As with technology and practice operations, all aspects of healthcare tend to change and evolve over time. Patient communication is no exception. The communication avenues and options healthcare providers can use is more advanced than ever before, as is the number of digital resources and tools patients have access to. With that access, today’s younger patients have different expectations from their healthcare.
Today’s patients want honesty and feedback. They ask more questions and want to take part in the decision-making process. Being more technologically advanced, they appreciate 24/7 availability and managing their health digitally. They are also the most educated ever, with higher rates of graduation from high school through graduate school than ever before.
Many of today’s patients want to play a bigger role in their own health. They seek out information on their own from blogs, forums and social media, in many cases before seeking a doctor’s advice. They may also seek guidance from friends, family and peers first. And when it comes to their health, many want more options and knowledge to make informed decisions themselves.
When it comes to communication, this can create more challenges. But in many ways, it can also create more opportunities for collaboration. Here are some communication tips:
- Keep it short and relatable. With mobile devices being the main source of communication for many of today’s patients, keeping your messaging brief and to the point will be received better. And in your messaging, be authentic and open. Talk to them as a peer and avoid using medical terminology that’s too advanced for the majority of people.
- Optimize communications for mobile and web. Along those same lines, make sure your digital content is optimized for both your standard and mobile websites. Also, consider using online patient portals and appointment scheduling if you’re not. The more you can increase access convenience, the better.
- Instill trust in your brand. Today’s patients are brand conscious and loyal to certain ones if trust is earned. With a large amount of information available online, they may rely upon each other for help in sorting through everything to find a trusted product or service. They use social media to spread the word about brands, companies or products they believe in. According to the CDC, 90% of 18 to 24-year-old consumers trust doctor reviews or referrals they see online. So encourage your young patients to share their great experiences on social media.
- Speaking of social media, use it! Liking, tweeting and sharing are all everyday activities of many modern patients. Use that to your advantage and share regular content, encourage reviews and feedback, and build online relationships.
When it comes to millennials, around 30% are parents now and are currently instilling health habits and beliefs in their children, or contributing to the health decisions of their spouses or parents. It’s important to adapt to their communication preferences. If patient communication is one of the areas you would like support or alleviation with, we’d love to talk. Schedule a consultation with one of our practice management experts today.