We all have a story of someone we know entering their symptoms into a search engine and coming back with the worst-case scenario result. This is why Google shouldn’t be a patient’s first choice for serious medical inquiries. Luckily, they don’t have to be.
Building a relationship with your patient is the surest way to not only retain business, but to provide exceptional care. The most effective way to build a relationship is seeing your patients face-to-face. However, this isn’t always possible.
A once-a-year appointment doesn’t give much time to establish a foundation for personable interactions going forward. As nice as it would be to connect face-to-face more regularly, this also isn’t feasible.
So, how do we continue building on the relationship when we can’t see the patient? Luckily, technology has other options available for us. Patient-driven technology is a quickly growing field that enables your patients to take their health communications into their own hands, not by pulling away from you, but rather, interacting with you on more convenient terms.
Modern technology provides more ways for patients to manage their care with an increased level of information, transparency and collaboration with their healthcare providers. Patients want convenience and control, especially when it comes to communication.
While different technologies are important, understanding their individual benefits and uses will enable you to be most effective. The applications are what connect you, but your team and culture are what will keep your patients.
Telemedicine allows for quick scheduling to see patients. Video chat provides a friendly face and medical advice tailored to patients’ needs. Since the patient can see you on the video screen, this option still requires some set-up and appointment scheduling, but is a great way to reduce the hassle that comes with an in-office appointment, especially if the purpose is just some quick questions about harmless symptoms. Besides that, patients won’t see or care if you are wearing shorts and flip flops behind the scenes!
From video chat, we move to text chat. It is another step removed from the personal nature of an in-office appointment, but provides a great balance between time, cost, and availability. Allowing the patient to talk directly with their medical provider or your front desk means they’re getting the right help for their questions at the times they need, and via the methods they most want. While text-based services don’t provide eye-to-eye interaction, they do allow for direct communication and can be surprisingly affordable for both you, and your patients.
These electronic communication tools are great ways to let your patients take control of their health while keeping connected to their medical providers and facilities.
Patient portals, which continue to rise in popularity for overall secure health records, can be cumbersome. Though there is a definite shift on the horizon for all of these patient-driven technologies, studies show that patients only use portal & telemedicine services 5% of the time. Since research shows that people look at their phones 80 – 300 times a day, that indicates it’s best to reach people on their mobile device. In fact, most people would rather use their phones for all interactions.
Reaching out is simple, provides a valuable service for your patients, lets them know you care, and allows them a greater degree of control for their health.
Your patients’ healthcare is a joint effort and can be valuable to your practice. Figure out what works best for you, what works best for your office, and most importantly, what works best for your patients. Investment in your relationship with your patients are worth it!