Note: This article was originally published on TacitKey. Please view it here: Doctors as thought leaders
Today, doctors who work in public health care institutions have just as many patients as private practitioners. Nevertheless, they still have to market themselves to new patients. Today’s patients are well educated and able to make informed health care decisions.
Any person looking for a physician in an area would first go through web reviews on platforms like Practo, Yelp, and Doctor on Demand etc., before booking an appointment with one. These days, patients seek health care professionals who are experts in a particular area or, simply put, thought leaders. Therefore, doctors who establish thought leadership and have a good reputation are likely to thrive.
Doctors can be great thought leaders or Key Opinion Leaders (KOL)
It takes many years of study and residency to become a licensed physician, so doctors are already experts and leaders in the making. Most successful hospitals and health care centers have influential thought leaders belonging to different fields of medicine. These physicians have several years of successful medical practice to their credit. They serve as role models to upcoming medical practitioners and guide their subordinates every step of the way.
Furthermore, they involve themselves in research and experiments with cutting-edge technology to improve treatment facilities for patients or find new cures. Such thought leaders become advisors of medical boards and international authorizing bodies. The press often interviews and quotes them. They are invited as guest speakers to conferences and seminars. These medical thought leaders are respected by their peers and sought after by health care companies. Resultantly, they achieve growth, success, and a splendid public image.
Here are a few neat justifications for doctors to consider thought leadership:
You Build Your Credibility and Reputation
According to Doctor.com’s survey in 2018, “‘Customer Experience Trends in Health care’, about 81 percent of patients will read reviews about a provider even after they have been referred.”
As a doctor, if you have a website for yourself, your clinic, or your hospital, you also need your patients to locate your website easily. It is advisable to create a habit of writing articles, white papers, case studies, blogs, videos, and research papers to submit online. Search engines can then link all your work back to your website.
The more work you post online, the more likely is for your name to show up on top of Google’s search pages. Most patients find health care providers listed on the first page of Google’s search results as popular and credible. Thus, thought leadership can optimize search results and build a healthy name for you and your website.
The more information you publish online, the more your web presence increases. People get an idea of your skill set and experience; this builds credibility for your practice. When you have positive reviews online, potential patients find you credible, and they trust you with their health.
With a strong web presence and a handful of positive reviews, not only can you earn a good reputation locally but also expand your national and international standing eventually. With a strong, positive image, you will start attracting new patients to your clinic or hospital.
You Have a Competitive Marketing Strategy
If your competitors in the industry are establishing thought leadership online, it gives them an advantage over you. At this point, it becomes necessary for you to differentiate yourself and have a distinct identity by establishing yourself as a thought leader. Patients feel secure with a doctor they know—online or otherwise.
Web and social media presence help doctors to get that publicity. New patients do their research online and seek references from friends, acquaintances, and neighbors who know about well-known doctors in the area. That is where marketing ‘you’ as an expert helps.
Some patients also look for doctors who specialize in a particular field of medicine such as cardiology, gastroenterology, or oncology. In such cases, you can gain credibility as a specialist if you have published online resources that display your expertise in a particular field of medicine.
On account of thought leadership, the patient comes to you with certain expectations. If your treatment is as good as it claims to be, you will have patients who decide to come back for any future consultation. Moreover, they are likely to refer you to their relatives and friends as well. Therefore, we could say that establishing thought leadership is important for reputation management, marketing, and business development.
You become an Influencer
Before the world became digital, thought leaders used to publish their articles on newspapers, medical journals, and scientific magazines. They used to present their papers and hold workshops at conferences, seminars, and other events. Doctors predominantly affiliated themselves to one institution or another.
Their seniority in the field decided whether they were good enough to present papers at professional meetings. Those who were constantly experimenting in the lab and inventing breakthrough treatment solutions were always recognized and awarded for their contributions to medicine. However, that is no longer the sole determinant of a physician’s reputation.
Over the years, things have changed. Apart from the traditional methods, most thought leaders have a digital footprint. Going digital is also quicker compared to the traditional approaches of becoming a thought leader. Doctors around the world are gathering online for webinars, networking, and focus group discussions. As the digital landscape is constantly in flux, new marketing strategies determine your professional status.
Once you establish yourself as a thought leader in a particular niche, you acquire an influencer status where the public tells you that your opinions and thoughts are valuable. You become a Key Opinion Leader (KOL) in that niche, so you can talk about innovations, medicines, technology, and treatment methods that would have a significant impact on the world.
You may even become a spokesperson for national and global health organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), or Doctors without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres).
Hereafter, we can expect regular doctors to become influencers not only due to their networks and connections but also because of their opinions, thoughts, novel ideas, research, and experiments.
You Develop Your Business
It is common for you, as a doctor, to establish a local reputation and have you compared with other doctors in the area, or the ones who are in similar ranks. However, extending your public persona to a macro level through thought leadership helps you get national and international recognition apart from business leads. Your patient base also surpasses national boundaries.
If you plan to start a healthcare organization, becoming a thought leader is the first step. Of late, social media platforms are nurturing new thought leaders. Doctors are seeking exclusive industry information and conversing about it on social media and other knowledge sharing platforms.
When you become an influencer, brands want you to endorse them, and they pay you for it. However, your audience would depend on you to make purchase decisions for them, so it is important that you choose wisely.
TacitKey is one such knowledge publishing and monetization platform that nurtures professionals to become healthcare thought leaders. Physicians of every rung publish their knowledge and expertise on the platform to build their professional brand value. They also earn money and reputation in the process when businesses and organizations endorse their valuable content.
These professionals can also earn by participating in exclusive focus-group surveys or by hosting webinars, courses, and conferences. Their visibility increases enabling top-level healthcare organizations to witness their expertise and collaborate with them for future research and projects.
Since digital marketing has been flourishing for a decade now, health care institutions are increasingly using their physicians for improving brand presence. For this reason, medical professionals are establishing thought leadership to market the organizations they work for.
This group may include professionals such as physicians, engineers, paraprofessionals, students, researchers, or technicians that have professional content to share. It is safe to say that doctors will be the most desired professionals as thought leaders as they can not only market the organization but also new drugs and medicines, treatment procedures, technology, and health care products. Moreover, a doctor’s verdict is highly relied upon.
Health organizations are smart enough to create conversations among health care professionals and their potential audience. These organizations are able to create the necessary buzz for brand presence, so potential patients choose their services and treatments. As a physician, you can command the respect of your peers, superiors, and subordinates by being the spokesperson of an institution.
Any physician with expertise, regardless of his or her sphere of influence or connections, can create an audience. New physicians have the advantage of various social media and web platforms to establish their thought leadership gradually.