Challenges Your Clinic Website May Be Facing & How to Tackle Them
Why the Patients in Your Clinic Should Be Your Priority
Table of Contents[+][-]
- Why Is it Important to Build Strong Patient Relationships?
- What Are Some Challenges in Building Doctor-Patient Relationships?
- How Can You Understand What Patients Want & Need?
- What Are Some Key Factors in Building Strong Doctor-Patient Relationships?
- What Are Some Strategies That Can Be Used to Foster Strong Patient Relationships?
In this new age where consumers have high expectations for products and services, we must understand that we live in an “on-demand” era. This has impacted every industry, and healthcare is no exception.
One of the most challenging obstacles in healthcare is establishing strong patient relationships and actively keeping that relationship alive. Healthcare brands and organisations need to shift and implement new strategies to improve, access, and personalise their services to build stronger patient relationships.
Moreover, a healthy doctor-patient relationship has many benefits, such as higher patient satisfaction, increased compliance to treatment plans, and improved outcomes.
Why Is it Important to Build Strong Patient Relationships?
A strong patient relationship is required for clinics to stand out from the competition. Your priority remains reaching and helping patients who need your services, and a solid doctor-patient relationship will aid you in doing this effectively.
Secondly, this enables healthcare providers to better understand a patients’ needs. Likewise, it improves the performance of specific organisations, allowing them to identify opportunities to provide value throughout the patient’s healthcare journey. Building a solid patient relationship is crucial to the success of healthcare practices, and it adds to brand loyalty.
What Are Some Challenges in Building Doctor-Patient Relationships?
Admittedly, it can be challenging for clinics and healthcare organisations to build and maintain doctor-patient relationships as the competition amongst healthcare providers is substantial. New technologies involved in customer care, advertising strategies, and brand building models have changed customer expectations across the board.
For a clinic to maintain brand loyalty, it is essential to understand these new strategies and technologies to retain patients. With many practitioners focusing solely on treating and healing patients, the healthcare niche has been slow to keep up with these advancements.
Keep in mind that if patients return to your clinic, it does not necessarily equate to loyalty. Patients may be bound to a specific clinic or organisation due to their insurance plans or providers. This is why we stress the importance of forming and nurturing strong doctor-patient relationships.
How Can You Understand What Patients Want & Need?
Patient satisfaction is an essential outcome of patient engagement, and it is a building block in formulating these relationships. By checking in with your patients and measuring their level of satisfaction, you can make notes of areas that need improvement or adjustments.
The primary challenge here is truly understanding what is important to your patients. Are your patients eager to see qualifications and accreditations, do they look for clinics with the latest technologies, or are they looking for a doctor who engages with and listens to their concerns?
We may forget to view our patients as people. It may feel natural to want to treat and manage the conditions faced by your patients and send them on their way. However, seeing your patient as a human being can often help you decipher what they are looking for in a long-term healthcare provider.
What Are Some Key Factors in Building Strong Doctor-Patient Relationships?
While it may seem obvious, care is the foundation of patient treatment. As a doctor, you naturally care for your patients and their well-being. However, beyond that, healthcare providers must care about their patients’ opinions and preferences.
Check in with patients and ask what concerns they may be facing regarding the treatment plans you have recommended. Ensure that you have created a safe space for your patients, one where they feel comfortable enough to express any worries or anxieties they may be having.
Once your patients feel safe, comfortable, and heard, they are more likely to return to your clinic and recommend you to others who may benefit from your services.
In an industry such as healthcare, where the competition is saturated, convenience plays a crucial role in a patient’s decision to seek treatment with one clinic over another.
However, convenience may not always be within your control as it encompasses factors such as your clinic’s location and your proximity to the patient. Clinics and healthcare organisations can, however, focus their efforts on ensuring that their booking and follow-up system is easy to understand and use.
Similar to that of convenience, access refers to how easy or difficult it is for a patient to reach your services. Where possible, ensure that your opening hours allow your patients to get in touch with you when they need you.
Telehealth and telemedicine are quickly becoming sustainable options to fill the gap between opening hours. It is a way for you to make yourself available to your patients outside of regular opening hours. This can be beneficial to many who may not always have the time to visit your clinic.
When it comes to ranking for your desired keywords, moderation is the way to go. The excessive use of keywords in blogs or content can hurt your visibility instead of promoting it. Be mindful of keyword stuffing, and remember that links should be used moderately.
Needless optimisation also includes using irrelevant information or terms and the repetitive use of Heading 1 text within a page. Reserve Heading 1 text for titles or necessary headers, which help break up your content.
What Are Some Strategies That Can Be Used to Foster Strong Patient Relationships?
While there are many different strategies that healthcare organisations and clinics can choose to implement to foster doctor-patient relationships, you should choose your strategy according to your patient demographic.
To determine which methods could work for your clinic, take some time to speak to your patients and analyse what they deem to be of importance. Here are some ways you can go about doing this:
Ask Patients What They Need
What better way to figure out what your patients are looking for than to ask them? Go right to the source and provide your patients with the means to let you know what they are looking for and what works for them.
This can be done through surveys or by encouraging your patients to leave patient feedback where possible. This method allows you here directly from your patients, allowing you to bridge the gap, if any.
Put Yourself in Your Patients’ Shoes
Another way you can accurately get to know what your patients are looking for is to put yourself in their shoes. Consider each step involved in setting up and attending an appointment at your clinic. Is this process easy, or are there roadblocks that patients might face along the way?
You can also go the extra mile for your patients by taking the time to send them reminders. Appointments may be weeks or even months apart. Adding the simple step of having your clinic staff reach out with reminders can leave a lasting impression on your patients. Think of all the ways you can make this process smooth and accessible.
Restructure Your System (If Necessary)
If it has been a substantial period since you have analysed your system and processes, it may be time for restructuring. It is essential that healthcare organisations and clinics adapt with technology and its trends.
This is the time to restructure your system and operations for scheduling and other intake processes if needed.
Don’t Forget the Human Element (Check-In With Your Patients)
Keep in contact with your patients after the appointments—Check in with your patient’s from time to time. Patients today are busy and distracted. By checking in, you not only show them that you care for them and their well-being, but you also remind them of the experience they had with you.
The bottom line is that building and maintaining strong patient relationships can be achieved. While it may require some time and effort on your part, it is not impossible. Clinics and healthcare organisations must be willing to change with the times and work towards constantly updating their idea of patient satisfaction. The easiest way to succeed is to ensure that you grow and evolve with your patients.