If you’re like most doctors, you understand the importance of strong patient relationships. After all, happy patients are more likely to stick with their treatment plans, refer their friends and family members to your office, and leave positive reviews online. We’ll go through seven suggestions to improve patient relationships in your office.
1. Get to Know Your Patients
One of the best ways to improve patient relationships is to get to know your patients personally. Take the time to learn about their interests, hobbies, and families.
This will make them feel more comfortable with you and help you better understand their needs and how you can best serve them.
Here are a few ideas for getting to know your patients:
- Send them a handwritten note after their appointment
- Ask them about their weekend plans during small talk before or after their appointment
- Get involved in community events that they might be interested in (e.g., sponsoring a team at a local charity softball game)
2. Communicate Effectively
Effective communication is one of the most important things in patient relationship management. Make sure you explain diagnoses, treatment options, and expectations clearly. Patients should never leave your office feeling confused or uncertain about what they need to do next.
If English is not your patient’s first language, consider using a professional translation service to help with important communications. This will help ensure that your patient understands your words and can make informed decisions about their care.
3. Show That You Care
Your patients need to know that you care about them as people, not just as another name on a chart. One way to show you care is by taking the time to listen to your patients—not just their words but also their tone of voice and body language.
This can be difficult to do when you’re pressed for time, but it’s important to make an effort. Patients who feel like they’re being heard are more likely to trust and respect their doctor.
It’s also important to be available to your patients when they need you. Consider offering extended office hours or 24/hour access to your patient portal for appointments, prescription refills, and test results.
You can also use an appointment reminders software to make everything more convenient for your patients.
4. Be Responsive to Their Needs
Your patients will have different needs and preferences, so it’s important to be responsive to those differences.
Some patients prefer longer appointments to ask more questions, while others prefer shorter appointments to get in and out quickly.
Some patients might want to be involved in every decision about their care, while others might prefer to leave the majority of the decision-making up to you. The key is to find out what each patient prefers and do your best to accommodate those preferences.
5. Be Transparent About Your Fees
Patients’ biggest complaints are that they feel like their doctor’s office is trying to nickel-and-dime them.
To avoid this, be upfront and transparent about your fees. Let patients know what services are covered by their insurance and what services they will need to pay for out-of-pocket. This way, there will be no surprises when it comes time to pay the bill.
Here are a few tips for being transparent about your fees:
- Give patients a complete breakdown of their insurance coverage before their appointment
- Have a clear and concise fee schedule that you can provide to patients upon request
- Send electronic bills that itemize each service provided and the associated cost
6. Offer Convenient Payment Options
In addition to being transparent about your fees, it’s also important to offer convenient payment options.
Patients should be able to pay their bills online, by phone, or in person—whichever is most convenient for them. You might also consider offering a payment plan for patients struggling to pay their bills in full.
7. Show Your Appreciation
Finally, don’t forget to show your patients how much you appreciate them. Send holiday cards, birthday cards, and thank-you notes.
Make a point to greet every patient by name when they come into the office. And if a patient refers someone new to your practice, send them a referral bonus.
Following these tips can improve your patient relationships and create a more positive experience for everyone involved.
When your patients are happy, they’re more likely to stay with you long-term and refer their friends and family to you.
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