As the healthcare consumer landscape continues to evolve, patients are making increasingly more decisions right within the digital environment. Putting your best foot forward online has become critical to attracting new patients and propelling both your organization and personal brand. Most medical and dental practices today recognize the importance of the usual online must-haves: a powerful website design, a comprehensive online presence, search engine optimization. But, sometimes, the simple things get overlooked.
A prime example of an often-ignored aspect of your online brand is your bio. As a physician or other healthcare provider, you need to tell people who you are and what you do. Chances are you’re already doing that on your practice website. But how effective are those bios?
Are they interesting? Clear and compelling? Do they assure patients you have the experience to meet their unique needs? Does your online bio give prospective patients a sense of your patient care philosophy or what they can expect from the patient-provider relationship?
Too often, patients find nothing more than a bulleted list of a physician’s education and training, professional organization memberships, and published research. Nothing about the doctor’s approach, specialty or subspecialty focus, and even some personal flavor.
Patients want to know more, and when they find a provider bio that aligns with what they’re looking for, they’re much more likely to move forward with booking an appointment.
The power of the online biography for healthcare professionals
When patients search online to find nearby medical care, the process is simple. They just want answers to their questions, ideally presented by a healthcare practitioner who is a good match for their needs.
Prospective patients will naturally evaluate the practices they encounter online, but they also narrow their search down to the provider level. They want to find a doctor who can deliver the care they need, with whom they feel they can connect with on a personal level. If they can gain that confidence online, even before an in-person visit, they are likely to choose that provider for an appointment.
That’s the connection your bios can make after a patient finds your website. But, your online provider biographies also help that person find your practice’s website in the first place. The information within your provider bios can play an important role in your search engine optimization, demonstrating to the search engine giants like Google that your providers are worthy of patients’ attention.
By using keywords that align with the terms patients use when searching for your specialty, online bios can help increase the chances that your website, practice, and providers rank well on search engine results pages (SERPs).
Checklist: Must-haves for an optimized online healthcare provider bio
Your bio has to be more than just an online curriculum vitae. Today’s savvy healthcare consumers are putting in the time and effort to find the right medical provider — and know they have options.
Just as your Google business profile brings your practice to life (see our expert Google My Business guidance), a well-crafted bio helps prospective patients get to know you. It can affirm that you’re the provider they want to entrust with their health.
When done right, physician and provider bios can set your practice apart from the competition, and contribute to new patient acquisition. How can
your provider bios make a memorable impact, and convert more new patients? Here’s what you need, from our online bio checklist:
- A professional headshot photo with a warm, friendly smile. Ensure providers are wearing either a white coat, scrubs, or professional attire, and are looking directly into the camera. Avoid busy backgrounds or low-resolution photos taken with a cell phone — this is one instance where investing in a professional photographer is well worth it.
- Clinical interests and areas of specialization quickly tell patients you have the expertise to meet their needs. For instance, if you’re a primary care doctor with an affinity for helping patients control diabetes or hypertension, mention that. Be as specific as you can. Highlighting any unique procedures you perform (especially if you’re the only practitioner in your area doing so) or rare conditions you treat. This will also help prospective patients searching for these services find and connect with you.
- Education, board certifications, fellowships, and years of experience establish your credibility and help patients identify a good provider match. Some patients prefer a younger doctor on the edge of innovation; others prefer a seasoned professional with decades of experience. Featuring this information will help savvy searchers find the provider they feel is the right fit.
- Awards and published research offer third-party validation that you’re an exceptional provider. Published research can affirm your expertise in niche clinical areas, while awards can highlight your positive reputation. Both lend credibility and a level of achievement to your and your practice.
- Healthcare system affiliations, when applicable, can often play a part in patients’ decision-making; many patients either are loyal to a certain health system or hospital, or have to make choices based on which locations are in-network with their managed care plan.
- A patient care philosophy statement helps readers understand how you like to work with patients, and can give a sense of your personality and patient care style. Describing your approach to care gives you an opportunity to let patients know you’re a good listener — important because 67 percent of patients report this as what they want most in a healthcare provider. You may also want to include information on your hobbies, interests, and family, all which help prospective patients feel like they’re getting to know you. Most important, these statements often cut through the rest of the bio, breaking up what can sometimes feel clinical and formulaic.
- Patient reviews or testimonials featured on your bio page confirm that current patients think you’re a great healthcare provider, and give prospective patients confidence they’ll be satisfied with an experience at your practice. According to the PatientPop 2021 patient perspective survey report, 74 percent of patients find online reviews very or extremely important when deciding on a provider.
- A link to online scheduling directly from your bio page can make it fast and easy for website visitors to become new patients by scheduling an appointment online. This is one of five key interactions that patients prefer as digital offerings when connecting with a healthcare practice (in addition to asking questions, paying their bill, accessing their healthcare record, or filling out paperwork). With research showing 7 out of 10 patients willing to switch doctors for a better or more convenient experience, these modern conveniences can also support patient retention.
If you have the resources, you may also want to consider using video to allow patients to hear from you firsthand. Remember, however, that even though video is a powerful medium, and video bios are increasing in popularity, it’s important to maintain a well-written bio as well. Not everyone will choose to watch a video, and written content is necessary to support your search engine optimization efforts and improve the odds that your website will be found during an online search.
The bottom line: Optimized provider bios can contribute to practice success
To sum it up, in today’s increasingly competitive healthcare landscape, practices that focus on optimizing their healthcare provider biographies can stand out among the crowd. Professional physician bios demonstrate that your practice has a top-notch team, while giving prospective patients the information they need to choose one of your providers and visit your practice.