One of the ways in which you can create patient loyalty is through building a strong doctor-patient relationship. In this day and age of technology, one of the best ways in which doctors can foster a better relationship with their patients is through the use of the Internet and mobile applications.
The doctor-patient relationship is, as the name suggests, the relationship formed between a doctor and their patients. However, more than that, the relationship allows for the doctor to receive the information needed of the symptoms faced by a patient to make an accurate diagnosis.
It is the doctor’s responsibility in directing, effecting, and maintaining this therapeutic relationship while exhibiting a professional and ethical approach. This is of paramount importance as it lays the foundation for providing excellent care, encouraging healing, and improving treatment outcomes.
Like other relationships, communication is the solid foundation upon which a doctor to patient relationship is built. Considering the various technological changes, providers and doctors have to constantly adapt, especially in improving the doctor-patient relationship.
The main question you may be asking now is ‘how can I utilise these technological changes while maintaining the nature of care centred around the patients and their needs?’.
Patients can readily access their conditions, symptoms and treatment options online, allowing them to take ownership and become more involved in decision making regarding their health.
In this scenario, the patient changes the dynamics of a traditional doctor-patient relationship. However, while the Internet provides a plethora of information at a patient’s fingertips, there also exists an influx of misinformation and unreliable sources. You should still be your patient’s primary source of information.
On the other hand, with an increasing number of devices designed specifically to track and monitor a person’s vitals, communication of symptoms is dramatically enhanced. Doctors should harness the power of such trackers towards providing a more accurate diagnosis.
Additionally, the Internet has made teleconsultation a reality. Patients are able to access healthcare services remotely and with ease. Doctors should, once again, leverage these benefits that technology has made possible.
As we’ve already touched briefly on how certain technological advancements can help improve and foster stronger doctor-patient relationships, we will now explain how you can use specific platforms to strengthen these bonds with patients.
You now understand that the key factor of doctor-patient relationships is communication. Which platforms can you use to improve the communication and comfort levels between you and your patients?
Most of us are at least familiar with the text messaging application WhatsApp. It allows for text, audio, and video communication with the added safety of end-to-end encryption, meaning that your privacy is protected.
As a doctor, you can utilise an application that patients are already familiar with, such as WhatsApp, to check-in after consultation or treatment. It is an excellent tool to keep updated with your patient’s recovery and provide them with any additional care instructions.
Patients, on the other hand, may use WhatsApp to reach their doctor instantly. In the case that they need to ask urgent or essential questions regarding their treatment plan and even send the prognostic markers to their physicians.
Additionally, booking visits, consultations, or even follow-ups can quickly be done on WhatsApp. Training your clinic staff to handle bookings and forward patient questions to doctors is a simple yet effective way to utilise this tool.
With the various social media platforms available today, it can be challenging to decide which ones are for you. It will help to spend some time researching the platforms that your target audience frequent most often. Understanding your target audience can help you develop a more succinct marketing strategy.
Social media platforms can also be linked to your clinic’s website and vice-versa. By uploading articles and information on the services you provide, patients will grow to view you as an authoritative source. Posting these patient resources on social media channels, such as Facebook and Instagram allows you to reach more patients in need of your services.
While emails and newsletters still harness the power of the Internet, they are considered a slightly more traditional method of marketing your clinic. Once again, understanding the habits of your target audience will allow you to develop the most suitable marketing strategy for your clinic.
Emails and newsletters are not only an efficient way to reach your patients, but they also provide a two-way form of communication for your patients. Ensure that you are able to respond to patient queries in a timely manner.
Additionally, newsletters can be customised to address patients by name. Personalised emails show patients that you have curated the content they are receiving based on the conditions they have approached you with.
Newsletters can also be used to keep your patients updated with matters regarding your clinic. Essential updates to opening hours, new doctors, and other such content can be included in newsletters. Lastly, doctors can utilise newsletters to draw patients’ attention to patient resources and new articles that have been published on your clinic website.
The technology has made it possible for doctors to connect with patients remotely, which is an excellent way to stay in touch with patients after they have stepped out of your clinic. If used correctly, technology can be used to build and maintain stronger, more open doctor-patient relationships, which go a long way towards improving patient outcomes.