24 Apr Why Patient Education is Important: Building Trust and Your Practice
Educating your patients is truly a proverbial “win-win” situation. Relationships between doctor and patient can be strengthened as trust is earned, patient health is improved, and it provides an opportunity for physicians to establish themselves as trusted authorities.
Patients appreciate being treated with respect and dislike feeling that they are being “talked down to.” A patient who is given educational information by a physician and feels better because of this information is much more likely to maintain the relationship.
Empowering patients with information relevant to their situation offers them the skills to manage their condition—or the condition of someone they are caring for—more effectively without direct supervision. They will also be aware of the signs of a worsening condition and can respond in a timely fashion by scheduling an office visit.
Patients and their caregivers frequently use the Internet to search for medical information—factual or otherwise, and plenty of laypeople are eager to share their opinions, however misguided they may be. Patient education provides an opportunity for dispelling potentially harmful misinformation and for showcasing a physician’s experience and knowledge.
Ways to Provide Valuable Patient Education
When faced with a chronic condition, the prospect of surgery, or even routine therapeutic care, patients usually have questions, and they want and need answers. Providing clear answers to these questions presents the opportunity for inspiring confidence in your abilities, and for improving the health of the patient.
Patient education can be carried forth in a variety of means, and a combination of resources is often the most effective way of establishing a connection.
Patient Education Online
According to Pew Research Center, “One in three American adults have gone online to figure out a medical condition.”
As a growing number of consumers search for answers online, your website content can be a valuable asset that inspires confidence, and keeps patients from becoming woefully misinformed. The Mayo Clinic provides an excellent example of providing information that won’t backfire.
Using FAQs to Answer Questions and Inspire Confidence
Answering questions that are asked repeatedly is another method of establishing your medical practice as a trusted authority. FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) can be addressed with website content, a blog post, brochures, or even simple paper handouts during an office visit. Physicians may know this type material like the back of their hand; however, patients don’t, and may not remember the answers to questions they asked during a visit.
Consumers searching for information such as “How long do I need to wear braces” or “What is vaginal prolapse ” can be directed to your FAQ content. FAQs are also an extremely helpful way to provide existing or potential patients with information on preparing for surgery and what to expect after the procedure.
Using Videos for Patient Education
Educational videos posted on your website, or in your lobby, can be both engaging and informative. They also offer an opportunity to establish you and your practice as having expertise with diagnosing and treating certain conditions.
Using eBooks to Educate Patients
“eBooks”—electronic materials—offer an additional means for educating patients. The beauty of eBooks is that they don’t require expensive printing, can be easily updated, and offer an interactive experience for the viewer. They can include graphics to support the content as well as links to reliable sources. eBooks can be featured on your website as available for downloading or online viewing, or they can be distributed on a flash drive stamped with your practice name, website and phone number.
I’m a Physician. Isn’t my time best spent treating patients?
Absolutely! And the more people you reach, the more people you can help.
However, most physicians lack the time, the interest, or the expertise to market their practice. That’s where we come in. The marketing professionals at the Healthcare Marketing Group can create a viable solution that is effectively and consistently on-target. We can help create and manage your message, allowing you to do what you do best: help people live healthier and more enjoyable lives.