When you commit to improving the doctor-patient relationship, you empower patients to become more involved and invested in their own healthcare journey. This creates higher patient satisfaction rates and better health outcomes, helping free up resources within your hospital or Trust.
Strengthening the doctor-patient relationship can benefit patients, healthcare professionals and Trusts, especially with the use of technology, but how do you work to improve this relationship?
- Listen to Your Patients and Personalise Their Care
- Improve Their Experience
- Work With Them and Get Feedback
- Communicate on Their Terms
1. Listen to Your Patients and Personalise Their Care
If patients feel they aren’t being listened to, they’re less likely to be engaged in their own care. This may lead to them not taking a healthcare professional’s advice or actively taking the steps they need to manage or repair what ails them. Enhance the doctor-patient relationship by personalising care from start to finish.
This means giving people the choice and control over how their care is planned and delivered. And, most importantly, how it's delivered to them. This promotes independence and empowers patients from the get-go. Patients want to be listened to. They want bespoke communications and services to cater to their individual needs and they want to play an active role in bettering their health.
By making improvements, such as providing timely education, regular feedback surveys and keeping patients updated with technology, you're more likely to improve the doctor-patient relationship while engaging patients further in their healthcare outcomes.
At Digital Health’s Rewired conference in March 2021, the Secretary of State for Health, Matt Hancock, noted the importance of encouraging a patient-led healthcare journey post-COVID and utilising digital tools in allowing that to happen. This journey starts with patient engagement and gives them the means and resources to become actively involved in their care.
2. Improve Their Experience
Patient experience is key. If a patient is waiting around for too long before somebody tends to them or they feel like they're out of the loop, then improving this relationship is likely to be an uphill battle. Focus on shortening wait times, improving the check-in experience, making it easy to find where they need to go, or providing something for them to do will build towards a more positive patient experience.
Some of the key ways you can do this are by giving them the ability to check-in for their appointment easily. Technology solutions can make it easier for patients to navigate the Trust, online maps and a reliable connection to the outside world through the power of their smartphone is a great place to start.
A Patient Engagement Platform allows your patients to do exactly that. They will have access to secure, fast WiFi with a personalised interface, where you can give them access to a range of tools to improve their experience.
Similarly, in-patients recovering or being treated on a ward can often feel agitated and isolated during their stay. A robust, free media package to keep them entertained and keep their minds active, as well as the ability to stay in touch with the outside world through WiFi, are two ways in which their experience can be improved. This will also actively increase their satisfaction and willingness to cooperate or collaborate.
To build on the relationship further, allow patients to take control of their own healthcare. If patients aren't familiar with their treatments, conditions and health issues, how are they expected to know how to aid their own recovery?
When using a market-leading system, this lessens the need for leaflets and posters that might not be accessible for all patients. Instead, when patients join the facility’s WiFi, they can be met by a homepage giving them links to accurate information on care as well as updates on the hospital or Trust.
This could be in the form of suggested wellness sites or educational health videos. Staff no longer need to be handing out physical marketing, it's just a click away and can be revisited time and time again at the patient's own pace.
By having this information available on their personal device, and utilising NHS online resources such as the NHS Apps Library, visitors will be less frustrated as patients won't need to learn how to operate a new system. Ultimately, being better informed and engaged makes the relationship better.
3. Work With Them and Get Feedback
Communicating with patients is made much easier through the implementation of technology. Patients want to feel included in the decisions that affect their health and there are many solutions available to help them exercise their autonomy.
Working together in collaboration with a patient to find solutions that achieve the intended goal is mutually beneficial, for both them and the healthcare professionals. Getting feedback presents recognition of individualistic care, patients can be reminded that you're encouraging their recovery and also allows for accountability, ensuring patients remain on track. To improve patient care and the relationship, ensure you get comprehensive feedback from everyone involved.
This feedback can be gained from surveys either pre-designed or custom built for the Trust and accessible via any web-enabled device. They would be included in a patient engagement platform and made available to all patients using the WiFi.
The current doctor-patient relationship might be hindered by manual feedback methods. Often forgotten about, there's never been a right time to ask for the feedback needed for improvements. To combat this, use an intelligent patient engagement system to prompt patients at critical points during their stay. The insights you receive here will shape valuable decisions in the future.
It means they can fill this out when they're most comfortable. When you receive these insights and make improvements, make sure to communicate them back to your patients. By making them feel heard and valued, they'll be more engaged and their relationship with you will become more collaborative.
4. Communicate on Their Terms
Just like every healthcare professional is different, so is every patient. Communicate with your patients on their own level and terms.
Things to consider when communicating with patients in a way that best suits them are their age, their language or mode of communication and their capacity for communication. If you already have legacy systems in place, ask yourself do they support live transcribe services? This is essential for presenting information in different ways that might better resonate with patients who have difficulty hearing or with sight.
More often than not, communicating on a patient's terms means getting them to use digital healthcare services. In fact, a McKinsey patient survey found more than 75% of all patients would like to use one, allowing them to have an active role and access to self-care. This will enable them to understand health information on their own terms.
In the long-term, this results in better doctor-patient relationships and even more innovation for the future with the patient at the forefront. When improvements are made, make sure to communicate that back to those most impacted by the changes. Feeling heard and valued is essential for a patient and doctor relationship.
A lot of the ways you can improve patient engagement is through using a human approach to tech solutions. Trusts like yours can benefit from solutions, but which is the right one for you? If you want to alleviate the challenges you face and implement a tailored outcome and put your patients at the heart of healthcare, be sure to take our quiz below.
Finding Your Ideal Solution
With a tailored solution that puts patients back at the heart of healthcare, you can overcome almost any obstacle. Finding the right solution can be difficult, but we’ve created a quiz to help identify your Trust’s biggest patient challenges and find the right platform to help you overcome them.
Take the quiz by clicking the banner below and transform how you deliver healthcare.