From a patient’s perspective, one of the biggest deterrents to seeking and maintaining proper healthcare is the anxiety associated with such visits. This anxiety could be triggered by a variety of factors, including finances, pain, and the overall disruption of their routine (itself necessitated by the visit). Consequently, patients with anxiety demonstrate inhibited listening, stunted communication (including that of pertinent information that they should be sharing with you during their visit), a defensive personality, and feel generally overwhelmed by the whole ordeal. As a result, they tend to view the entire visit with a degree of contempt that assuages them to ignore or simply not follow through with whatever you may recommend. The worst part of all this is that you may interpret this confused, fearful behavior as nonchalance or even outright disrespect to your prescriptions and recommendations.
However, it doesn’t have to be this way! More often than not, you can successfully diffuse your patient’s anxiety and help them rebuild their confidence with a little active communication. That is, by expressing empathy and utilizing the information they provide to demonstrate uninhibited competence. Even better, exhibiting this behavior reinforces your commitment as a health practitioner. By following a few simple guidelines, you can address your patient’s concerns, ensure their compliance, and make your life easier. Here to assist you with that is a brief list on how you can effectively engage your patients in tandem with active communication.
Expedient Communication is Essential
In today’s expedient, technologically driven atmosphere, it is important to keep in mind that patients have a lot on their minds. Like you, they are extremely busy and are likely wrapped up in an array of ulterior endeavors. However, you can mobilize this information to your advantage and their betterment by conveying information like you would for a college professor: clear, concise, and relevant. Engage them in a way they will understand without making them feel insecure or insignificant for not considering certain facts; after all, you are the healthcare provider.
If you learn how to transmit information in a way that your patients can digest amidst their busy schedules, then you are one step closer to success. For example, rather than relying solely on office visits or phone calls for appointment reminders, why not grab their email address and engage them that way? Doing so will enhance the experience for your patient by making it more expedient while simultaneously putting less strain on you, your business, and your employees.
Promote Regular Active Engagement
Promoting regular engagement is one thing, but ensuring that your patient is actively interested, present, and paying attention is quite another. Here, it is important to remember that the patient has a life that extends well beyond when they enter and leave your office. This means that it is crucial for your organization to remain in possession of the most reliable resources that enable it to consistently convey the best information at all times. When relaying the information, do so in a way that cultivates an atmosphere of trust and maintains your credibility as a healthcare provider. One effective means of accomplishing this is by continuing to interact with your patient once the appointment has concluded, as well as during the interim between that time and their next appointment.
Fortunately, the wonders of today’s technology have provided a wealth of resources for effective engagement. Two of the most effective are company newsletters and surveys. Company newsletters can be sent via email on select days to convey pertinent information including company-related news and information tailored to the interests of that specific patient. Conversely, surveys can be sent either post- or pre-visit, and can be used to enhance the communication between you and your patient.
Keep It Mobile
Despite the societal changes initiated by the intricacies involved in modern technology, some things have remained relatively simple, albeit slightly transposed in tandem with today’s technological demands. Nowhere is this more evident than in mobile technology. Because of cellphones, many of us have access to a wide range of information that would otherwise elude us.
Cellphones condense centuries of knowledge and conveniently place them in the palm of our hand. They also make scheduling much more expedient. Fortunately, both of these aspects can be utilized to your practice’s advantage. For example, it is safe to assume that your patient is likely using their mobile device to obtain relevant information related to their healthcare, including which provider could potentially give them the best treatment, as well as the specifics related to any potential procedures they may be waiting to undergo.
With this in mind, optimizing your practice’s website for the mobile platform will make your business more appealing and lend you an air of competence and professionalism that will foster an environment of trust between you and any potential patients. Keep in mind that many of the patients you are now trying to attract have spent their entire lives around computers. As such, they are adept at spotting lackluster web design, which will likely scare them away from your practice. Some simple ways of making your site more user-friendly include providing a comprehensively navigable experience where they can easily schedule an appointment and subsequently manage their appointment schedule.
If there is one lesson to be gleaned from everything above, it is that effective automation is the key to success. This means that any aspect of your business that can be automated and customized, while still providing patients with exemplary service, should be. Customization promotes singularity, which makes your patients feel more important and assuages them to listen more carefully. Conversely, automating various aspects of your interaction sends the signal that their time is important to you, and that you are technologically savvy enough to know how to conduct yourself via-a-vis technology. Believe it or not, to the patient, this actually makes you appear more trustworthy and credible. And when it comes to one’s personal health decisions, that is really all that matters.