Battling Negative Perceptions of Health Care Through Marketing

We’re all friendly here, so let’s be candid. Today’s perceptions of the healthcare industry are heavily mixed, with some patients expressing significant distrust and dissatisfaction.

We’ve worked closely with enough healthcare providers and practice managers to know that the perceptions are not all truth. You entered the industry because you care. You want to help. Now, how do we remind patients and clients of this?

When used strategically, marketing is a tool to combat negative perceptions which sometimes get in the way of desired healthcare outcomes. Regardless of where these perceptions stem from, you have the power to correct them—or at least open patients’ minds—by showing them your truth.

Does your website, brand messaging, and digital presence help or hurt when it comes battling negative healthcare perceptions?

Addressing Fear

When fearful patients come to you, it may result in resistance, curtness, worsening of symptoms, or a host of other things—none of which enhance quality of care. Strategic messaging on your website and in patient communications can help put clients at ease before even walking through your doors.

Clear communication takes away the fear of the unknown. Patients like having an idea of what to expect, whether it’s about the process, who they are meeting, or even the environment they are walking into. Clear is kind, and it requires speaking their language. We suggest striking a balance by using limited industry terminology. Demonstrate your expertise, but lean harder into everyday language. 

Patient education, similarly, allows patients to feel informed. By providing patient education on your website and other platforms, patients become an active participant in their care. The control and autonomy eases fear and leads to higher satisfaction.

Significant proportion of patients experience fear and anxiety related to healthcare procedures and treatments. This fear can be triggered by various factors, including negative past experiences, fear of pain or discomfort, and fear of the unknown. Source: NIH 

Building Trust

Trust requires relationship building and active listening. And while this lies largely in the hands of you and your staff, strategic marketing sets you up for better success. This applies to both current and future patients.

First (and second, third, etc.) impressions often occur long before meeting face-to-face. It’s finding you on Google. It’s visiting your website. It’s setting up an appointment online or over the phone. You get the point. Strategic marketing tailors those impressions.

Mission, vision, and values tell your client what’s important to you. If they aren’t made clear, prospective patients are left to their own assumptions and perceptions. Something as simple as highlighting your values on your website lets patients know who you are and what you’re about. Are you passionate about mind-body wellness? Are you a dental practice that values both aesthetics and preventive maintenance? Define your mission, vision, and values, and then tell the world.

Authenticity is something patients look for when they are trying to get to know the real you. Crafting an authentic brand that is true to you will be your North star. And when the stars align, patients can sense it. Nothing is worse than an unmet brand promise.

Transparency, whether in pricing, procedures, or team introductions, give your patients the power of knowledge. In addition to increasing their sense of control, it addresses the power imbalance some patients feel.

Some patients express distrust that stem from factors such as lack of communication, perceived power imbalances, and concerns about conflicts of interest. Source: NIH 

Patient-Centered Care

Lastly, your branding and marketing efforts should show your patients that you are in it for them. This is a partnership, and prospective patients want to know what to expect out of the deal.

Marketing is a powerful tool that can be used to put patients at ease, gain the trust of new clients, improve relationships, and much more—all culminating into an important cycle that leads to business growth and profitability.

Stop accepting and start overcoming negative perceptions that get in the way of quality care.

We’d love to help tell your truth. Learn more about our process here.