Physician bios are one of the most common entry points for patients and a crucial part of any physician marketing strategy. For many people, it’s one of the first resources they look to when trying to find a new primary care physician, specialist or care facility.

Regardless of age or generation, most people these days look to the internet when trying to find a new provider. In a survey published by Yext in 2017, 76% of consumers surveyed said they go online to find an individual provider, as opposed to a hospital or clinic.

Providers understand the importance of physician bios, too — a survey done by Kyruus showed that 90% of providers believe a high-quality “find a provider” profile is important for attracting new patients.

With years of experience crafting provider profiles for our clients, the WriterGirl team is no stranger to physician bio projects. We tapped a few of our client services managers to share their best practices for which elements to include in your profile pages.

1. An updated headshot

It may seem like a no-brainer, but many hospitals and health systems have physician directories that are filled with blank filler photos instead of engaging headshots.

As one of the first interactions with your organization, make a good impression with updated headshots for each of your physicians. Having a welcoming, smiling face on the profile is more likely to engage a patient.

Physician's online biography

2. Patient reviews

Reviews have become commonplace in consumers’ lives today. Before choosing any service, whether it’s a restaurant or an urgent care clinic, most people make a stop on a site like Yelp or TripAdvisor. Consider these stats:

  • In a survey done by Software Advice earlier this year, 94% of patients said they use online reviews to evaluate physicians.
  • According to Kyruus, more than 60% of providers think ratings or reviews on physician bios are important.

Despite the provider support, the Kyruus survey also showed that physicians are concerned about the accuracy of the reviews on their bio pages. To help with this, many health systems (like the University of Utah) post ratings based on an internal review system.

While public review sites are open to everyone, having an internal review system through your patient portal guarantees that only patients who have been in your care can review your physicians.

 

Duke Health provider directory

The Duke Health find a provider page includes reviews in the search results.

3. The physician’s personal story

In many cases, doctor profile directories are set up to pull in certain information automatically, such as the doctor’s education background and publications. Since this information is usually standard in a physician bio, why not take an opportunity to showcase more of the physician’s personal side?

A written narrative can help tie in the doctor’s personality and bring the profile to life. Try including details like:

  • Hobbies
  • Kids, family or spouse
  • Where they live or where they grew up
  • Why they became a doctor

This information is more likely to connect with a potential patient — the patients see the doctor as a real person, rather than just a name and credentials on a website.

Some organizations include the personal story in the form of a video profile, which is another excellent way to connect with patients. However, producing doctor profile videos isn’t a simple task, so consider what’s best for your team, timeline and budget.

4. The physician’s care philosophy

Like the personal story, including the physician’s care philosophy is another way to engage potential patients. In fact, it could be a piece of the profile that finally pushes someone toward making an appointment.

On the public physician review site HealthGrades, having a care philosophy was shown to convert users to engaging with a physician, transitioning from a healthcare “shopper” to a patient.

Boston Children’s Hospital, for example, includes the physician’s care philosophy written in first-person. Whether you choose to write the profile in first or third person is entirely up to your team and your organization’s overall style (we don’t have data on whether that affects a patient’s decision — yet).

Boston Children’s Hospital physician bios

Boston Children’s Hospital includes a first-person care philosophy for each doctor.

5. SEO-friendly content

While you want your physician bio content to engage patients, you also need to make sure those patients can find your physician bios. That’s where SEO comes in.

Just like any other webpage or blog post, your physician bios need to be optimized for search, as well. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Ensure your page titles and meta descriptions are unique for every profile, and try to include the physician’s name, location and specialty.
  • Check that search engines can crawl your profile pages, you can do this by scanning your robots.txt file.
  • Make sure you include all condition names (both lay terms and clinical terms) that may be relevant to that provider.
  • Monitor page speed (here’s a free tool) by optimizing your CSS and JavaScript and making sure your image sizes are not too large.
  • Use a search-friendly URL structure, which means keeping it simple (yourhospital.org/physicians/dr-waldo-greyman).

You can check out these other general SEO tips or read through some great advice from NRC Health and Geonetric on how to optimize your profile pages.

Final thoughts: Balancing provider expectations with patient preferences

It’s important to note one of the biggest challenges with crafting physician bios: finding a balance between provider expectations and patient needs.

How to work with providers on physician bio projects is a whole other topic and blog post in itself (stay tuned!), but it’s crucial to keep every stakeholder in mind.

According to Kyruus, 56% of providers said the top reason for having a high-quality doctor profile page is to showcase academic research, publications and experience.

While this information may be a must-have for physicians, is it a priority for patients? For some, yes, but many patients are likely to look for elements like care philosophy, a personal story and reviews. Try to keep this balance in mind when crafting your strategy for a physician directory.

Physician bio writing support — lean on us

You understand the value of physician bios, but revamping a doctor profile directory can be a massive undertaking. Luckily, WriterGirl is well-equipped to manage the project from start to finish, including a communication plan, interviews, writing, coordinating approvals and more. Drop us a line anytime to learn more.