Patients often face several health conditions at the same time. When speaking with their healthcare providers however, they may only mention the reason for that particular appointment and fail to bring up other health concerns that they consider to be unrelated.
This leaves you, as the healthcare provider, without the full picture of your patient’s overall health. Even with access to a patient’s electronic health record, there may be significant gaps.
Understanding and being able to track your patients’ health-related concerns and questions is an important step toward providing better quality care. Thankfully, technology makes it easier to discover what’s happening in patients’ lives beyond the doctor’s office and hospital walls.
Patients are unlikely to relate, or even remember, all the details that you need to know about their current health and health history when they’re in your hospital or medical office. That means you could be trying to solve a puzzle with some pieces missing.
One solution is to set up conditions that make it easier for patients to volunteer this information:
If you’ve already initiated digital patient communications, use them to ask patients what other health topics they’re concerned about.Through meaningful ongoing patient-provider communication, you’ll build a trusting relationship with your patients, further establishing yourself as a reliable resource and encouraging your patients to turn to you with other health questions.
Connect patients to other reliable health resources that you recommend, so they don’t search “Dr. Google.”Patients want information from their doctors, as long as it’s in manageable amounts and at the right time. In fact, 93% of patients would like to have email communication with their doctors. Use digital communication to provide them with health information and resources that you trust and recommend.
Take a “whole person” approach.You’re probably already asking about your patients’ overall well-being during office or hospital visits. Use digital communication, as well, to survey your patients about their physical, mental, emotional and even spiritual health. Their answers can help you provide even better care.
The Connection to Patient Engagement
When patients have the health information they need at their fingertips 24/7, it makes it easier for them to be engaged in their care.
They feel more confident in their ability to care for themselves and their families and they’re better prepared for surgery and post-discharge care. They also have a better impression of your hospital and are more likely to recommend you to friends and family.
Knowledgeable patients cost less and have better outcomes, too. The more you know about their health needs, the better care you can provide and the better partners in care your patients will be.