Making sure your patients get the news

What do YOUR patients read while they wait for you?

In the last few months, several important health stories have been reported, including news about Tylenol being linked to asthma in kids, the dangers of OTC weight loss drugs, the banning of flu shots in several countries, how antibiotics can destroy “good” bacteria for years, and why exercise programs shouldn’t be “do-it-yourself” projects.

All of this information is of importance to your patients – yet how many of you thought to print the stories and leave copies in the waiting room or include them in your newsletters?

While there are many excuses why doctors fail to do these things, ALL of the objections can be easily overcome. Here are a few of the reasons I hear most often:

1) I don’t want to violate copyright laws.

That’s a valid consideration, especially since most people are so protective of their “intellectual property.” And it DOES take time and skill to rewrite articles so you don’t violate copyright. One solution is to download the articles you find on sites like Health Watch, Wellness for Mind and Body, The Chiropractic Journal… even my personal blog, which contains a wide variety of health-related posts. All of these sites allow their copyrighted material to be reprinted and distributed freely. The only restriction is that you include a credit line (i.e., “reprinted from Health Watch”) along with the URL. You don’t have to do ANY rewriting. A quick cut and paste and the material is ready for you to use. This applies to your waiting room, newsletter, or e-mail communication. Take advantage of these health information sites and get the news out to all your patients!

2) “I don’t want to constantly be passing along bad news.”

Personally, I think it’s important patients know the dangers involved in medical procedures and drugs, but these sites contain a wide variety of articles including very positive news about research on natural approaches to health (everything from laughter to yoga!). It’s a good idea to share both the good and the bad … it’s part of the education process.

3) “I don’t want to appear anti-medical.”

Since many of the articles at the sites listed above are based on research published in medical journals, it can hardly be considered anti-medical. YOU aren’t pointing the finger of blame. You’re simply relaying warnings from the medical profession about medical risks.

4) “I don’t have the time”

If you don’t have time to educate your patients, you need to MAKE time. It’s an added service that not only helps patients lead healthier lives, but it’ll make your office stand out from the crowd. It says you go the extra mile for your patients, that you care enough about them to keep them up-to-date on health news. In the long run, it’ll increase retention and generate new patients. You have time for that, don’t you?

The information is available to you, but it’s up to you whether it stops at that point, or flows out to others.

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