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Creating YouTube videos for patient education

Writing for the KevinMD blog, Dr Neil Baum comments on the merits of creating YouTube videos to promote your practice, stating that they can be used as an effective marketing tool to attract new patients.

Private practices are urged to consider creating videos pertinent to their field of expertise to ensure that patients can feel better informed about choosing your practice. In order that your content is informative and well-delivered, Dr Baum recommends that a script is written which can act as an effective teleprompter.

The following steps are recommended:

1. Define the topic or condition you are going to discuss
Dr Baum recommends that you provide a brief introduction to your topic and follow this up by outlining the path you will take through the video.

2. Elaborate on the condition or topic
Include lay terms about the condition and include factors such as recognisable signs and symptoms. Avoid a large amount of medical terminology, and perhaps consider linking the condition to a topical culture reference, such as any associations with sport or celebrities. Be sure to cover any misconceptions about symptoms and ensure that you inform patients about any other conditions the symptoms could be confused with.

3. Describe how the condition is diagnosed
At this point it is recommended that you walk patients through what investigations they can expect to experience in diagnosing the problem. Consider elements such as invasive vs. non-invasive procedures, the number of appointments required and waiting times for results.

4. Describe how the condition is treated
Describe both conservative and aggressive treatment options, being sure to focus on the pros, cons, and likely outcome of each method of treatment. Focus should also be placed on what patients can expect during a procedure, during the course of treatment, and what the total recovery time will be.  You should also mention the risks and complications of the various treatment options alongside any alternatives. Furthermore, it is important to cover the potential problems that not treating the complication could lead to.

5. Include a patient testimonial (if possible)
As a nice-to-have, a genuine testimonial from a patient who has undergone treatment for the condition can help viewers to relate to their situation. In order to ensure anonymity, you could read a statement written by the patient on their behalf.

6. End each video with a call to action
Dr Baum recommends that you wrap-up your videos by recommending that patients check out your site, blog or social media platform, or provide a phone number and recommend the steps towards booking an appointment.

7. Keep it short and sweet
The recommended time a video should run for is a maximum of 7-10 minutes. Video editing tools could be used to clip the video down to this length, or by practising with the script beforehand to ensure that your delivery adheres to these times.

Dr Baum states that videos are an excellent method of attracting new patients and educating existing patients, and that creating a good script is the first step.  “By following a few guidelines, you can create a compelling video that will result in improvement in educating the public and the patients in your practice.  You may not get an Academy Award for your efforts but you will have better educated patients” he said.

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