Patient Engagement and Branding? Taking a Cue from Seth Godin

Seth Godin is a well-known marketing and brand guru who has written a number of interesting books and maintains one of the most widely read blogs on the web (

I’m being a bit cheeky when I ask the question “do doctors read Seth Godin’s blog?” because I’m pretty sure almost none have. It’s all about brand management and consumers and marketing, right? “Nothing to do with health care,” I can imagine physicians saying.

But what Godin is really writing about are the relationships people have with the products, services and brands they love (and love to hate), and the decisions organizations make that help or hinder their ability to engage and hold on to their customers.

Of course, engagement has the healthcare world abuzz today, but as happens so often in health, the idea of patient engagement is mechanized and abstracted. EHRs, PHRs, portability of data, patient outreach, accountability – these are the tools and ideas that our sector sees as the heart of patient engagement.

Sure, they’re important. But reading Godin, you realize that engagement is more about the power of the emotional attachment people have with others, the things they use, and the places they visit. And Godin’s insights on how to achieve engagement have real value for providers. He lays out strategies for how to make people feel special, how to communicate in compelling ways, and—one of his favorite themes—creating experiences that are “remarkable.”

There’s plenty of evidence that when a physician’s practice genuinely connects with its patients, they’re more aware of their own health, more open with their provider, and more committed to following a recommended treatment or course of action. In other words, they’re engaged—and it all points to better outcomes.

Seth Godin’s words aren’t the only source to inspire more patient engagement, but they’re a great place to start.

About the Author
Steven Ferguson

Steven Ferguson is the Chief Operating Officer at Hello Health, the complete Cloud-Based EHR, Practice Management System and Patient Portal, that helps practices be more efficient and increase patient engagement.