Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Guide to Improving your Patient Interaction and Outreach

Technology enables, but man disables by not taking advantage of opportunities given to him. As a Physicians today, you have many key touch points to increase and consequently improve your interactions with patients. Some are simple methods, some require a little bit of work, but what is the end advantage of it all? For one thing it makes you popular amongst patients;  and the side effect could lead you to get more business.

Second it helps educate and provide information to patients and people who may read just what they need, thanks to you! A little help goes a long way in accumulating blessings.

Third, contributing to the general knowledge resource of the community improves the very community you are part off, it encourages others to follow suit.

So now what do you need to do?

1. Reach out to many in the general audience: Start writing, the internet lets you update and express views, either as 160 character bursts on twitter, or a long blog detailing your experience.

Twitter: On twitter you can start putting up bursts of interesting cases you see, new techniques you here about, information about your local medical network which may help people in your area! Go onto www.twitter.com, register yourself and type away.

Blogging: Doing a lot of research which you think people should here about, or have an opinion which potential patients should here about, blog about it. Many people will find it online as they search for an information panacea for their problem and be happy to come across your blog.

2. Create a mechanism such that people can contact you: For a start, get a practice website. It helps you disseminate information about your services for people looking for the same. It isn’t advertising, it’s a service, people today face many choices and are hampered by lack of information, improving their ability to find information quickly is beneficial to them.

On your website, don’t only talk about you, tell the patients more about what diseases and disabilities you treat, what are the latest treatments, generic advice and maybe even help them going to right person if you weren’t involved.

Use tools like interactive patient forms which can be filled before the patient arrives at the center, saving time and giving you a heads up on the patient’s needs. Use query forms on the website so that people can ask you about their problems, patients their doubts; this gives the feeling to your patients that you are available to them 24/7 without actually being there. Technical Doctor encourages doctors to have their own websites through their initiative http://www.technicaldr.com/tdr/websites-for-doctors. We also offer advice and consulting to help your website create the best impact on your patients and potential clients.

3. Using Software tools: Use softwares which improve communications. Invest in software which doesn’t just keep your records and accounts. The software should come with communications tools integrated and can be used with ease. Emailing of schedules and reports to patients is a must.

The software should also allow using SMSes to send reminders, alerts, prescription reminders etc. This is a new level of service, and patients will be thrilled to know there is always an alert to give them confidence in their moments of doubt.

Online Medical records allow patients to access their records remotely, insist on looking at software which promotes this feature if not today, but at least is compatible with this extension in the future. Technical Doctor provides EMR software products which come coupled with email, SMS and online EMRs. We encourage doctors to use these services to improve their service quality. You can see our products on http://www.technicaldr.com

4. Accessing data and messages on your phone: Today you may be using you phone to send SMSs, read emails and play games online. Why stop there, use it to drive business wherever you are. Neat and simple apps provide you fingertip information, coupled with your own website, or software they can become powerful tools in your hands to handle patients remotely.

Access patient alerts via the phone or your actual software to pull up data remotely. Technical Doctor already has a suite of products and apps which can run on phone browsers.

5. Contribute to journals and medical website online: Numerous sources are present where doctors submit their stories, research and experiences. The medical and patient community will be greatly benefited by your inputs, a little effort online will show you exactly where you should be adding your data.

6. Using new cool online tools to make education interesting: Nowadays making a presentation, cartoon strip or a cartoon movie to help educate your patients or interested clients is easy. Many tools are available online which let you render very interesting collaterals that can help ease patient doubts and also make it fun. Tools like www.bitstrips.com which we use to make cartoons helps in creating awareness in an educational yet informal way. Putting these up on your clinic facebook page or on your website is the best option.

These are just some pointers on how technology can help you as a doctor to interact with patients and also general public looking for information in your areas of expertise. It’s time to exercise your power using technology, so see you out there soon.


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