The Cleveland Clinic chair of colorectal surgery shares a clinician’s perspective on physician engagement—including a reminder that “healthcare providers are not robots.”
Once a year, Cleveland becomes the epicenter of healthcare content marketing as executives from health systems, pharmaceutical firms, payer organizations and more gather at the Cleveland Clinic Health Summit during Content Marketing World to exchange ideas and glean insight from the industry’s leading voices.This year’s third annual Health Summit promises great topics from top thought leaders and innovators in healthcare content marketing. As an official media partner for the Summit, we’re proud to spotlight a few of the speakers and ideas that will be featured during this year’s event.
Today’s interview is with Scott Steele, MD, MBA, Chair of Colorectal Surgery, Cleveland Clinic, who is presenting on ways to elevate the physician voice into content marketing.
Q: Why do you feel elevating the physician voice in content marketing is relevant for today’s healthcare marketing professionals?
You can look at this several different ways. First, it’s a great way to get our information to your patients, peers and partners. There is so much great information out there, but some of it isn’t accurate. Direct to consumer is a great way to highlight the things and ensure as best as possible their accuracy.
On another side, healthcare is a business. As a department chair, I am proud of the long history of the Cleveland Clinic and excited about all the things we are doing. Whether it is recruiting the best talent or sharing with patients why we believe we are doing great things that will ultimately benefit their health—people have choices and we would love to have them come here.
Q: Can you share an anecdote or experience that illustrates how Cleveland Clinic put this idea into practice in digital marketing?
We started a podcast called Butts and Guts. It is patient-facing and healthcare-focused on all things in the GI and surgical realm. We interview interesting guests and speak in plain words to patients and providers alike who may not be as familiar with the topic.
We have seen a huge growth in the downloads and now are even having patients seek us out to be seen for their healthcare needs based on what they heard on the podcast.
Q: Physician engagement is an ongoing challenge as healthcare providers like you are arguably one of the most difficult audiences to reach. From your experience, what is the most effective approach for engaging physicians to positively impact a hospital brand’s reputation and generate referrals?
Understand that people are busy and time is valuable. Use multiple platforms with various options and infuse value and thought into each. Whether it is social media or videos or podcasts or print—give people options that fit their needs.
Also, I think revealing a small window into your personal side is great—healthcare providers are not robots. Showing a bit as to who you are as a person, what you like and why you do what you do is great. Keep it professional, of course. However, I cannot tell you how many patients have said they watched my bio video or read about me and felt more comfortable with me as a surgeon.
Q: What is the most important thing healthcare marketers can do to elevate the physician’s voice in content marketing?
Take advantage of every situation. I never believed in the power of this approach (social media or podcasts). But it is real and useful. Yet, it is important to also make it your own.
If you are not someone that can do certain things like interviewing or talking or sharing—do what you can and what you feel comfortable sharing. Had you told me 10 years ago I would have started three podcasts, joined Twitter and traveled around the world talking about it, I would have thought you are nuts. Yet it is one of the more enjoyable aspects of my job and has connected me to a lot of really neat and innovative people.
Meet Dr. Steele:
Scott R. Steele, MD, MBA, is the Rupert B. Turnbull, MD Endowed Chair in Colorectal Surgery and chair of colorectal surgery at Cleveland Clinic. A graduate of the U. S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, he was an active duty Army officer for over 20 years, serving as the chief of colorectal surgery at Madigan Army Medical Center, Fort Lewis, Washington. He has served 4 combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, being awarded the Bronze Star and Combat Medical Badge, amongst others. He is on the editorial board for seven national surgical journals including Annals of Surgery, Cochrane Collaboration, and serves as the Colon & Rectal Surgery community editor for the American College of Surgeons. He is also the co-editor for Diseases of the Colon & Rectum, and the editor-in-chief for Clinics in Colon and Rectal Surgery. Additionally, he is a reviewer for 22 peer-reviewed journals. He has been appointed to the American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery for the last several years. His research interests include rectal cancer and inflammatory bowel disease.