Why Doctor Groups and Healthcare Professionals Need Newsletters

harlanwestblogphotoBy Harlan West, Design and Marketing Professional with 25 years of experience designing materials for major healthcare organizations, municipalities and large corporations.

Have you ever gone into a doctor’s office for a scheduled appointment only to be forced to wait an hour or more?  Yes, we all have had this unfortunate experience. Doctors seem to think that their time is more Doctor's-officephotovaluable than the average person’s. True, emergencies do come up and some patients take much longer to examine and diagnose than others.

Now, we all know how doctors tend to fill their waiting rooms with stacks of dated magazines that often contain technical content or  boring articles about such unexciting topics as a golf stroke. C’mon, let’s get with the times!

In this world of constantly evolving healthcare procedures,  policies and regulations, doctors, more than ever, need to better communicate with their patients.

Below is a sample newsletter design we created to be used in a doctor’s office waiting room.

Making-Your-Life-Healthier-NewsletterThere are several important reasons why a newsletter can be beneficial to a physician or a medical group:

1) As mentioned above, it’s a great way to connect with patients and staff. These new letters are a great way to introduce new associate doctors, office staff or clinicians to the patient.

2) Newsletters placed in the waiting room will most likely have a very high readership rate. Similar to onboard rail newsletters that I discuss in previous posts, physician newsletters can be strategically placed in the waiting room to take advantage of a captive audience. Indeed, patients are sitting waiting and watching the clock with nothing to do. They are just trying to l time until they are called to come back into the examination room. They are very likely to pick up any attractive and interesting reading material in front of them. Try a more “home-baked” yet at the same time professional approach to the newsletter.  With such an approach, patients may feel more relaxed.

3) Newsletters can help take away some of the depersonalization of today’s healthcare. Too often we feel like just a number in a heard of cattle. This is especially true where doctors groups, medical groups or HMOs are involved. Stories about doctors, their staff, new services, billing policies, new procedures or medical innovations can help put patient’s fears at ease. Articles about patient success stories can also increase the comfort level.  But, be careful not to divulge patient information without their prior consent.  Due to privacy concerns, it is essential to leave out names and actual photos.

4)  Newsletters can also be a great medium for building awareness on the importance of fitness, exercise and healthy eating.  Try including stretching exercises that can be done at home or in the office.  Generic photos of active “boomers” living a healthy lifestyle are great additions to help perk up the newsletter. With a regular newsletter, healthcare practitioners can more easily “preach” to their patients about such hard-to-discuss topics as weight loss, proper hygiene, cancers and sexually transmitted diseases.

5) A regular monthly newsletter can allow a doctor to show a more compassionate side even if he or she does not have a great “bedside manner.”  Articles about the  physician and how he or she is helping patients receive the best care can go along way to bridging this gap. In other words, a physician newsletter can show a new side of the doctor, even, if in person, he is not a very compassionate individual.

6) Providing a newsletter keeps the dialogue focused on the patient rather than just the doctor. Patient-centered is the essential to succeeding in today’s healthcare maze. Knowing as much as possible about the patient will allow doctors to share valuable information can really add to the success of the care experience and treatment. In a newsletter, patients can find valuable resources and web links to the doctor’s website, other practitioners, pharmacies and such preventative care as flu vaccines, nutritional guidelines and fitness regimens. Newsletters are also a way that patients can learn about other ways to stay connected with the doctor’s office.  Other useful resources including e-mail contacts, online e-newsletters, the office website and social media could be easily included in the regular newsletter

A physician newsletter can make for a healthy patient doctor care experience!

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If your company needs an innovative physician, healthcare, fitness or nutritional newsletter, e-publication, or promotion, please contact HWDS at hwdesign@west.netWe make beautiful things happen. To find out more please visit westdesign.com

Harlan West is the author of successfulcorporatecommunications.com and has been working as a creative director and design professional for more than 25 years and has designed and art directed hundred of publications for both print and online purposes.

50 Reasons to Follow the Successful Corporate Communications Blog

harlanwestblogphotoBy Harlan West, Design and Marketing Professional with 25 years of experience designing materials for major healthcare organizations, municipalities and large corporations.

I am proud to commemorate the publication of 50 blog posts! Celebrate with us by continuing to read our blog and encouraging your friends and colleagues to subscribe as well.

