Whether you are a medical student or a healthcare professional, it should be obvious from the outset that one factor can guarantee your success in this profession, and that is patient satisfaction. This one factor can literally make or break careers. Nowadays, patient dissatisfaction can result in law suits, harmed reputations or worse.
This is why it is all the more important for physicians and other health professionals to ensure that patients leave satisfied. However, earning this satisfaction doesn’t always come easy.
According to a study conducted to gauge patient satisfaction levels, only 17% of senior healthcare staff provides patients with relevant information about their medical research while 44% of patients want to know more.
If you’re worried about satisfying your patients to the best of your ability, then this fact sheet will guide you on some tried and tested methods to deal with patients’ expectations as a doctor.
1. Understanding patients’ expectations
Understanding their expectations didn’t carry much weight in the old times compared to now. Back then, patient expectation wasn’t even in the picture. Doctors just assumed they were carrying out a good job. But in modern times as medicine and technology has advanced, people have started to become more curious about health-related issues, diagnosis, medications, it’s effects on their bodies and so on. The internet has created widespread awareness and information related to every conceivable thing is widely available at the click of a button.
This is one reason why patients’ expectations are also changing with time. Many different technologies such as John Hopkins ABX guide and Red Cross first aid now exist to help patients understand their illnesses better and at times even diagnose themselves.
It is crucial for doctors to develop a strong relationship with their patients and provide them as much information as possible about their illness and symptoms. Keeping patients in the dark is never a good idea. It is also advisable never to use medical terms as it will only make it hard for the patient to understand. A lack of communication is one of the most obvious factors contributing to patient dissatisfaction.
2. Doctors should be reachable at all times
Imagine how difficult it becomes for patients when they fail to reach their specialists in case of emergencies. In old times, the accessibility to doctors was low as compared to now, but this trend is still pretty slow to change.
Doctors previously used to go on vacations, having an answering machine handle all of their patients’ requests, both normal and urgent. Things are quite different now and patients prefer doctors who can be easily accessible when needed, instead of those who never seem to be available for appointments.
Thanks to the advancement in technology and the development of apps like Zocdoc and MDlive, patients can now get access to doctors nearby and doctors can also have access to more patients immediately by registering themselves on these apps.
3. Patient’s care should be personalized
Today, it’s not enough to diagnose a disease and treat it. Patients are expecting doctors and other medical professionals to give them personalized attention. This means, doctors now have to apply emotional intelligence too when dealing with patients. They have to understand patient needs and expectations, which vary from person to person, and deliver accordingly.
Doctors should take a much more comprehensive approach to personalization of patient care by getting a better understanding of the patient’s medical records, medication use and family history.
To make this task easier, software such as Medisoft exist to provide a management solution for patient record keeping. Doctors can revert back to these records for a better understanding of the patient’s symptoms and provide a much more accurate diagnosis more swiftly.
4. Care Coordination of doctors
There are times when instructions can get ambiguous and lead to frustration when two or more doctors are involved in diagnosing a patient. On the other hand, patients expect the medical staff to coordinate with each other so they are on the same page about precautions and medications, and provide a uniform system of care.
As a healthcare provider, it is important to promote care coordination, and provide patients with a safe environment by omitting the chance of mistakes.
These are a few of the ways by which doctors, hospital managements and other healthcare providers can handle patients’ expectations better. Applying these four will lead to increased patient satisfaction and they will come back to your institute each time they need professional help.