Doctor Reputation

How to Boost PR as a Doctor

How to Boost PR as a Doctor

The image of doctors has gone downhill in recent years. This is due to a number of things such as bad portrayal in movies and the media only focusing on doctors who have created mistakes rather than the ones making a huge positive impact. There’s also the portrayal that doctors are only interested in money and that all they do is play golf. These are reasons the image of physicians all over the world, not just in the U.S, has taken a hit. That’s why doctors need to focus on public relations and marketing techniques in order to reach out to their communities and show people that they can be trusted and that they want to make a difference.

Public relations won’t cost you much as a doctor, but the money you spend you’ll end up getting it back on the long run as people see you in a different light and start to trust you and your practice. Now that we live in the era of the internet it’s also easier to change the image people have of you. You’re also capable of reaching a much larger audience in a shorter period of time and for less money too. Besides the internet you can also use local media, the community, universal health events, and hospital relationships to your advantage.

Nurses have launched an extensive public relations campaign that has led to 80% of the public trusting and having faith in nurses while only 65% of the public showing the same faith in physicians. Certainly being a doctor and the image that comes with it isn’t the way that it used to be and physicians could learn from the campaign launched by nurses on how to bring back that trust. People need to realize that doctors are definitely better trained than nurses. A nurse practitioner will have about 1.5 to 3 years of training or 500-1,000 clinical hours after college while family doctors will work over 5,000 hours in medical school in addition to another 10,000 hours during residency. This number is of course even higher in other specialties. So the public need to understand that physicians are in no way less prepared to deal with patients than nurses. If the problem the public faces is that they believe most doctors are callous and lack proper bedside manner then they should also be corrected because most doctors are very passionate and caring when it comes to their patients.

Now one of the ways doctors can use public relations to their advantage is by utilizing the local media. It’s understandable the PR for doctors is something a lot of physicians are unaccustomed to, but it’s necessary and won’t take much time. A doctor could seek interviews on local tv channels/programs and even radio stations. This will get their name out there through the local media and will show people that they genuinely care about helping others. During these shows a doctor could talk about preventing certain diseases, healthy lifestyle tips, and common conditions such as diabetes. It would be great if a doctor could even make this a regular thing and appear on a radio program a couple of times per month for instance. Another use of the local media is the printed media. It’s possible to have a regular column in a local magazine or newspaper where you discuss medical issues relevant to your community. Allowing room for receiving questions from viewers or listeners of your show and answering these questions on the air would do wonders for your image. You could also post a way for them to send you these questions so you can answer some of them via your column in the local newspaper or magazine.

Gatherings in your local community are another opportunity that shouldn’t be wasted. Use these in order to talk to a large group of people in your community. For instance you can talk at a factory, an elderly care center, or even at a school. If you’re a pediatrician then a school gathering for any reason would be an excellent opportunity for you to speak especially if parents are going to be attending that gathering.; after all the parents will be the ones making the decision to bring their children to your office. Using your connections with the media and getting them to cover these events whether through television, radio, or even print will boost your image and help you reach those who weren’t at the gathering. It may also reach national news which you wouldn’t say no to obviously.

We’ve all heard of “world diabetes day” or “breast cancer awareness day,” but doctors don’t really take enough of an advantage of these situations. Perhaps you should organize an event in your city in order to publicize these days and send an important message regarding these diseases. If there already will be events then you should definitely be there adding to them and leaving your mark. They may also be the focus of your talk during your weekly radio show appearance for example or on your weekly column in the local newspaper. These days are all about sending a message to the people. Telling them that diabetes is a serious disease that needs to be managed and monitored or teaching females the importance of breast self examination and how to perform it. You’re really giving them information that they may not know; information that may save their lives despite of how simple it is.

The internet is one of your biggest allies too. You can mostly use it to your advantage and for free so not relying on the internet for public relations would be a huge waste of potential. One of the ways the internet can help is if you create a social media page where you post vital and simple medical information for the public that can be viewed and shared by members of your community. You’re giving them a valuable service for free and it really won’t cost you anything at all as a post will only take you a few minutes to write. You could also add a link to your page in your printed articles and vice versa.

Doctors in general as a community should also use the internet to boost their reputation because when the internet talks about doctors it talks about bad handwritings and doctors who make mistakes. How often do we see an article about warm and affectionate doctors who save lives and inspire us all? I can’t ever remember seeing one of those.

Finally, let your local hospital know that you’re available if they need a physician to speak to the media. If you’re going to do this, however; then make sure that you’re a great public speaker and very presentable because the last thing you want to do is hurt the image of doctors by saying the wrong things. You’ll need to choose your words carefully and it’ll be best if you have what you’re going to say prepared beforehand. Also make sure you’re very well informed on the topic. Seeming lost or out of depth will do more damage to your practice than it will to doctors in general.

The days where doctors were the most inspiring people in a community aren’t that long gone and can certainly be restored. People still have a lot of respect for doctors, but it’s true that the profession has lost a lot of its allure. We need to bring that back. The methods mentioned above are very useful, but more importantly it’s important for each doctor to be the best they can be and take care of their patients in the best way possible. A patient can always tell whether or not a doctor cares about them and there’s no one they’ll love and be more grateful to than a physician who has their best interests at heart.