3 Quick Ways to Engage Today's Tech-Savvy Patient
Patient Engagement Delivers Real, Measurable Results
Did you know that only savvy 34 percent of patients are considered highly engaged, despite all the new technologies available today to effectively communicate in-between office visits.
According to a study published in the journal Health Services Research, the relationship between a doctor and their patient is the key to high patient engagement. After researching over 8,000 Americans with chronic illnesses, experts found that there were three factors that had a huge impact on a patient’s engagement levels. These included:
The quality of the patient-doctor relationship, especially how well the doctor communicates in the office
The amount of respect and fairness patients feel they receive from their doctors
The frequency of patient-doctor communication outside of the office (through email or phone)
The study found that patient communication was one of the most important elements of success: for every one unit increase in the quality of communication, patients reported a 10 unit increase in their overall engagement levels.
Proactively seeking ways to improve patient relationships can create an entirely new environment and do wonders for a practice. As patients feel more valued and connected, many typical practice challenges (like dealing with no-shows, managing patient complaints, and answering the same FAQs) quickly diminish.
For example, a study by TeleVox and Kelton Research exposes the sorry state of patient engagement in the U.S. According to the study:
83% of Americans don’t follow treatment plans given by their doctors exactly as prescribed
42% of Americans feel they would be more likely to follow their prescribed treatment plans if they received encouragement and coaching from their doctors between visits
However, 55% of providers say they don’t communicate with patients between visits and 50% of healthcare professionals believe their job begins and ends during regular office visits
Strategies to Improve the Doctor-Patient Relationship
Here are a few strategies that every practice can do to quickly start building better patient relationships:
1. Be patient. Did you know, on average, patients have 11 seconds to explain the reasons for their visit before doctors interrupt, according to a recent study in the Journal of General Internal Medicine. It can be easy to guess what a patient is going to say and interrupt, or worse, ignore them when they speak. Try to avoid this. Use your active listening skills to direct all of your energy towards the patient. Keep your body language, mannerisms, and pacing of your conversations in mind.
2. Be mindful. Just as you are busy, so are your patients. They have likely made room in a busy day to visit your office. Make sure to be mindful of the time patients spend waiting for you. Consider using technology to engage consumers while they wait. For example, when a patient check-in's, text them a series of short, pre-recorded videos for them to watch that answer the frequently asked questions doctors respond to over and over. With new technologies available, like digitalcare100, it's easy for a doctor to record a handful of videos on a Friday afternoon and start distributing them the following week. It's a win-win for the patient and the practice. The wait time flies by and the doctor get's out ahead of those FAQs, thus freeing up additional time and lowering the stress tied to funneling a patient out the door, just to get to the next one.
3. Be pro-active. Don’t limit your time with patients to short office visits. Communicating with patients through video messaging can go a long way towards creating the strong doctor-patient relationship.. In fact, 42 percent of patients say they would be more engaged as patients if they were contacted between visits. The reality is it doesn’t take long to make a big digital impact. To make video recording easier and more speedy, we've created a content library with 100+ video scripts for doctors to leverage in unison with digitalcare100's built in teleprompter. Arguably half the battle of video creation is tied to coming up with good content - and the main reason doctors skip out on sharing helpful, informative short videos is because they don't want to spend the time thinking about what to talk about.
To learn more about how to improve your patient engagement and client satisfaction levels, I would encourage you to schedule an introductory 20-minute consultation with our team. Feel free to email me directly at [email protected] to coordinate. In the meantime, take this short, 10-question, multiple choice survey - What Is Your Digital Value.