Doctors and patients don’t communicate well, at least according to a recent poll released at the World Diabetes Congress of the International Diabetes Federation in Australia. The trouble with the perceived results is the simple fact that a better doctor-patient relationship leads to better care, better outcomes, and increased patient satisfaction. But according to the study, only 29% of polled patients said their healthcare teams asked their opinion on treatment regimens.
In addition to the findings was the fact that 84% of polled healthcare professionals said it would be helpful if their patients prepared questions in advance of the consultation.
Doctor-Patient Communication and Health Outcomes
At Quaintise, we feel that there are many, many strategies to improving doctor-patient communication, and thus improving patient satisfaction.
Research clearly shows that effective clinician-patient communication is correlated with desired health outcomes. Major review studies3-5 have systematically examined the body of evidence accumulated over the past several decades. In most of these studies, interventions were designed to improve clinician-patient communication and thus improve health outcomes such as symptom resolution (eg, control of headaches), functioning (eg, asthma functioning), physiologic measures (eg, blood pressure, blood sugar level), pain control (eg, cancer pain, dental pain), or emotional status (eg, mood, anxiety). More than half the studies showed a link between effective clinician-patient communication and improved health outcomes.3-5
Your 2014 marketing plans must absolutely include increasing doctor-patient communication on the digital realm with blogging, social media and email. With these three aspects, you can increase transparency, increase credibility, and, most importantly, increase availability and ease of access for your patients.
If social media and blogs in the U.S reach nearly 80 percent of active U.S. Internet users and represent the majority of Americans’ time online (MediaPost) then why aren’t physicians taking advantage of the opportunity to reach their patients where they already are? – Healthcare Communication News
According to recent research collected by The Spark Report, only 26% of all hospitals in the U.S. participate in social media. Below are some key statistics from that report:
- Of that very small percentage, 84% use Facebook, 46% use Youtube, 64% use Twitter and only 12% of that 26% utilize blogging to improve communication with patients.
- Amazingly, the research goes on to say that 60% of the doctors who use social media admit that it improves the quality of care delivered to patients!
- 41% said social media would affect their choice of a specific doctor, hospital, or medical facility.
These numbers are remarkable considering how influential increased doctor-patient communication in the digital realm can impact overall patient satisfaction and health outcomes.
Capitalizing on Digital Doctor-Patient Communication in 2014
When adding social media, blogging and email to your healthcare marketing plans for 2014, consider the following tips from Quaintise experts:
- Education – Educate yourself and your staff on HIPPA guidelines for utilizing social media to answer patient health questions. Of course, you can always contract a team of HIPPA-social media experts like those at Quaintise.
- Transparency – The entire ideal behind launching a social media presence is to give your patients an inside look at your brand and direct communication with your staff at any time.
- Availability – Consider Live Physician Chats, custom Q&A Facebook Tabs, Appointment Scheduling via social media, and staff guidelines for quick responses to patient health questions. The purpose of this new social media endeavor is to increase doctor-patient communication, not create another opportunity for your patients to get lost in the mix.
- Anticipate Health Concerns – Be one step ahead of the health field in your area, and create campaigns with content and social media updates that educate and inform patients before they come to you with questions. For example, is it allergy season or flu season? Consider blogs and social media updates that communicate with your patients and answer those repeatedly asked questions in a timely fashion.
If you have not added social media to your 2014 marketing plans, what are you waiting for? Contact Quaintise today!