In an age where patients rather consult sites with automated symptom checkers than sit down in front of a trained professional how can a physician put their face in front of patients’ once more? Simple: GET BEHIND THEIR SCREEN!
Here are three starter tips to increase patient engagement.
Patient Engagement Tip 1: Use CRM
The modern physician finds a natural way to be a part of the family. This may mean keeping the lab coat on a few hours after close, but will pay off in more patients. Customer relationship
management (CRM) technology allows for automated data flow that queues practitioners in to a potential need for patients. CRM could be used to create automated task reminders for based on life events that come up for individual patients. For example: the school year is coming up, remind patients with children about vaccinations. Even better, remind patients of vaccinations and include offers that are exclusive to members of a practice. This increases the chance that patients will come back with their kids instead of going to a minute clinic.
Patient Engagement Tip 2: Join the Conversation
Once the physician has access to technology they will need an organizational and digital strategy. The organizational strategy should include ways to market, integrate technology and service lines to the patient. The digital strategy consists of content for a website, mobile apps and social media. Again, data and metrics should be integral to these strategies.
One example of how the doctor could contribute to patient conversation is by observing simple trends in social media. Why are sites like BuzzFeed so popular? The Answer: Online quizzes. The patient is curious about how much they know about both themselves and the world around them. This includes their health. By simple utilizing Facebook to post quizzes such as, “How Active is Your Lifestyle?” or “How Much Do you Really Know About Diet and Exercise?,” the doctor can be part of the online conversation that relates to nutrition, obesity, heart health etc. When a patient scores low, perhaps the physician could post a link at the end for a follow up conversation on the areas the patient scores lowest in. These quizzes will also allow for more measurable data. For example, if there is a trend of low scores for quizzes in cardiovascular health, post an article on your blog. The blog post should also have links via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. Patients are more likely to read this than they are your next article in a health magazine because they are already on these sites anyway.
Patient Engagement Tip 3: Be Social
Many patients would be lying if they said they haven’t looked one or more of their doctors up on Facebook or searched for ratings online. Everyone wants to know what they’re about to walk into. Doctors should insure they have positive reviews out on the web, a pleasant picture posted on Facebook and at least a simple website that details patient services and a good mission statement. A patient portal on the practice site which allows patients to store their health information, sign in to the clinic and possibly send two-way messaging between themselves and employees allows for better connections.
Become familiar with trends in technology and use them to your advantage. If patients are consuming it, the physician should have a part in the production process.