coping with side effects and complications, if they are to be truly able to make the best decision for themselves.

If you are looking for healthcare content that connects with your patients, Medical Digest Publications has been providing the information and education that connects with patients and supports patient decision-making for more than 20 years. For more information, contact us at 206 499-3479 or at info@meddigestpublications.com.