According to a 2015 report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Policy, doctor-patient communication is the #1 problem in healthcare today. Patients are frustrated with both the types of communication used by doctors and the general lack of it. Fortunately, the advent of new technologies offers doctors the opportunity to more effectively communicate with their patients, thereby leading to stronger relationships and increased loyalty.
In order to ease patients’ concerns over poor communication, here are a few proven tactics that can help your practice stand out among the competition.
Connect Where It’s Most Convenient
Experts estimate that over 6.1 billion people globally will be using smartphones by 2020. If you really want to connect with patients and eliminate communication issues, why not create a mobile platform that allows them to connect and access information wherever they are in the world.
Mobile apps are highly effective for healthcare communication. An app with the right features will allow your patients to stay in touch with you no matter where they are on the planet. Make it easy for your patients to stay in touch, view lab results and communicate with you more effectively in the most convenient way possible.
Become a Trustworthy Source of Healthcare Information
72% of Internet users say they searched for healthcare information in the last year. If you aren’t offering authoritative, accurate healthcare related information and advice on your website, that’s a lot of searches you’re missing out on.
Feed your website with high quality, original articles and other content that presents information for which your patients (and potential future patients) are searching. As your content is consumed, and is deemed helpful, you’ll gain credibility and trust. Your content will be shared, and it’ll reach new audience members who might just end up being future patients.
While many patients still prefer the old-fashioned phone call to schedule an appointment, many are shifting toward a preference for technology. 44% of patients now prefer doctors that offer online scheduling.
Obviously, that’s not a high enough percentage to shut down your phone lines, but it’s important that you address this preference. Whether it’s via the app you’ve created, or via a patient portal, make sure you’ve got something in place that allows patients the ability to set up appointments for their next visit online.
Use the Latest Devices During Patient Visits
You may not realize it, but patients are taking notes of how you act and even what technology you use during their visits. 70% of patients see doctors who use tablets and computers as being more organized than doctors who still jot things down on a piece of paper or in a notebook.
It’s time to get with the times. The use of technology doesn’t just give the appearance that you are more organized. It actually helps you keep track of patient records, your notes from recent visits and virtually any piece of information that you need to keep on file. So upgrade that paper notebook to an iPad. In addition to impressing your patients, you’ll find it makes your job a lot easier.
Whether it’s the latest devices, authoritative articles or a highly effective communication app, it’s imperative that doctors consider the impact that technology has on doctor-patient communication. By ignoring the shift toward a preference for technology, the competition gains a leg up.
It’s important to take technology into strong consideration and develop a plan to leverage its power. Doing so can catapult healthcare practices, hospitals and other healthcare organizations into a future of significantly increased patient satisfaction.
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