If you want to make your patients feel cared for, just providing treatment is not enough. Here’s how to improve patient engagement.
Doctors, therapists, and other health workers need to have more than just the academic skills they’ve acquired in school to be considered good medical workers.
Because it’s the lives of patients they’re taking care of, it’s important for them as well to establish a good rapport with them. While this is often easier said than done, it’s doable.
Improving patient engagement goes beyond just giving them the diagnosis, treatment, and care they need.
It also needs to go one step further by ensuring your patients feel comfortable when seeing you, and they hold no barriers to talking about their health concerns.
They aren’t intimidated by your white coat, and they’ll feel as if they’re just talking to a friend who can help them overcome their health concerns.
Making Patients Feel Cared For
When proper patient engagement is achieved, you can be sure you’ll excel in your practice. Not only are you impacting your ability to attract more patients, but these patients will also love to retain you as their therapist or physician. This means patient retention would also be high.
Even if you’ve been in the health industry for so long now, there’s always room to learn a thing or two about patient care.
The following are some insights on how you can do proper and good patient engagement:
1. Offer Continuous Encouragement, Support, And Feedback
Health workers need to remember their responsibility toward patients doesn’t end the moment they leave the hospital.
It goes without saying until your patient has healed, you also need to remember them and think of them, too.
This means even when they’re not in your clinic for a consultation paying for your hours, offer continuous encouragement, support, and feedback.
Whenever you’ve got idle time as you don’t have waiting patients yet, go through records of the patients you’ve met the past week still due for a return.
Ask them how they are and how their symptoms have started to feel since taking the medications. If they’re experiencing some of the hard effects of their treatment (like nausea associated with chemotherapy), give them support and feedback.
When you do this, on your next checkup, those patients will be more inclined to talking more and being positive and open in their interaction with you.
2. Make Patients Stay Engaged Even After They Leave
One of the most common mistakes practiced by many doctors and therapists is after a patient leaves their clinic, it’s often hard for them to stay engaged or connect with the professionals.
For instance, should a particular patient have concerns with their medicines, they’ll need to schedule and wait for another physical appointment just to have their questions answered.
Rather than have this practice, it’s better instead if you’re transparent with patients as to how they can contact you for extremely important instances.
This doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve got to make your personal phone number blatantly available to the public. You can utilize other means like having a website and clinic social media account with chatbots to answer these queries at any given time.
3. Use Technology To Your Advantage
As briefly touched above, there are also various technology health workers can now take advantage of to improve patient engagement.
For example, there are software and apps for teleconferencing. Through this, your patients won’t have to leave the comforts of home just to have a consultation with you if there’s no need to meet face-to-face yet.
You can also make it easier for your patients to send in their test and lab results. In doing so, they won’t have to feel the added pressure of having to go back to the doctor just to submit these documents.
Patients are more likely to engage with you when they’re happy with the ease and comfort they experience. Plus, this can also improve their overall ability to heal and focus on their well-being.
4. Deliver Personalized Care
Even if you’re a medical worker in a field of specialization such as a speech therapist, this doesn’t mean each one of your patients has the same concern regarding their speech.
So you’ve also got to break the cycle of talking to your patients as if you were a robot, doing the same speech and queries over and over again.
Patients can feel when the doctor is fully engaged with them. This means the doctor they’re dealing with takes time also to listen to their symptoms and what they have to say about their health problem.
This all boils down to providing personalized care for every patient. The more you do this, the more your patients will also feel attuned to telling more and cooperating more.
When this mutual engagement is achieved, you’re more successful as a doctor since your patients have a better recovery outlook too.
5. Identify Activated Patients
Lastly, when it comes to patient engagement, there’s a term known as activated patients. This refers to your patients whom you know for certain are advocates for their health.
They’re not just passive patients who walk in your clinic, walk out, drink the medicines, and do nothing more to improve their health.
Here are some metrics to determine whether or not your patients are already identified as proactive:
- They can manage their illness on their own at home, with minimal supervision from you.
- They’re comfortable with navigating through the healthcare system, which means they no longer consider this as a tedious process.
- They’re actively engaging in activities improving their recovery.
When you’re able to identify these activated patients, you’ll be able to focus on those other patients whom you know you need more work on.
All these considered, you’ll see patient engagement is shaped widely by how a patient goes through their healthcare experience.
Remember, healing isn’t a two-way street. The patients themselves also need to do an active role in ensuring they get better.
But if the doctors or therapists they’re dealing with aren’t compassionate about them, then it’s no surprise patient engagement is going to be poor.
If you’ve noticed this with your patients, it doesn’t hurt to improve in this area by applying the tips enumerated above.