Studies show that a large number of patients consult the Internet about symptoms, illnesses and treatments before speaking with a medical practitioner. Most doctors appreciate a well-informed patient who is empowered to participate in his or her health care. However, generic, online information is not always accurate and providers are pressed for time for patient education. What to do?
This article shows how to maximize the education your patients receive without making it a full-time job. First, author Susanne Madden suggests, “View education as the process by which you provide information and knowledge to your patients.” Here are some of her suggestions to capitalize on patient education:
- At your practice – Your employees can play a vital role in educating patients by providing them with literature you’ve selected based on specific criteria. With a little training, they may even be able to provide the patient with a general review of the materials to reinforce some concepts.
- On your website – Many company websites are just fancy brochures; but websites can be a great way to supply your patients and visitors with information on items besides your contact information. You may not have time to write your own in-depth articles, but even posting helpful links or well-written articles you’ve screened could benefit your patients. You might consider adding a quick paragraph on why you think the subject is relevant to your patients.
- Through social media – For some physicians, this may still be a bit daunting or unfamiliar, but Facebook and Twitter are great tools to connect with current and/or prospective patients in ways that can’t happen during the office visit. Social media is also an innovative way to advertise any upcoming events, new services & providers and just another means to enhance your patients’ knowledge.
Ms. Madden ends this useful article by showing providers how to tie everything together and take advantage of opportunities to have the patients participate and be present in their own healthcare.