Maintaining a blog for your medical practice is an excellent way to promote yourself, connect with patients, and further establish your authority. It will also give you more content to share on social media (Referral MD has an excellent post here about the impact of social media on health care.)
When it comes to blog posts for doctors, what topics can work well? From my extensive experience providing posts for medical blogs, I recommend the following 11 types:
1) Discussing new research in your field
People like reading about new research findings, especially if it’s relevant to them. Discuss a new drug or breakthrough surgical procedure. Analyze new findings on healthy lifestyle habits. You can combat misleading news coverage by offering your own interpretation of research results and pointing out a study’s strengths and flaws.
2) Highlighting unique procedures at your practice
What are you best at as a doctor? Are you pioneering any new medical procedure or treatment? Highlight what makes your medical practice unique.
3) Making medicine less mystifying
“The finger bone’s connected to the hand bone. The hand bone’s connected to the wrist bone…”
Break medical procedures down into steps, explain basic biological processes, and help patients understand the importance of certain treatments.
(You don’t have to organize a “Dem Bones” sing-a-long in your waiting room.)
4) Debunking myths
Myths range from vaccines causing autism to ‘coitus interruptus’ as a foolproof STD and pregnancy prevention technique.
Discuss the myths and whether they’re wholly or partially incorrect. Provide evidence and start a lively discussion. You can include a “Quack Alert” feature pointing out harmful or useless medical advice from celebrities (including popular celebrity doctors hawking fat-busting miracle berries and other dubious products).
5) Promoting health awareness
Patients welcome diet and exercise advice. Tailor these to your practice. A dermatologist, for example, can focus on skin health and beauty advice, while an endocrinologist can discuss the effects of a healthy lifestyle on hormone levels.
Furthermore, make it a point to announce health-related events in your community; these include charity runs and health fairs.
6) Advising people on how to prepare for [medical procedure that fills them with terror]
It doesn’t have to be a painful procedure. Take MRIs, for instance. The idea of sliding into a narrow, noisy tube invokes anxiety in many people and panic in some.
People welcome web content that gives them specific advice for what to expect and how to prepare. What should they do before a procedure or treatment? How can they cope with it as it’s happening? And what can they expect afterwards?
7) Offering stress management tips
Excess stress leads to and exacerbates a variety of medical conditions. (An article from WebMD asserts that most doctor’s visits stem from “stress-related ailments and complaints.”) Stress can also slow down the progress of medical treatments.
What stress management advice can you give patients? What insights can you offer more generally about people’s psychological well-being?
8) Sharing stories
Doing this requires extra caution so as not to violate anyone’s privacy and break the law. Change names and details, or come up with fictional characters (with a disclaimer that they aren’t based on any one person). Share narratives about symptom detection, treatment efficacy and life-saving interventions.
9) Posting polls
Medical situations can make people feel helpless. When you can, give them a choice – even with something relatively minor, like the type of reading material you offer in your waiting room.
In addition to polls, solicit feedback from patients with the aim of improving their experience at your practice.
10) Evaluating digital developments
How have digital advances changed the way you practice medicine? You can discuss anything from favorite health apps to 3D printing and prostheses.
11) Allowing yourself to be human
Share some (tasteful) humor. Open up a little about life as a doctor; for instance, post an entertaining medical school anecdote or a non-medical life lesson you’ve learned from your work. Talk about how you juggle various professional duties.
Blogging and using social media as a doctor has its risks. Use good judgment and make sure you’re familiar with professional guidelines, particularly those laid out by the American Medical Association.
Furthermore, don’t hesitate to hire an experienced writer who can revive your blog with entertaining, well-researched content.