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A Better Patient-Provider Connection: How the internet can bring us closer together in the business world

A Better Patient-Provider Connection: How the internet can bring us closer together in the business world

As customers, we feel entitled to competence and integrity from the people we pay. We expect that experts will deliver quality at a fair cost, as they probably wouldn’t be in business if they didn’t. It’s other efforts, above and beyond the cost and quality, that inspire us to do more than just use their services. Its these other efforts that make us care about the experts we rely upon.

Doctors, in particular, stand to benefit greatly from these efforts, as the success of their practice so heavily relies on the patient’s level of comfort. The patient’s level of comfort, in turn, relies on a connection to the doctor who is prescribing their care.

That connection is built through familiarity, for one. With limited time for each patient in your busy schedule, the connection can suffer. This is why efforts to make yourself more familiar are highly valuable to your patients.

Trust is earned through such efforts, and that helps experts build ongoing relationships -- the kind of relationships that elevate a business. The most valuable sales leads you ever get, after all, are the customers you serve. Turning these “leads” into loyal customers takes a business to places it will never get by being competitive on cost, quality, and convenience alone.

One way to advance their trust in you is through a website. Websites are often seen by people as being impersonal. This is a stigma that we’re doing our best to bury because local business folks, and the people they serve, can greatly benefit from a personable website.

We maintain that the customer experience often begins with your website. In the case of doctors, patients can enter the office feeling like they already know their provider. Patients already familiar with you can become more familiar with you, something they’re going to think about when a new practice opens up across town that undercuts your rates, or offers conveniences you can’t such as a larger staff, flexible appointments, and earlier availability.

Examining the patient’s experience

Consulting a doctor can be a frustrating. For me, it has been frustrating more often than not, and the most frustrating part is that clinics I’ve had to rely on never seem to care about that.

I don’t particularly like going to the doctor. I don’t need to often, but when I do need to its usually urgent. I have to call and schedule an appointment, which is going to be expensive and require time out of my work day. The scheduling is usually inflexible and the doctor is usually not immediately available.

For me, not having a diagnosis is half of the problem. Once I know whats going on, I can get back to just managing whatever discomfort I’m having. Until then, I can barely think about anything else, let alone enjoy my day to day life.

All of this is only amplified if I have to get treatment from a provider I’ve never met. I don’t even know what that person is like, if they’re going to take my concerns about certain treatments seriously, if they’re going to truly listen to me about what’s going on, or if they’re going to just grasp the first explanation they can and rush off to their next patient. In short, I don’t know if I will be comfortable with them treating me, and the only way to find out is to meet them -- which is expensive and demanding, and might not even lead to a solution I’m comfortable with.

How well do you understand your patient’s experience?

What can you do to change it? A helpful way to understand it all is to look at if from the emotional experience that people have when they come to you. My doctor visits are usually marked by:

  • Frustration and unease over my symptoms
  • Frustration over the inconvenience and high cost of pursuing a solution
  • Relief that I will be seeing an expert who can help solve the problem
  • Concern that the first visit will not lead to diagnosis and effective treatment, especially if its a provider I’m not familiar with
  • Frustration over the fact that I have to pay big money just to meet somebody who will be treating me
  • Unease and frustration after the appointment, stemming from the huge investment I had to go through just for 5–10 minutes of time with somebody who is still, essentially, a total stranger
  • Unease and uncertainty if a doctor pressures me with a treatment and doesn’t seek to address my concerns about it

I understand that much of this is the nature of the business, but one thing that frustrates me more than all of the above (and this goes for any business) is a shrug or a reference to the way things are.I’m always going to choose an expert that demonstrates they care about my experience, even if they can’t fix it.

I don’t mean that the customer is always right. If they knew everything, they wouldn’t need a professional. What I mean is that by doing what we can (within reason) to improve the emotional experience, we can strengthen relationships and find success we wouldn’t otherwise have.

The fact is, much of the uncertainty, helplessness, pressure, and frustration that clients or patients have can be handled by you --- and addressing it has a ripple effect that you, too, will feel.

A personable website can help you earn a new level of trust

Count on searching patients using the internet. The internet makes it so quick and easy, there is simply no reason not to investigate before investing in something. What are they going to find when they search for you?

A bio shows that you care about your connection

This reliance on the internet creates an opportunity. If you make yourself available online, people can find a piece of your story there -- enough to start placing trust in you, because you appear to be a real person (not just a name and a title) who has essentially reached out to them and volunteered their information.

While you may not have time for all the chit chat your patients would like,publishing your story online can answer a ton of questions to a very broad audience, advancing the conversation ahead of time so that when you meet with your patients, a level of trust and comfort is already there.

A blog or newsletter helps you share more, for a deeper connection

I’m the kind of person that is going to check if they have a website and a bio, every time, especially with doctors. If I see a blog or newsletter while I’m there, I’m going to read at least one post to get a sense of the person behind it. I’m going to care, even if I know they didn’t write it themselves.

Running a blog is an investment you can make that demonstrates how much you value the patient-provider connection. Its being constantly updated,so it serves as an ongoing conversation to help your patients stay connected.

With a blog, you’re constantly adding new content, which makes your website more visible on search engines. The message you share can:

  • Address common concerns and FAQs, eliminating time wasted in addressing them over and over in person
  • Can get patients focused on other aspects of their health that you feel are important
  • Position them to understand your process (and limitations you might have), and thus get more out of their time with you
  • Prepare them for their appointment (and the experience they’re going to have) with you

You have a captive audience. Remember, people pay money to meet you and listen to you. You’re a doctor. Your opinion is highly sought after. A blog is a good way to put your wealth of knowledge to greater use, in a way that benefits you and your patients.

Websites are all about communication. Trust is also about communication. This is the basic tenet that makes websites so important for all types of businesses. The good news is, once online content is published, it automates that message to an unlimited number of people, without requiring any time or effort from you.

Inquisitek strives to make the online marketing process understandable and manageable for business leaders. To learn more about how you can grow your business with scalable internet solutions, fill out our simple hcontact form or contact the office at (360) 294-8310.