Building and nurturing meaningful relationships has always been an essential part of the doctor-patient dynamic. However, in today’s fast-paced modern world, more and more patients hope for the doctor-patient relationship to become more digitized.
In a survey conducted by ResMed, 54% of responders said that technology improves the doctor-patient relationship. Given the current situation the world is in, with social distancing becoming the new norm, many responders said they would like to communicate through text or participate in video chats.
Of course, it’s still important to meet in person as it always was. But for patients with busy lives and those who practice social distancing, it pays to have multiple touchpoints. And what better way to do so than with the help of technology and everyday devices?
Here are four technologies that help enhance the patient-doctor relationship and help healthcare providers feel more connected to the people they serve.
Here’s a quick and easy question: what do patients do to pass the time away when they’re waiting for their appointment or they’re alone in the examination room? Check their phones, of course! The modern patient is an avid texter and is more likely to respond through text than answer their telephone. In fact, 97% of adults in the U.S. use text messaging in a week, and most use it every day.
Here lies the challenge: standard text messaging is not always HIPAA compliant because it lacks encryption. But keep in mind that SMS messaging is not the only way to communicate with a patient via text. To ensure text messaging remains compliant with HIPAA, you can look into healthcare communication apps that let you securely connect with your patients. If a patient has any medication concerns, has a quick question, or needs a refill, they can easily contact you via the app.
Aside from promoting patient data access, secure direct messages help keep patients out of the clinic when possible. Patients with minor medical questions can use the tools to contact their doctors or healthcare providers and get an answer as soon as possible – foregoing the hassle of scheduling and visiting the office in person.
Another way to reach healthcare consumers on their devices is via email. Email marketing is a great way to touch base with those who filled out a form on your website or called your number but haven’t yet signed up for a consultation or an appointment.
One of the best ways to carry out an effective marketing email strategy is by using a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system. In fact, a home care marketing company will use this tool to streamline their marketing processes. It helps them stay in touch with prospects and leads who aren’t quite ready for an appointment—but may convert to becoming patients very soon.
As with text messaging, be careful with how you handle any piece of PHI (Protected Health Information). Additionally, make sure to check that emails are optimized for mobile devices. More people now check their emails on their phones instead of on a desktop computer!
Alerting patients of their scheduled appointments also eliminates administration burden. If patients regularly miss follow-up appointments or scheduled visits, their condition may worsen. Using email marketing to send reminders also enhances patient satisfaction by providing them with the flexibility to make changes to their schedule.
Granted, not many patients find their doctors and healthcare providers through social media. However, it’s worth allowing people who go above and beyond to know more about your practice to see what you’re all about.
A Facebook page is a great channel to show off the energetic or relaxing atmosphere of your clinic and also showcase the unique personalities of your staff. You can also share health tips and suggestions that would improve the overall health of your patients.
Doctors are used as the main sources of health-related and medical information but that is changing due to the internet. Many patients rely on Dr. Google and self-diagnose their symptoms, even if a big chunk of information online isn’t regulated. Your social media page offers the perfect opportunity to educate your patients and even the general public about your area of specialty. As you are an authoritative source and Facebook is easy to access, you help your patients find reliable information about health concerns and current medical news.
Patient Intake Kiosks
How often do patients have to fill out forms and submit the same personal information like clockwork – information that clinic staff must then spend time reviewing and transcribing into patient records?
Patient intake kiosks offer a potential remedy to this cumbersome and time-consuming process, especially when it’s paper-based. These kiosks are waiting room tools that allow patients to enter their information as they wait for their appointments.
By drastically reducing the churn, duplication, and storage requirements demanded by traditional paper forms, healthcare provides can further focus on the patient experience and become more efficient.
Accepting Technology’s Role in Shaping Doctor-Patient Relationship
A decade ago, most patients didn’t expect to hear from their doctors outside the four walls of a clinic. That experience can often be frustrating, especially for those who have medical concerns or questions that need to be answered immediately.
Doctors and healthcare providers have always done all they could to serve patients in need, but the doctor-patient relationship is often strained when contact is limited irregular business hours bridled with unclear scheduling policies and going through confusing phone trees.
Modern patients require modern solutions and that’s what the technologies listed above offer. Many would rather schedule appointments online rather than over a phone call, and most patients would love additional options for accessing health information and online communication.
Changing the technology you use to communicate with your patients can be the game-changer you need for your clinic. Many healthcare providers are already using the technologies above.
The question now is: Can you keep up?