Patient/Physician Relationship: More information = Better Experience

A recent study conducted at Vanderbilt, published in the Journal of Orthopaedic Trauma, provides interesting insight into the loyalty and overall satisfaction of patients.  The study revolved around the satisfaction of patients based upon the amount of information they knew about the physician prior to the appointment.  Overall, those given a bio card of the physician they were about to see ended up with higher levels of satisfaction than those without any previous knowledge about their physician. 

As marketers and administrators, these results bring up an interesting point; are we providing patients with sufficient information about our physicians?  There are a variety of avenues to present and provided further information relating to physicians.  Through the use of brochures, in-office signage, physician bio cards and even in pre-appointment paperwork.  There is also the ability to share this information online through a practice website, social media or blog.  Ensuring detailed information about physicians is posted on the practice website will allow patients, current and potential, to view facts about the physician’s education, training and specialties.  Through the more conversational environment on social media, practice’s can get their physicians to participate in more “Get to know the physician” type questions and allow patients to see further into the personality of the practice.  Involving physicians in a practice blog can also allow viewers to feel a greater connection to the physician and gain a better understanding of their demeanor and specialties.

Creating a relationship with patients is certainly not online carried out prior to an appointment; front office staff, nurses and physicians alike are all responsible for taking the time to welcome patients into the practice and take the necessary time required to make them feel at home.  Being on a more one-on-one level with patients, rather than talking down to them can create a sense of trust and make patients feel more welcome.  Engaging in side conversation and responding to patient cues will make them more likely to return due to the relationship they feel with the practice.

While we don’t have unlimited time to spend with all our patients, this study shows us taking the time to better educate patients and provide detailed information about the practice and providers can lead to more loyal patients with greater satisfaction.  As we all work to increase patient experiences and satisfaction, taking a more active approach will be necessary and will provide meaningful results and increased revenue!

Nov 2013
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