Posted by Teri Sun

I recently moved to a new town and began the search for a pediatrician for my 19-month old son. I quickly became frustrated with the lack of information. And I’m not alone, 38% of patients wished that they had more information before choosing a doctor.

Like 77% of patients, I began my search online. Sites like and ZocDoc offer some help. But selecting a doctor is about more than who is closest to my work and who has the most stars. It’s about something far less logical than degrees or titles.

I was looking for a doctor that would be a good fit for my son's personality but also for my own parenting style. I was looking for a doctor with which I would have good chemistry, someone I could trust.


Thom et al., “Validation of a Measure of Patients’ Trust.”

While some of this trust can’t be built until a patient and a doctor interact, hospital marketers can start to build this trust in advance of that first visit. Neuroscience reveals a variety of factors that contribute to trust – from transparency to listening and showing empathy (Conversational Intelligence, Judith E. Glaser). Many hospitals have already made strides towards this by transparently posting patient comments on their doctor profiles.


Other hospitals are finding that it's time to rethink the doctor profile all together. 

Let's look at an example. Nantucket Cottage Hospital, located on an island off the coast of Massachusetts, was increasingly seeing patients choose off-island care in Boston. Research revealed that, whether they are full-time residents or summer-time visitors, Nantucket is a place where people go to feel well. Residents enjoy the wonderful sense of peace the island gives them. So we knew it would be important its website redesign to position the hospital – and its doctors – not just a place to get "fixed" but a place that connects with the emotional and physical well-being of islanders. 

To build patient trust in the care they would receive on the island, we transformed the hospital’s doctor profiles into full feature pages that feel more like stories than resumes.


Each doctor’s professional bio is accompanied by a personal story and large, lifestyle photos featuring the doctors partaking in their favorite island-activities. The stories have helped patients feel more connected to their provider and, accompanied by a new mobile-friendly design and user-centric UX, have contributed to a 300% increase in online appointment requests. 

Read the full Nantucket Case Study 

By making changes like this, hospitals can start to overcome the trust barrier before a patient books their appointment - ultimately increasing the likelihood first time visitors will turn into loyal patients. For patients, it would also mean better care. Surveys of doctors indicate that forming a long-term relationship with a primary-care physician is the most important thing a patient can do to obtain better medical care.


White Rhino is a digital marketing agency specializing in building trust between hospitals and patients. Our B2Me research process uncovers psychological motivators and customized Trust Levers that become the strategic driver for hospital website redesign and the execution of high impact marketing programs. To learn more, please contact us.

Topics: Technology, Copywriting, Creative, Healthcare