In the traditional sense, connecting with patients on a personal level has always been a crucial part of practicing medicine. Building trust with patients is an important part of building a relationship, knowing the patient’s history, and spotting warning signs before they turn into problems.
Building rapport with your patients is crucial. But now, connecting with patients has a whole new meaning.
You’ve probably heard the phrase “connected patient.” Most of us walk around with our smartphones strapped to us, always on and always connected. Now, patients are starting to expect that same level of connectivity from their doctors. They want to be able to connect with their doctors online, through video chat, sometimes outside normal office hours.
You might be inclined to shrug off this trend and just stayed committed to running a traditional medical practice. But connecting with your patients can be a key determinant of provider success, for a few big reasons.
Compete with connected care offered by retail and urgent care
Many retail clinics and urgent care centers are booming because they offer patients two big benefits: convenience and connectivity. Walgreens, for example, now offers patients the ability to see a doctor virtually, in addition to letting patients manage their prescriptions online.
Connecting with your patients via secure messaging, email campaigns, and telemedicine is a smart way to keep your patients coming back.
Virtual follow-ups improve patient outcomes
Following-up with a patient after a medical procedure, regular appointment, or diagnosis is a routine part of medical care. But patients don’t always follow through for a variety of reasons.
Even if a patient can’t make an appointment, or forgot to schedule a follow-up, connecting with them via secure email can ensure they get the care they need. Several studies have shown that using telemedicine for follow-up appointments after patients are released from the hospital helps reduce readmissions and ultimately improve patient outcomes.
Using technology to streamline simple follow-up care could have a huge impact on your patient care program.
Keeping connected means building stronger relationships, and a stronger practice
Not everyone needs to, or can, make it into the doctor’s office on a regular basis. But that doesn’t mean you can’t connect with them and continue building a relationship. Emailing every so often about routine exams, flu shots, or simple health tips can go a long way to building connection with your patients.
Offering convenient ways to connect, like online video appointments or messaging within a patient portal, increases the chances that patients will reach out when they have issues or questions. Every interaction is a chance to build a stronger doctor-patient relationship.
Satisfying the connected patient can take some work and upfront investment in new technology. But ultimately, it can be the path to a better care program and a more profitable practice.