Every patient is different, but one thing they all have in common is their desire to be more educated about their care. Studies show that 72 percent of patients look online for healthcare information. We all know how easy it can be to do a quick internet search of our symptoms when we aren’t feeling well. And thanks to Dr. Google, a headache can be quickly self-diagnosed as something far more serious by reading just a few paragraphs on an outdated or incorrect website.
Patients are already looking online for their medical information, so why not make it easy for them?Creating an effective patient education program can not only lead to better outcomes for your patients, but also increase their loyalty toward your practice and bring in more revenue. But in order to make sure your patients (and you) are getting the most out of your educational plans, there are three aspects you need to consider: relevance, timing, and channel.
When deciding what information to include in your educational messages, it’s important to only send content that is relevant to your patients. If patients think they receive too many messages from you that don’t pertain to them, they will become irritated, and likely won’t open any message you send at all. This may seem overwhelming, and make you think that you need to carefully choose each piece of content you send, and make it general enough to apply to every single one of your patients. But really, it just means that not every patient should receive every message. With the help of patient relationship management (PRM) software, you can create groups of similar patients, and then target the educational content you send. These groups can be made based on:
- Treatment plan
- Any other demographic information you have
One example of this type of targeting is a set of newsletters written especially for new parents. As their baby grows, parents need to be aware of the milestones they can expect, as well vaccination schedules and well-child visits. When a parent schedules their child’s first visit at your practice, they will receive a newsletter about the developmental milestones and recommended vaccines for the babies younger than six months. PRM software can then automatically deliver additional newsletters with the new milestones and recommendations every six months for the first few years of the child’s life. This information won’t be beneficial for any of your patients without young kids, but it will be appreciated by those parents bringing their babies to your office.
Creating groups like this allows you to tailor the content sent to each patient, ensuring relevant information is delivered right to their inbox. Your patients can start seeing better outcomes from their own medical care, because they are getting accurate information, without having to spend the time searching the internet for it. Another way you can ensure your educational messages are well received is by asking your patients what kind of information they would like to get. During the check-in process you can give patients the opportunity to opt-in to receive messages on certain topics. You can also distribute surveys asking patients for their input on the types of material you create and send. Letting your patients play an active role in their healthcare education increases the likelihood they will open and read your messages.
This type of patient education program can also build their trust in you as a provider. Patients want to receive care from doctors who stay updated with the latest technology and procedures. Studies are being conducted every day, treatments are constantly improving, and diseases can be detected earlier than before if providers know what to look for. Showing your patients that you stay educated about new developments will make them more likely to follow your prescribed treatment, and see better results. And when patients see better results, their loyalty toward their provider increases.
To finish this free guide and learn about proper timing and channel for education, download it now.