5 ways to empower communities with healthcare advice

5 ways to empower communities with healthcare advice

Get a second opinion. We hear that every single day in the medical community and it's sound advice in most situations. But here’s the thing: Many patients who solicit a second opinion don’t do so from another doctor or medical advisor; they seek health advice from various sources. In some cases, that secondary source’s opinion can weigh just as heavily as the doctor's initial response. That’s because while the second opinion may not come from a position of expertise, the person possessing it does have an invaluable quality — trust.

When seeking additional advice, patients may turn to family members, community organizations and even company HR departments. That means it’s just as important your messaging reaches those sources as it does the patient in question. After all, that second opinion can come from anywhere, and there's no such thing as too much good information.

Here are five ways to reach out and improve the knowledge of secondary sources:

  • Empower organizations with material. When many people have questions related to their workplace benefits, like healthcare and financial options, they turn to their employer's HR department — someone they see as the de facto provider of the plan. In the case of healthcare, that can mean that questions about the plan and benefits are being directed to HR professionals who may understand the plan in a dollars and cents way but not necessarily as it pertains to the person’s needs. Supply these departments with additional materials that offer the necessary information and talking points for conversations they may have with employees. Make these documents simple and easy to understand so busy HR teams can get the right information to the right person.
  • Present if possible. Patients may turn to their community organizations for help and insight, and these organizations can also be a useful vehicle to assist you with the delivery of your message. If you know of any organizations in your area where the opportunity to speak with several of its members would be impactful, contact the organization and ask about presenting at a meeting. Be sure to minimize your branding during your talk and offer real, helpful advice. Do so and the organization and its members will be thankful for your visit.
  • Make your materials multi-cultural. People of different cultural backgrounds are more apt to turn to secondary sources for opinions because of language and cultural barriers. Knock those barriers down by reaching out to these communities through materials written in their language and pieces that are mindful of their unique cultural and traditional ideals. This extra step will not only empower people with the proper information but also make them thankful to the company that took the extra step to help them.
  • Monitor your web presence. “Just Google it.” That’s the solution many people turn to when they have a question they can’t answer, particularly in complex industries like healthcare. Now it’s up to you to make sure that when they “Google it” they find the right information. You can’t control the entire Internet but you can put out the best content possible on your website and optimize your keyword usage to improve your web standing. That way, when people Google their health question, your site and its content will appear front and center.
  • Include everyone in the conversation. If a patient visits and they bring family members with them, include everyone in the discussion to whatever the extent the patient would like. Your time with the patient is limited and when they leave, they will seek the opinions of the family members that attended with them. It’s to your benefit if those opinions are as positive as possible.

When it comes to opinions on healthcare, patients value those of their medical professionals — but that doesn’t mean they won’t look for more. Empower the community with the information it needs to properly assist patients with their questions and you’ll ensure that second opinion is just as helpful and productive as the first. 

Meta Description: Reach patients and their support networks with these five tips. 

BlogLindsey Kuhl