As a care provider, you might think a patient’s case is straightforward. But for them, a diagnosis can be an emotional and financial shock. While you list off ways your patient can manage pain or recover faster from an impending surgery, it’s very possible their mind is elsewhere. Healthcare providers must do their part to bridge the gap in understanding between patients and caregivers. That’s why clear and caring communication is so important.
Why Effective Communication Matters
Whether you’re a doctor, nurse, or administrative professional, it’s imperative that you reach your patients in the way that best suits them. In-person conversations are great, but patients often don’t have the time or resources to visit your office in person when they have a concern. This is especially true of elderly patients and those with mobility issues.
You want to make it convenient for your patients to ask questions, understand appropriate aftercare, and learn about their future healthcare options through educational resources. You’d also probably love to encourage online reviews and endorsements that will encourage new patients to seek out your services. Effective healthcare communication software, like Podium, can bridge the gap between you and your patients, allowing you to manage all your patient interactions with one solution.
Focus on Modern Communication Methods
Relationships are important both amongst providers and between providers and patients. Rather than simply communicating at your staff and patients, make sure you’re communicating with them.
Traditional methods of communication may have worked in the past, but times are changing and your audience’s attention span is getting shorter. It doesn’t matter if you send out mailers and make phone calls if your patients don’t read what you send or answer the phone. And if you communicate with your staff through email and internet portals, you need to be sure they’re receiving and reading your messages.
Text messaging has been proven to be much more effective than phone calls, emails, and other traditional forms of patient communication. You can check in with patients, deliver aftercare instructions, and even ask them for their feedback via SMS.
It’s also been proven that clinical outcomes will improve when you master patient communication through more modern platforms, like text. If you want to help your patients achieve better health and your employees provide better care, reevaluate the ways you are reaching out and modernize your practice.
Provide a higher standard of care
Every doctor wants to provide ethical, empathetic care for their patients. But it can be challenging when you are working long shifts and dealing with a demanding workload. No matter how many patients you see each day, you need to be able to provide a high standard of care for each and every one.
But how do you remember specifics about your patient’s health care history? How do you track their progress and convey their unique needs to your staff? Sure, you can refer to their medical charts, but those won’t tell you about the interactions they’ve had with your staff in the past and their care preferences.
While in-person communication is incredibly useful, you can use tools like Podium Webchat to communicate with patients before and after appointments. Documenting some interactions online helps you review case history in one place, jogging your memory before you see a patient again. Podium Feedback can also help you pinpoint ways you can improve your bedside manner and provide better care to patients from all walks of life.
Stand out in a sea of misinformation
The internet has added useful tools to the healthcare industry. Unfortunately, it also gives people access to a wide variety of misinformation. Your patients have likely Googled their symptoms and spent hours on WebMD diagnosing themselves before they ever pay you a visit. They may be convinced that they have a life-threatening illness, or resort to home remedies before consulting a medical professional.
The plethora of available healthcare information and suggested home remedies make effective communication even more important for healthcare providers. The more clear and concise education you can provide and the more available your staff via online tools, like Webchat, the easier you can rest knowing your patients are not making health decisions based on bad information.
There is also plenty of room for interpretation when it comes to doctors’ orders. You may encounter patients who do not follow your advice and experience poor health outcomes as a result. They may possibly leave you a bad review online. But don’t view this as a drawback—a bad review is a doorway.
Your staff can easily respond to negative feedback, explaining your position and possibly helping the patient to reach a different outcome. By being proactive, you can fight any misinformation about your practice that might be harming your online reputation.
Centralize and maximize all interactions
As most healthcare providers work without a traditional desk, they’re often away from their computer. This means that reading and responding to long emails are more difficult than connecting over a mobile platform. By consolidating internal communications into a simple chat, you’re more likely to find the time in your day to respond.
Using a tool like Podium Teamchat, you can securely share information with coworkers and employees. Any member of your staff can quickly access patient info, so they’re able to quickly assess if a patient’s health has improved or worsened and which treatment methods might be indicated next.
You may even need to communicate with providers at different branches or locations of your practice. If multiple providers are seeing a patient for a connected health issue, you should make sure that each provider has the pertinent information. While it’s still important for a patient to voice how they’re feeling, it’s unnecessary to ask them to repeat the same information over and over. Answering questions they’ve already been asked multiple times can be very frustrating and could make them feel like they are not being cared for effectively. Sharing information seamlessly online amongst practitioners and locations can help you avoid this completely.
Ensure your patients visit again
Streamlining patient communications enables your staff to raise the standard of care—they’ll have more information at their fingertips no matter their location or familiarity with the patient.
Your patients want efficiency as much as you do, but they don’t want to sacrifice quality of care. Through better, faster, and more effective communications with your patients, you’ll keep them coming back to see you and your staff. Not just because they know they will be seen quickly, but also because they know they’ll be truly cared for and experience better health outcomes.
It might seem overwhelming to communicate with patients even more than you already do. Your patients understand that you are busy, and they know your time is valuable—but so is theirs. Greater transparency and communication tells patients just how much you value their time.
A recent study found that convenience is the number one thing that matters to patients. Creating an open channel of communication for patients to schedule appointments, ask questions, and get help when they need it without being put on hold is becoming key to a great modern patient journey.
But they still have plenty of questions they forgot to ask during their appointment. You may not have the time to follow up personally right then, but you can automate communication so your patients never feel alone or neglected. And healthcare communications software solution can help.