The Surprising Way Patient Education Improves Efficiency
February 3, 2017
I’ve talked at length about how important patient education is for your company and your brand. While building brand awareness is important, it’s not the real win for your company.
The real win is keeping physicians and patients happy by empowering them with the right educational materials.
Whether we like it or not, medicine is becoming more commercialized. Medical practices need to think of themselves as businesses if they want to stay afloat. They need to keep their “customers” (aka patients) happy if they want to maintain a steady flow of business in the form of appointments.
How does your patient education fit into this equation? I’ll explain.
How Patient Education Keeps Physicians Happy
With the commercialization of medicine, physicians are having to contend with factors that they didn’t have to worry about in the past. Providing good medical care is still of the utmost importance, but it is no longer the only thing physicians have to worry about.
As patients gain greater access to health insurance and online resources, they are becoming more aware of their options in healthcare. They are no longer relying solely on word of mouth or a referral from a primary care physician. As a result, physicians have had to shift their strategies to treat their practices more like other service-based businesses. This is a topic we cover often on our physician marketing blog for our P3 Inbound marketing platform.
Excellent medical care is the top priority, but physicians need to think about the entire patient experience if they want to maintain or grow their practices. Now that patients have more options, they expect to be well taken care of from the moment they set up an appointment.
Patients expect the office staff to be friendly and helpful, and they expect to be seen promptly. They also expect that they will be provided with all of the information they need to make their own medical decisions.
If their expectations are not met, many patients will take their “business” elsewhere and find a new physician. Some even go a step further and post about their experiences on review sites. If you look at many of the negative reviews for physicians online, you’ll often see comments like “The office staff was rude,” or, “I had to wait over an hour to be seen!” or, “The doctor didn’t take the time to explain my diagnosis.”
This is where your patient education comes in. Well-written, comprehensive patient education can help physicians better explain a diagnosis. In turn, this can shorten their appointment times, allowing them to stick to the schedule. Your physicians will be happy because you’ve helped them save time, and you’ve helped them keep their patients happy.
How Patient Education Keeps Patients Happy
Well-informed patients are happy patients. Patients want to be actively involved in their healthcare, and they want to know more about their options. When you can provide your physicians with the tools they need to inform their patients, it’s a win for both the physicians and the patients.
Patients are seeking medical information that is accurate, thorough, and explains procedures and conditions in a language that they can understand. If your physicians are able to provide that information in a format that patients can refer back to throughout the treatment process, that provides real value for the patient. Patients know that they are getting information that they can trust, because it’s coming straight from their doctor.
If patient education saves time for physicians and helps them keep up with appointment times, that will also help to keep patients happy. In general, patients do not like having to wait 30 minutes to an hour after their appointment time to see the doctor—it makes them feel like the practice doesn’t value their time.
Physicians need to be able to keep their patients happy if they want to maintain their patient base. If your company can help to make that happen with your patient education, it’s a win for both the physician and your company. Most importantly, it’s a win for the patients, because they are able to get the information they need to make informed decisions about their health.
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