Patient engagement has been getting more and more attention lately, and for good reason—happy patients are more likely to come back to your practice, and they attract other patients through referrals and online reviews. How you engage with your patients is important to building your long-term relationship, and here we suggest six ways to increase patient engagement.

  1. Educate your patients

Helping patients care for themselves is as important as the care you provide, and the best way to involve patients is through education. Explain to your patients not only what they need to do, but why. The word “doctor” comes from the Latin word that means “teacher.” As you teach your patients, involve them in their treatment by letting them set goals and evaluate their own progress. This will also help you know how well they understand what you are teaching them.[i]

  1. Improve staff communications

Patients likely interact more with your staff than they do with their caregiver, from the time they schedule their appointment to when they pay their bill. Make sure each communication focuses on making the patient comfortable. Ensure each staff member is friendly, caring and empathetic. They should also be employing the most effective communication tools throughout the patient journey, which means using phone calls, emails, texts and post cards, whatever the patient prefers.

  1. Create a community

You know the influence of social media on people today. You can tap into this potential by creating a presence that connects patients with each other and your practice. At a minimum, establish a Facebook page and an Instagram account. Then encourage patients to join and share their experiences with your practice. Ask patients to post positive reviews, and you can use the sites to communicate advice and current events in your office, as well as monitor the satisfaction of your patients. You can also record video whenever you participate in a community event and post it to YouTube, TikTok and your other social media accounts.

  1. Build long-term relationships

Patient visits should not be transactional. They should be personal. Make sure patients feel a relationship with the people they interact with in your practice. Make time during visits not just to talk about what is wrong with your patient’s health but also to show an interest in what is going on in their life. Ask about their family, job, interests, you know, things people talk about in everyday conversations.

  1. Encourage referrals

Most doctors understand that patient referrals are critical for growth and success but don’t know where to start. Start with your long-term patients, those whom you’ve know a long time and are comfortable visiting with. If they mention how much they enjoy coming to your practice, respond by explaining the importance of providing an environment where they are comfortable. Then ask them to refer any friends or family who would enjoy the same relationship.

  1. Create opportunities for social interactions

People want a good visit with their doctor, but they don’t want to feel like they are on a conveyor belt. Create opportunities to interact personally with your patients at every step. Encourage office staff to chat with patients. You can also use patient-engagement activities such as friendly games or an office scavenger hunt, especially if children are involved.

Brevium Can Help You Engage Your Patients

Brevium is an expert in patient retention and the pioneer in patient reactivation. Brevium’s software mines its clients’ patient databases using customized algorithms to improve the patient appointment lifecycle™. Hundreds of practices have found Brevium to be a trusted partner, with personalized training and unlimited support. Through original research and software development, Brevium helps ensure that patients return for the care they need, and practices derive the greatest financial benefit from the patient appointment lifecycle™.

[i] https://www.aafp.org/pubs/afp/issues/2000/1001/p1712.html

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