What exactly is patient relationship management? There are any number of definitions, but primarily it is the ability to establish and maintain a healthy, interactive relationship between a healthcare provider and their patients with the aim of improving patient health and well-being.
Access to the Internet:
With the expansion of the Internet and the growth of healthcare websites, apps, and digital applications, the opportunity to engage your patients has grown exponentially. Patients extensively turn to social media and other digital platforms to research concerns, possible treatments, and other information related to their health. Connecting to your patients online provides added convenience, which patients truly value. It can also help to increase your number of appointments, which then increases profits for your practice.
Education is Key:
Improving your patient relationship management is not only beneficial for your practice, it is very beneficial to your patients’ long-term care. Patients who are well informed are motivated to make better choices about their own healthcare. They want to improve the quality of their lives on a daily basis instead of waiting for a health crisis to turn their attention to their own care.
The majority of your patients have smartphones and are already using them to find information on their health. To facilitate their education, be sure you regularly post articles, tips, blogs, and messages that your patients can access from your website or through a patient portal. This allows you to stay in contact with your patients even when they don’t have a scheduled appointment. It builds loyalty, and it also helps build a positive reputation for your practice and for you.
Social networks are another way to provide educational information as well as build and manage your online reputation. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and others allow you to connect with your patients, provide visibility and transparency about your practice, and disseminate timely and accurate information about issues your patients are talking about. Social media allows you to post videos, reply to questions, and share information that engages your patients in important issues.
Another excellent aspect to social media is the opportunity for your patients to post comments and reviews about you and your practice. Patient reviews are critical to growing your practice, and with smartphone technology, they are easy for your patients to record and upload to your social media sites. Encouraging your patients to review your practice not only fosters openness that is guaranteed to improve relationships with them, but also opens the door to new patients who are looking for a practice like yours. Better than 70 percent of people use their smartphones to research new physicians and healthcare information. Make sure your site is easy to find and filled with excellent information for them.
Make It a Dialog:
Patient relationship management is all about communication, and communication is a dialog. You need to respond to comments and reviews, just like you’d respond in a face-to-face conversation. Patients who take the time to post on your social media sites want to know they’ve been heard - just as if they were in your office. A quick and targeted response lets them know that, not only did you hear, but that you care. Of the patients who leave a practice to find a new care provider, 70 percent will leave because they feel they’re not appreciated.
When you engage patients online, you have 24-hour access to them. By providing educational information and the opportunity for them to ask questions or comment on your practice, you show them that you care, but more importantly, that they matter to you.
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