At the center of engagement is successful communications. Whether you are focusing on growing your medical practice, acquiring new patients, or retaining the existing ones — effectively communicating with patients will help you achieve your goals.
If you can’t communicate the severity of the disease to patients, or how your treatment will help them, how are patients ever supposed to trust you? If they can’t trust you, they’ll go somewhere else.
Research shows that 77% of consumers use online reviews as the first step in finding a new physician–whether on public sites like Google My Business and Healthgrades, websites managed by provider practices, or sites facilitated by health plans for their members.
So one big question facing medical practitioners in this digitally connected world is: how can I improve communication with my patients?
“Almost 80% of medical errors involve miscommunication between providers during the transfer of patients.”
— Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare
1. Provider To Patient
Connect. Partner. Reflect.
“Connect” emphasizes introducing yourself and your role, asking patients and family members how they would like to be addressed, acknowledging patients’ medical history, and encouraging them to use the communication board.
“Partner” includes asking specific but open-ended questions, engaging the patient and their family members, and explaining concepts in writing or diagrams on the patient communication board.
“Reflect” is an opportunity to summarize key points and ask for understanding, as well as to ask patients what they want to address before the next visit and to explain the next steps.
— VIA HOPKINS INSIDER
Involving leaders to create a culture change inspires unity and is more effective. People like to see and
hear how their executives and managers are inspired or challenged. Ask them to share their successes (and obstacles) at team meetings or company events!
2. Employee To Third Party
Poor team communication creates medical errors. These errors have the potential to cause injury or even unexpected patient death. Medical errors, especially those caused by a failure to communicate, are a huge problem in today’s health care organizations.
Developing and implementing a standard set of behavior policies and procedures is vital. These policies need to be consistent and universally applied.
The healthcare industry relies on research to create and improve tools and procedures. However, some third-party researchers — such as those who work for private companies or pharmaceutical labs — are reluctant to share their findings with providers because of competitive pressures in their industries. Lack of access to the latest research can stall medical advancement, waste funding, and negatively impact health outcomes, according to an article published by Forbes.
Employee to the third party is an example of when the practice refers to an outside specialist. This is a point where communication errors occur, like when a generalist refers to a specialist surgeon but doesn’t communicate the proper problems, and the wrong tooth gets treated in error.
3. Employee To Patient
Patients expect to be the sole focus when it’s their turn to be seen might also add that they care about successful treatment outcomes. . Pediatric surgeon, Alejandro Garcia, suggests that even if you only have a few minutes, ask the patient what their top concerns are at that moment, and be sure to address those concerns completely.
Issues around gender differences in communication styles, values, and expectations are common in all workplace situations. In the healthcare industry, where most physicians identify as male and most nurses identify as female, communication problems can be further accentuated by gender differences.
The best way to improve the patient experience, boost satisfaction and build trust with patients is to self-evaluate your communication style and systems. Make improvements where needed and remember to share those lessons with your staff. Not only does this cut down on costs for both the provider and the patient, but it also creates a seamless communication experience for everyone involved.
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Done Desk also offers a CE course on sources of patient dissatisfaction. Training is centered on setting the right expectations from the start and then making sure you hit those expectations.
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