When Physicians Won’t Be Experts


Doctors are awesome at providing important information to make content jump off the page. But, anyone who has ever created content with doctors knows that they inevitably – without meaning to- create massive bottlenecks. Either it’s impossible to get an interview, or they take their time editing the content.

Or—the worst—they act like a different kind of MD (Marketing Director) and disagree with what you’re trying to accomplish.

If this tale of woe sounds familiar, don’t worry: We’ve got you covered. There are many people within the healthcare setting who can give you the information you need to write fabulous, robust and engaging content.

Who to look for?

If your physicians won’t cooperate with your need for powerful front-line content, then you should tap these other professionals within your institution:

  • Customers: It’s inconceivable to me how little we actually ask patients how they feel about content. Sit in waiting rooms and ask them important questions, like what they need to see on the website. To recruit patients, you can ask Patient and Family Services or the patient advocacy organization. Or comb your surveys to find clues about what questions patients want your digital properties to answer.
  • Other in-house experts: What about your nurse navigators? Or your nurses? Or your techs? Or your administrators? They are on the front lines everyday with patients. Ask them about what patients want to know. Review your content with them and ask: What could we do better? What are we missing? If you’re not answering the top 5 questions patients have when they come to your digital properties, you’re missing the mark. These in-house experts who aren’t doctors will know what those questions are.
  • Existing internal content: Many times we find clients tell us they don’t have good content for a specific project. But when we ask some questions, or do an audit/discovery, we find out there’s a gold mine of information sitting inside your organization. It may need to be repurposed or rewritten to freshen it up, but you’re sitting on tons of content. Examples include: handouts at clinics, appointment letters, inpatient release forms and pamphlets in the clinic. Use those as a starting point for research or content.
  • Online forums: It’s amazing what patients will say and ask in online forums. While I’m not advocating for stalking, all of our writers know to look at condition forums in order to discover what patients want and need to know. You will be able to gather a lot of questions that your administrator or nurse practitioner can answer.
  • Social media: It’s a listener’s game out there. Do a quick and dirty audit of what people are talking about on social media regarding a subject, and you’ll find lots of information about what you need to include in your content.

Physicians typically are the best starting point for writing content. But there are plenty of other professionals inside of your organization who can help you identify the content you need to be presenting. And make sure to record those interviews—at Aha Media, we record every call with a stakeholder so our clients can use them for other marketing collateral later.

Make good choices about whose input you choose to create great content.