Virginia Commonwealth University recently hosted a webinar on the public health impact of businesses re-opening during the pandemic. The conclusion the attendees reached is that businesses must do all they can to instill confidence in their customers to get people through the door. Nowhere is that more apparent than in the healthcare industry.
When patients are seeking medical attention, they’ll entrust their health to providers they are confident in. When it comes to their own personal health, there can be no substitute for that confidence. Patients want to feel safe in the knowledge that their concerns will be managed effectively while in your care.
While it’s always a challenge to inspire confidence in patients, it becomes even more so when a climate of fear hangs over society, casting a shadow over nearly all interpersonal interactions. As society continues to respond and react to the COVID-19 epidemic, it seems as if it’s harder than ever to instill confidence.
So how do you, as a medical provider, do just that? If you have patients who need to seek medical attention, you’ll want them to do that as opposed to holding off due to fear. That’s why you’ll want to have a plan in place to manage the pandemic in a way that translates to optimal consumer confidence. Let’s take a look at some specific tactics you can use to build that strategy.
Why it’s important to instill confidence in your patients
The provider-patient relationship is fundamentally built on trust. When the patient enters, they entrust their healthcare provider to:
- Give them excellent care and service
- Provide a clean, healthy environment to receive that care and service
- Be open with them
This is a high standard for healthcare providers to live up to, but it’s necessary if they want to see repeat patients returning to their facility. When there’s a mitigating circumstance such as a pandemic, the patient’s confidence becomes harder to gain but even more critical to win over.
The circumstances with which we interact and participate in society and changing every day with a “new normal” that’s evolving by the minute. This is impacting every business in one way or another. But unfortunately, the healthcare system doesn’t have the luxury of shutting down. People are still going to get sick. People will still need check-ups or even elective surgeries. That’s why it’s on healthcare providers to provide care in a way that facilitates health, safety, and patient confidence.
So how do they go about doing that?
How to instill confidence in your patients
One of the surest ways to establish and maintain confidence from your patients, especially during a pandemic, is by quelling fear with facts and procedures. Healthcare organizations need a plan — backed by public health experts — that allows patients to receive care without placing themselves in danger. Having documented plans in place can help do this.
Another way to instill confidence in your patients during a pandemic is by establishing remote communication. One of the best mechanisms for doing this is using video as a communication tool. With video conferencing, you can remotely meet with patients in a secure but reliable setting — and the patient won’t have to leave the comfort of their home.
Using video as a communication tool enables your healthcare facility to offer the same great service you offered in pre-pandemic levels. It’s also becoming more commonly accepted in the medical community. According to the American Hospital Association, the use of telemedicine skyrocketed between 2010 and 2017 from 35% to 76% of hospitals. It provides more patients with access to their physicians, avoiding the health issues associated with in-person contact prevalent at the moment.
Best practices for improving consumer confidence
Here are some guidelines to follow that can help your healthcare facility instill confidence in your patients while so many people fall prey to the current climate of fear:
Put a premium on transparency
What actions are you taking to keep your patients safe? What are your general recommendations for staying healthy during this time? What is your facility doing to maintain optimal cleanliness and efficiency?
Whatever practices you’ve put in place to adjust to the current situation, let your patients know. Be upfront about the efforts you’re taking to keep both them and your staff safe. They’ll appreciate this, and it will put them at ease. If there is anything you tell them they need clarification on, they can then follow-up so you can elaborate. This will only make them feel more comfortable in seeking care with your team.
Put the customer first
Emphasize your flexibility and ability to accommodate your patients when they need to make appointments. Work with them. Make sure they understand your needs as a healthcare facility and why you’re asking them to take the measures you are — but listen to them when they ask questions. Remember that your patients are customers, and in order to win their business you’ll need to create a top of the experience for them. If that means making accommodations to meet outside normal business hours or some other kind of small concession, it’s worth it.
If they push back on some of your requests and limitations, tell them that by participating in safety precautions, they can play their role in the ongoing response and help everyone stay healthier.
Apply understanding and empathy to your customers’ situations
Finally, whether it comes to patients’ outstanding payments or showing up late/missing appointments, be a little more lenient than you have in the past. Remember your patients are all struggling to adapt to these new conditions just as everyone is. Be patient with them, and allow them a little leeway when you can.
How video can help you connect with your patients and overcome a climate of fear
The bottom line is that the best way to inspire confidence in your patients is to maintain strong communication. In our current landscape, there’s no better mechanism to do that than through video. Whether that includes live video conferencing or producing videos that show the safety measures your team has put in place to ensure patient safety, video can help you keep your patients informed and in control.
If you’d like to bring your patient experience to the next level by incorporating video into your patient communication platform, it helps to have a trusted partner to guide you through the process. DigiVid360 is an expert when it comes to producing videos and can be that partner. For more on how we can help, contact us today!