It’s one of our most challenging jobs: How do we capture the essence of a treating physician while conveying expertise, experience and most of all trust?
At Aha Media, we’ve been writing physician bios for almost 20 years now. So we polled our writers to better understand their approach to these projects.
The overwhelming theme?
The importance of humanizing your doctors when writing bios. But how?
Updated December 2022
5 Tips That Will Transform Your Physician Bios
Here are 5 tips from our writers about writing great bios:
1. Emotions rule when choosing a doctor: Our research shows patients are more likely to make appointments with doctors who show similar morals and values through empathy. When it comes to choosing a doctor, emotional needs play as much of a role as rational thought, if not more. To be successful, online profiles need to convey warmth and character, while also trumpeting a doctor’s background and expertise. (Jill Paradiso)
2. Connect with consumers by using a short video: 50% of people seek out photos or videos of doctors before making an appointment. Video is a great method for getting beyond profile basics and letting a doctor’s personality shine. Another plus is that video thumbnails are shown for 26% of Google search results.
3. Showcase expertise: These are the three details people care about the most, according to our research:
- Does this doctor have experience treating my condition? (Men care about this the most.)
- Does the doctor have a distinguished educational background and proper credentials?
- Does this doctor accept my insurance carrier? (Women value this the most.)
Not only should each physician have a page listing their credentials and a phone number, but there should also be a short bio telling visitors a little more—different schools the doctor attended, fields of interest, important publications. Write the bio in third person, or try first person like the ones at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Also consider using tabs to divide the bio into areas that different user audiences may find interesting. For example, researchers might want to see a long list of publications, while patients may be more interested in research interests. See Mass General’s doctor lists for an example. For many of their doctors, you can quickly scan the tabs and then jump to the area that interests you most. (Gila Rose)
4. Frame it as a story: When I interview doctors, I always try to include personal details that are related to why they do what they do. It might be nice for patients to know what hobbies their doctor enjoys or if their doctor has a dog. But keep in mind that those details aren’t always appropriate or helpful (depending on how the bio will be used).
Instead of just asking, “Why did you become a doctor?” or “Why did you choose XX specialty?” I reframe the question as: “Tell me about the moment you chose to become a doctor.” You have a better chance of getting a good story or a real heartfelt answer (versus the pat answer they often have rehearsed or said a million times before). I also ask: “What do you love about your job?” and “What do you want people to understand about the way you practice medicine?” (Judi Ketteler)
5. Tie the bio to a patient testimonial: 1 out of every 5 purchases made on amazon.com is because of a customer review. When you’re writing physician bios, make sure you tag them to patient stories and testimonials. Nothing says, “Choose this doctor!” like a recommendation from another patient. (Jena Triggs)
We’re always looking for great examples of physician bios or more tips for writing bios, so send us any that come your way. You can email them to us.