Changing Behaviour in Patients – a Patient Perspective.

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I’m a woman in her early thirties, concerned about her health.  One of the ‘worried well’ if you like.  10 years ago, my life was very different.  University days consisted of take-aways, cheap and cheerful pasta meals and more alcohol units than I’d be prepared to admit to my mother.   My body took a battering, but I was reasonably young and thought I’d done no lasting damage.  I was fairly slim and went to the gym 3 times a week.

Fast forward to my early 30’s and post-baby, my health was in a different place.  I was tired, I was putting on weight, some definite hormonal issues (my husband can vouch for that!) and I was getting forgetful.  If it wasn’t written down, I’d forget it, almost instantly.    The latter of my many problems was the most impactful.  After one too many near misses in both my personal and professional life I knew it was time to make a change.  But honestly?  I already knew what I had to do, I was interested enough in nutrition to know that my lifestyle choices were making me unwell.

Sound like anyone you know?  I’m sure in clinic, most practitioners see many women like me – approaching burn out and wanting to take control of their health.  But how many do you actually help, long term?  After the initial buzz of changing diet and lifestyle, how many of your patients trail off and become non-compliant?  Or cancel that appointment and don’t make another?   A fair few, I bet.

How did I get inspired?

Social Media.  This cracked it for me.  You may of, by now, heard of Joe Wicks – the Body Coach.  His funny, short Instagram videos made me laugh out loud and the food he cooked: delicious.  It was normal, safe, familiar food.  Food that I remember having as a kid, just healthy versions, using fresh ingredients and no rubbish.  His videos led me to his website.   His lifestyle interventions were minimal, I could realistically see myself making time to do the movement exercises.  These were realistic, small goals.  And you know what?  I made those changes and I felt better in a really short space of time.  I bought his book, I changed my life.

So then I thought, hang on, maybe there are other things I could be doing.  Joe Wicks helped me to lose weight and have more energy for sure, but maybe I could really heal myself with what I ate.  I started looking around.  The Doctors Kitchen was another fantastic resource. Dr Rupy Aujla’s Instagram videos really show his intent as a GP to find the root cause of disease using Functional Medicine Principles.  Yet again, another fantastic resource and he’s giving this away, for free on Social Media.

Why should you have a social media presence?

Because you can’t afford not to.  You need to be engaging with your clients (and potential clients) in every aspect of their lives.  Many of my peers who are around my age have adopted social media within their everyday lives.  People do business with people so you need to put yourself out there as a thought leader.  Think you don’t have time?  Think again.

Social Media users have risen by 176 million in the last year alone[1]. That’s a whole load of people that you can reach from your desk. Having social media accounts also helps your rankings on google, which will help people find you more easily.    Using social media to say who you are, what you do and how you do it is a no-brainer really.  People need to know about you and who better to tell them, than you?

Choosing Content

You don’t have to give away everything.  Providing some useful nuggets of information, sharing inspirational stories and interesting articles will all help.  People will migrate to what you’re saying because it interests them.  You can be inspirational!  People who choose to follow you on Social Media can be existing clients or potential new ones.  The benefits are two-fold; your existing clients are reminded to be compliant and that their practitioner is posting content about healthcare, which means they are well-informed.  Potential patients will be able to resonate with what you’re saying and will want to know more about you.  Keeping it professional but light-hearted is the key.  The reason why Dr Rupy and Joe Wicks are so successful is because their messages are focused, fun and short.

Don’t know where to start?

There are hundreds of free resources to get you started.  We recommend HubSpot and Social Media Examiner which have a wealth of free how-to guides.  Researching what other professionals are doing and just getting out there and getting stuck in are the best ways to learn.

Ps – don’t forget to check out our Linked In group to explore our archive of real-life case histories.  Another fine example of how Social Media can help you!

[1] https://www.brandwatch.com/blog/96-amazing-social-media-statistics-and-facts-for-2016/

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