How to Improve a Patient-Physician RelationshipPosted: September 8, 2021 - By Health Dev
Without question, having a strong, trust-based relationship with a physician can ensure patients receive the health care they need. Patients often must share very sensitive and personal information with physicians, and it can be hard for all of us to be open with someone we don’t know well. That’s why physicians and medical practices should strive to deliver quality communications throughout the entire patient journey.
But you don’t need to rely on office visits to interact with patients. Thanks to today’s advanced patient relationship management (PRM) solutions, you can stay in touch with all of your patients. With features like email campaigns, patient portals, and two-way communications, you can deliver the information patients need to manage their health electronically.
When you focus on cultivating patient and physician relationships, you can build a healthcare practice that distinguishes itself from others. Offering quality clinical care and effective treatment plans will always be important, but today’s patients value excellent communication and empathy from physicians and care providers.
Use Email to Convey Valuable Health Care Information
Every physician and medical practice needs an email solution that lets them tailor communications to varied patient groups. One easy method to connect with patients is by sending a monthly email newsletter. You can share the latest news from your practice, provide healthy lifestyle tips, or cover new research and clinical studies.
Another good newsletter idea: Help patients feel connected to your practice with profiles of staff members. Choose one person each month and provide details on their education, professional background, family, hobbies, and interests. That way, patients can get to know physicians and clinical team members better and feel more comfortable building closer relationships.
Beyond newsletters, you can also use emails to send targeted campaigns to different patient segments. For example, patients with chronic conditions that require ongoing management may need different messages than those who only see you for annual check-ups with a physician. Spend some time considering your patients’ varied communication needs and create email campaign structures that make sense for each group. Using technology, you can disseminate the information patients need while focusing on building long-term relationships and patient loyalty.
Improve Experiences with Patient Portals and Online Booking
Every person who uses the internet has an endless supply of information available with just a few clicks. We’ve all gotten used to conducting many simple transactions online–from paying bills to scheduling appointments–and we expect the same convenience from our healthcare providers. By selecting a PRM solution with a patient portal and online booking functionality, you can give your patients the convenient, time-saving features they need to manage their relationship with you.
With a patient portal, all patients can access a secure, private dashboard to view scheduled appointments. This feature can be especially valuable for patients who need recurring visits to manage a chronic condition or disease. Also, your portal can provide a way for patients to send you brief messages or questions. Often, this functionality saves time for both you and your patient since a brief exchange can be a quick way to address minor issues. You can send an email link to encourage patients to sign up for their personal portals and deliver intake forms and other paperwork directly to their dashboard.
Another good feature that many patients appreciate is online appointment booking. Today, many people prefer to make appointments online instead of placing phone calls. This approach allows them to schedule visits at any time, day or night, instead of waiting for office hours.
Build a Strong Doctor-Patient Relationship with Two-Way Communications
Although physicians are experts in medicine, they should always remember that patients are human beings whose voices and feelings matter. Strong communication rooted in empathy and respect should be at the heart of all of your patient-physician relationships. While in-person and virtual visits will always have a big impact on the patient experience, what you say and do between visits is just as critical.
Fortunately, today’s PRM technology simplifies the process of communicating with patients between visits. You can reach out via multiple channels–including email, text, and your patient portal–to help patients stay informed about treatment plans and healthcare options. Instead of merely providing one-way electronic communications, you can invite patients to engage with you.
How? Two-way secure messaging through a patient portal is a low-effort way to stay in touch. Similar to texting, this messaging requires very little time but be a powerful tool to improve communications with patients.
Another way to foster two-way dialog is by soliciting patient feedback and reviews. Simply send links via email or text and allow patients to complete satisfaction surveys or provide ratings and commentary about their experiences with your practice. You can then push this feedback out to review sites to attract new patients and fortify your reputation online. This is just one example of how an intense focus on patient communication can help your practice position itself for long-term growth.
Communication is the Key to Excellence in Patient Care
We’ve all heard about physicians who have excellent “bedside manner” and who are naturally adept at building a rapport with patients. Even when physicians intend to spend time getting to know patients, the fast-paced demands of a medical practice can mean they spend less time on building physician-patient relationships than they would prefer. A robust patient relationship management system can help bridge the gap by letting your practice stay connected during each step of the patient journey.
While the right interpersonal communication style can help physicians engage with patients, many technology tools can support relationship building. Your practice should seek a PRM that supports email campaigns, patient portals, online booking, and two-way communications between patients and physicians. In addition, your PRM solution can help you secure the insights and feedback you need to improve your operations and deliver high-quality service to all patients.
When you emphasize cultivating patient-physician relationships, everyone benefits. Your patients feel comfortable sharing health details and asking questions. When patients feel informed and empowered, they will be more likely to follow treatment plans, make health-conscious choices, and achieve better outcomes. Your physicians and practice gain a reputation for providing high-quality medical care in an environment that puts patients’ needs first.
As a result of your devotion to quality patient-physician relationships, you’ll see patient satisfaction climb and earn more referrals as current patients spread the word about the exceptional care they receive. Over time, you improve your bottom line and have more funds to invest in improving the medical care you’ll deliver. Investing in patient-physician relationships is a worthwhile endeavor that can yield significant results for your medical practice.