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Since we just completed our 50th blog post, here’s 50 fabulous reasons to keep reading and rereading:

  1. Take advantage of valuable design tips for your newsletter.
  2. Use color to make a more effective publication.
  3. Learn how to create effective mastheads.
  4. Escape the pitfalls of staff meetings.
  5. Learn ways to deal more effectively with your clients.
  6. Discover how to create more effective bilingual publications.
  7. Find valuable tips on advertising.
  8. Learn about effective branding.
  9. Gain valuable information about e-publications.
  10. Increase your knowledge of printing techniques.
  11. Increase your appreciation of elegant paper stocks.
  12. Learn how to create effective event promotions.
  13. Discover ways to include effective infographics, charts and diagrams in your publications.
  14. Learn about ways to find employment as a skilled graphic designer.
  15. Unearth new ways to promote healthcare events.
  16. Invent new ways to illustrate your newsletter with the use of graphical icons.
  17. Find ways to develop an effective logo for your company.
  18. Learn about ways to add a mascot or cartoon character to your newsletter or publication.
  19. Differentiate your company’s product and service from the competition.
  20. Produce beautiful maps that provide more than just directions.
  21. Explore new ways to be more responsive to your clients.
  22. Recognize how to find a quality print vendor.
  23. Realize the beauty that nature can add to a publication.
  24. Originate the use of iMags for your company’s publications.
  25. Learn how to save $1,000’s on publication costs.
  26. Conceive of new ways to use patterns in your publications.
  27. Innovate the use of online publications in your company’s publication requirements.
  28. Discover ways to add navigational elements to a newsletter.
  29. Lean how to use photos for maximum impact.
  30. Make the best use of typestyles to increase the legibility of a publication.
  31. Find new ways to maintain quality control.
  32. Learn how outsourcing the design of your publications can save the company money and can increase the return on investment (ROI).
  33. Find out why it is important to use a marketing firm that specializes in your industry sector.
  34. Learn what makes your client “tick.”
  35. Discover the importance of having a corporate newsletter.
  36. Explore new reasons why corporations should outsource their marketing efforts.
  37. Unearth the ultimate checklist for developing successful marketing materials.
  38. Invent new ways to harness the power of the word of mouth.
  39. Explore how color defines your brand and shapes your newsletter.
  40. Find out how silhouetted graphics can shape your newsletter.
  41. Invent beautiful patterns and graphics through the use of shadows.
  42. Learn how metallic pins can make great promotional items or giveaways to honor anniversaries, celebrations, or facility openings.
  43. Discover how to use fruits and vegetable shapes to craft an unusual masthead or headline.
  44. Learn how to create healthy designs for healthcare marketing.
  45. Pioneer new ways to include graphical portraiture in your publication.
  46. Benefit from testimonials and how they can create great “buzz.”
  47. Discover how to make your newsletter soar to new heights by adding architectural elements.
  48. Find out how to add edgy border treatments that will make your articles jump off the page.
  49. Recognize the importance of type and how it impacts the look, feel and legibility of the publication.
  50. Discover ways to “tune-up” your marketing without ever getting your hands dirty.

These topics and more can be found on our blog.

Happy reading!  But remember to ask yourself the following question: “Why just be a reader when you could also be a leader?”

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If your company needs an innovative newsletter, e-publication, meeting presentation or  advice on communicating, please contact HWDS at hwdesign@west.netWe make beautiful things happen. To find out more please visit westdesign.com.

Harlan West is the author of successfulcorporatecommunications.com and has been working as a creative director and design professional for more than 25 years and has designed and art directed hundreds of publications for both print and online purposes.

The Importance of Having a Corporate Newsletter

harlanwestblogphotoBy Harlan West, Design and Marketing Professional with 25 years of experience designing newsletters for major corporate clients including Kaiser Permanente, Metrolink, Metro, Time Warner Cable and the Cities of Norwalk, Orange and Santa Monica.

Don’t underestimate the importance of newsletters! A regular monthly newsletter has many outstanding benefits. It is a great way to…

  • communicate with clients, employees, vendors using a very effective medium that contains information which is usually very timely and up-to-date.
  • keep the audience up-to-date on current events, news and what’s happening in your company and in the industry. Your company will not only appear contemporary but also state-of-the art.
  • reach a broad spectrum of people, especially if the publication is delivered electronically as an online publication. This saves expensive print costs. Our innovative “iMags”  with flipping-page technology, can help your company save costs while still providing a highly interactive and technologically-advanced publication. Continue reading

Healthy Designs for Healthcare Marketing

harlanwestblogphotoBy Harlan West, Design and Marketing Professional with 25 years of experience designing materials for major healthcare organizations, hospitals, medical centers and outpatient facilities.

Caring for patients also includes caring for the type and quality of the communications they receive. The healthcare industry uses lots of collaterals and informational pieces to communicate with patients, members, physicians, staff, agencies and suppliers.mortar-and-psel Marketing firms that specialize in healthcare publications are often called in to create external and internal communications for larger organizations. As one of these marketing firms, HWDS Creative has developed hundreds of effective print and online e-publications for the healthcare industry.

There are several important elements that we look for when creating a healthcare publication. These include the following:

1) The intended audience—The design firm must make sure that the publication, whether it be a poster, newsletter, report or collateral is geared to the intended audience.  The audience might be patients, members of the healthcare plan or group, physicians, clinicians, administrative staff, suppliers or insurance representatives—all have very specific and differing needs. Continue reading