Whether you’re a permanent Family Practice physician or a temporary Emergency Medicine provider, patients seek your medical skills and knowledge for a quick recovery and hopeful routine checkup.
However, before you can provide quality care, you must earn your patients’ trust and overall confidence in your expertise. With that being said, here are 4 ways you, the facility, and the medical staff can earn patients’ trust on a daily basis.
1. Just like Nike’s “Just Do It” slogan, brand your own medical image!
There are so many means of communication in today’s world – from online reviews to apps, industry blogs, and, of course, the traditional word-of-mouth. This means that it is so much more important to build your reputation and pay close attention to how you are perceived as a provider or facility.
A great way to build and maintain your reputation is by telling a story or branding your own medical image. Start a blog, join various social media outlets, welcome comments, write industry publications, monitor reviews, and above all else: provide the best possible care to each patient.
2. Market your brand image cohesively.
As humans, we are visual by nature. As consumers, we thrive on consistent brand images. We know Coke because of its red color, classic font, and “open happiness” tagline. For patients, the same concept is applied: “Dr. X works at X facility with X medical staff in X city.”
While developing your overall brand, think about how you want to look, feel, sound, and act to your patients. If you’re a facility, what is the ambiance or culture you want to exude? How do you want your staff to engage with patients? As a physician, what type of doctor-patient communication style fits you best? Just remember – you must market your brand image cohesively or patients will feel misguided, and ultimately take their loyalty to another facility or provider.
3. Create a smooth patient experience.
How long is the patient wait time at the facility? Is the receptionist friendly and helpful? Does the provider address patient concerns in a timely manner after test results are in? These are just a few concerns that run across patients’ minds.
In order to build the trust of patients, it’s critical that providers and facilities create a smooth patient experience from the waiting room to the follow-up call. Have staff meetings to address patient worries such as wait times. Tidy up administrative paperwork and keep patient files in order. Clearly address location information and facility hours. Being preemptive and organized behind the scenes will allow you to provide the best patient care possible.
4. Treatment costs, online reviews, bad news, resources – be transparent.
Along with a seamless patient experience, transparency is critical in developing and maintaining patient trust. Just like other consumer services, patients want to know their options, the costs of medications and treatments, and the provider/facility’s overall reviews.
Develop a communication style that allows patients to think of you as their go-to source for information. Whether online or in person, be upfront about how much an x-ray will cost, provide resources about diabetes, highlight positive online reviews, and offer recommendations for specialty care if needed.
When a patient trusts you as a provider or facility, they’ll keep coming back (and recommend you) for the quality care you provide.