The connection between doctors and their patients is one of the most important – and often underrated! – aspects of successful healthcare. Don’t believe what the television drama House may have relayed to you – a curmudgeonly lack of communication with a patient is more likely to get the patient killed than it is to save them!
Good doctors are always looking for ways to improve the communication between them and the patient. Unfortunately, this special bond – and it should be seen as just that – seems to be becoming more tenuous and less of a focus in modern healthcare. And, let’s face it, who can blame the doctors? While there are certainly some who could be putting in a little more effort, on the whole these doctors are incredibly over-worked. There are more and more patients to deal with all the time – and the number of doctors are on the decrease.
How do we strengthen communication in this field while also saving precious time? Well, think about it: how do we do this in any other industry? The answer can be found with the Internet. By using the Internet wisely, doctors – and, of course, the owners of particular practices whose duty it usually is to implement these sorts of things – can improve the connection between themselves and their patients.
The first thing to do is to take a look at your website. A lot of healthcare professionals make the mistake of having a rudimentary website that features not much more than a few stock photos, an address, the name of the doctors, and the opening times of the practice. Sure, this is vital information. But you should take things further.
Patients should have a means by which they can actually reach out to you through the website. Including phone numbers is certainly a step in the right direction, but including some form of instant messaging service through the website, or a simple email infrastructure, can be even better. Of course, you need to make sure that patients can actually find your website – many actually have trouble because the word about the website simply isn’t going around. Look into search engine optimization that is tailored to your specific practice. There’s oncologist SEO, dermatologist SEO, gynecologist SEO; you name it.
Telemedicine is also something you should be considering for your practice. This is the implementation of Internet communication – instant messaging, video chat, etc. – to hold appointments with your patients. Some may think that this would negatively affect the connection between a doctor and a patient – isn’t it a little impersonal, after all? But telemedicine not only increases the amount of patients you can actually communicate with. It also helps save doctors time, allowing them to have more detailed discussions with more patients in a given amount of time.
The Internet is known all over as a brilliant way of connecting people. It’s time for healthcare professionals to stop ignoring its incredible potential and to use it to strengthen the connections between doctors and patients. After all, it’s the sort of connection that can save lives.