Asking patients ‘what can I DO for you?’ is something most of us are comfortable with but when did you last step in their shoes and consider ‘what does my patient want?’
Yes of course they want something to be fixed or improved. They want your attention, eye contact and a safe space to share their problems confidentially with you – that fosters trust. But their needs don’t end the moment they step out of your clinic. Your care shouldn’t cease the moment that clinic door closes.
That patient could be a busy carer running from one job to the next. Someone who’s driving eight hours a day. A stressed-out mum who might only have time to think about her appointment with you tonight when she’s put the kids to bed and starts to worry about something she forgot to ask. “Please let her be a responsible Googler,” you’re thinking, followed by; “Just when do you expect me to do all this extra care?”
There are lots of ways you can help your patients in-between visits that you already have access to, and are probably already using, but could tweak for extra impact. Online appointment bookings for those who don’t have time to call in the day is a no-brainer. Save repeating yourself and precious time by providing links and FAQs about common conditions. Consider a way to support groups of patients with common health problems using social media.
The long term benefits far outweigh the initial effort. And if you’re struggling for time but still realise the benefits, you outsource some support from experienced healthcare communicators like us! Simples.
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