Finding the Right Surgeon: A Firsthand Patient Experience

Deciding on content for your website can be tricky. You know the basics that you should provide (your CV, a basic list of services you offer, etc.), but you could be missing out opportunities by not including relevant information that the patient wants to see.

We’ve advised practices on website content for nearly 15 years now, but a recent experience puts the discussion in an entirely new light.

Scott Zeitzer, the company president of Mudbug Media (a.k.a. my boss), needed to get a surgical procedure done recently. Since I’m writing this post and he’s not, I’ll give you a bit of insight into Mr. Zeitzer. Scott has a masters in Biomedical Engineering and spent some time working in college as an EMT. Following graduation, he worked in sales with orthopedic and neurosurgeons for a large medical device company for several years.

All that to say, Scott knew what he was looking for, and he had a rather thorough checklist in finding the right doctor.

Scott started by asking trusted advisors who they’d recommend. Once a small number of doctors were selected, the checklist began in earnest.

  • Is the doctor local?
  • Does the doctor know about my specific procedure?
  • How many procedures has the doctor performed?
  • Does the doctor do anything unique during or after surgery?
  • How soon can I be active again?

However, this checklist did not include a question about where the doctor went to school — even though every “about” page listed off the information.

When it came time for his procedure, Scott just wanted to know how long it would take to get back to normal and what separated each doctor from the rest.

Your Patients Aren’t That Different

Not all of your patients will have a long checklist to help select a doctor, but some of them definitely will.

Are you answering their questions on your website? People will still want to call in to get more detail, but you can help patients want to talk with you more by being thorough. You’ll need to communicate with as little jargon as possible to be clear, but you can still drop in the names of your specific procedures and your approaches.

Here are the pieces of information you need to be sure to cover:

  • What does the patient need to know for pre-, intra-, and post-operative stages? How can they prepare?
  • What makes your practice different than the rest? Why does this help your patients? – You choose specific procedures over others because of the available benefits. Make sure your patients understand.

In effect, your website needs to convey one simple idea: “Trust me, I’m experienced enough to handle this.” That may mean that you list how many surgeries you performed in the past year, or you discuss your recent fellowship-training.

Selection Made

To talk about Scott for a minute more, he found a doctor that could help. This physician specifically stressed the recovery aspect of Scott’s condition, one of Scott’s key concerns. They booked the procedure, and Scott is back in the office once more.

Being in the patient’s seat was an enlightening experience, and these lessons benefit both the practice and the patient. By better informing patients, practices can attract the folks that truly want what they have to offer. In Scott’s case, it was just a matter of being able to identify a specific piece of information about each practice that could help him make the decision.

Similarly, patients benefit from practices that go out of their way to communicate effectively.

Where to Start

What questions are you getting from patients right now that you can answer on your website?