Imagine this situation. Henry, as a now-seasoned diabetes patient, is at the hospital again, struggling to maintain healthy blood glucose levels. His healthcare providers think that he isn’t complying with their instructions, but Sarah, a new nurse in the hospital’s emergency department, takes a different approach. She asks Henry directly whether there was something keeping him from maintaining healthy blood glucose levels just to find out that he can’t read his glucometer because of sight loss. There it was — a simple explanation for his recurring problem that was easily solved with a glucometer that read results out loud.
Why was Sara’s approach different? It was patient-oriented. She focused on Henry as a person and was able to get to the heart of the problem, solve it, and allow Henry to take control of his health.
What about you? Are you providing exceptional care that puts your patients first or still prioritizing processes over people and treating them as research subjects, sufferers of certain conditions, or data points on a chart?
What Is Patient-Centered Care?
Instead of simply treating a patient’s illness, patient-centered care takes into account the person as a whole and encourages them to take control of their health. But, isn’t all medical care centered on patients anyway? In reality, despite healthcare providers’ best intentions, other considerations may get in the way and cause patients to fall from priority number one.
To provide patient-centered care, we should consider patients as equal partners in planning, developing, and monitoring care to make sure it meets their needs. However, this is usually easier said than done because there are many challenges that make it hard to prioritize individualized, compassionate, and patient-centered care. For example, healthcare providers are often under pressure to see a large number of patients in a limited amount of time which makes it impossible to provide personalized care tailored to each patient’s unique needs. Also, the healthcare system itself can create barriers to patient-centered care due to long wait times, limited access to specialists or diagnostic tests, or fragmented care delivery.
While implementing patient-centered care isn’t an easy feat, a change in attitude, strengthening the patient-provider relationship, and empowering patients to take control of their health can bring a number of benefits, including:
Better Patient Outcomes
Patient-centered care is directly associated with better health outcomes for patients. By taking time to understand their individual needs and preferences, there are higher possibilities to develop treatment plans that are effective and appropriate for each of them. Also, when you establish clear, open communication with your patients, you will help them better understand their health conditions and treatment options.
Increased Patient Loyalty
Patients who receive patient-centered care are more satisfied with their healthcare experience. They feel heard and respected and willing to take an active role in their own care. In return, they are more likely to remain loyal to your healthcare organization over time, helping you to increase revenue and establish a more stable patient base.
Reduced Healthcare Costs
When patients receive care that is tailored to their unique needs and preferences, they are less likely to experience complications or require additional interventions. This can result in cost savings for both you and your patient, but also for the entire healthcare system.
Healthcare providers known for providing patient-centered care can develop a strong reputation within their community. You can build it up even more by encouraging patients to provide feedback on their experience, identify areas for improvement, and demonstrate your commitment to providing high-quality care. In addition, such a patient-centered approach can help you differentiate from your competitors.
Take Every Opportunity to Empower Your Patients
Studies show that data connectivity and increasing consumer engagement are expected to shape the future of health. By 2040, consumers, not their healthcare providers, will be the ones to determine when, where, and with whom they engage for care or to sustain well-being.
As patients become more active and take better control of their health decisions, you need to prioritize their needs, values, and preferences instead of simply treating their illnesses. Unless you are ready to improve patient-centered care, it may become impossible to participate in a future healthcare system that is driven by empowered and informed patients.
To better respond to this changing dynamic between patients and healthcare providers, it’s necessary to take every opportunity to connect with your patients. With the right healthcare marketing strategy in place, you can improve patient-centered care, attract new patients and retain the existing ones, and engage with them in a more personalized and meaningful way.
At the same time, to improve the quality of care and the patient experience, it’s also important to prioritize education and training for your employees, invest in technology and infrastructure, and create a culture that values patient-centered principles.
Healthcare Marketing and Patient-Centered Care
Empowering your patients and connecting with them at the right time and in the right way is bound to have a positive impact on both their satisfaction and health outcomes as well as your healthcare organization’s growth. Here are some of the ways you can benefit from using healthcare marketing tactics to improve patient-centered care:
Better Patient Engagement
With the use of healthcare marketing, you can engage patients by providing them with information, resources, and content that is relevant to their needs and preferences. For this approach to be successful, it’s important to consider patients’ needs, preferences, and concerns. For example, you can write blog posts that provide patients with actionable advice and tips that they can use to improve their health or well-being or incorporate HIPAA-compliant patient stories and testimonials that can help patients relate to the information.
At the same time, when providing patient-centered content, it’s important to use simple, easy-to-understand language, avoid technical jargon, and incorporate a variety of formats, such as videos, infographics, and blog posts. Also, make sure that your content is accessible to all patients, regardless of their language, culture, or abilities.
Effective healthcare marketing campaigns can help healthcare providers to communicate more effectively with patients, providing them with information about their care options, encouraging them to ask questions, and offering resources to help them manage their health.
You can use social media to engage patients in conversations, gather feedback, and build relationships. By creating a dialogue with them, you can understand patients’ needs and adapt your services. For example, you can use social media to create patient support groups, so they can connect with others who are experiencing similar health issues, share experiences, and advice, and feel less isolated. At the same time, you can respond to their questions, concerns, or complaints in a timely and helpful manner to build trust and loyalty.
With the help of using the right data and technology, you can create more personalized experiences for patients and tailor content so that it meets their individual needs and preferences. Predictive targeting uses data and algorithms to identify patients who are most likely to benefit from specific treatments or interventions, helping you to provide more patient-centered care. For example, you can identify patients who are at high risk for certain chronic conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease, and use this information to target them with preventive care programs and educational resources. This way you can help them manage their conditions and reduce the risk of complications.
Predictive targeting can also be useful for improving patient engagement and adherence to treatment plans. Once you identify patients who are less likely to attend follow-up appointments or apply their medication regimen, you can send them reminders and resources to help them stay on track.
Commitment to Patients
Different healthcare marketing strategies can help you gather and incorporate patient feedback, demonstrate commitment to listening to your patients and incorporate patient input into your healthcare practices. For example, by working on your reputation management, you can improve patient trust and satisfaction — key components of patient-centered care.
This involves monitoring patient feedback and reviews and responding promptly to patient complaints and concerns while staying consistent. To improve your reputation management even more, you can encourage patients to give you more reviews by sending automated requests within 24 hours of their care. This way you provide them with an opportunity to rate their experience and share any thoughts or suggestions they may have. In return, you can find out what works well and where you can improve, but also use this approach to increase the number of your reviews, boost your reputation, and attract new patients.
Overcome Patient-Centered Challenges
Delivering patient-centered care is hard, and it’s much more than a few behavioral changes here and there — it demands a change in underlying attitude. When considering different steps you can take to improve patient-centered care, ask yourself the following questions:
- Can this strengthen the patient-clinician relationship?
- Can it promote communication about things that matter?
- Would this change help patients know more about their health and facilitate their involvement in their own care?
If you can’t answer yes to each of these questions, then you might need a different approach. At the same time, it’s important to know that you may face different challenges in the process of transitioning to more patient-centered care. This requires more time and effort and you may struggle to balance the needs of your patients and your workload. For healthcare organizations with already limited resources, it can be hard to provide the additional ones — such as staff, technology, or training. Also, patient-centered care is particularly important for patients with complex medical needs that may require coordination between multiple healthcare providers and organizations.
To overcome challenges such as these and make time and resources to develop a patient-centered culture that values the needs and preferences of your patients, you can use SocialClimb’s platform. This way, you can automate many routine tasks, free up time to focus on more pressing needs, improve efficiency, and reduce the workload. In addition, you can increase the effectiveness of your healthcare marketing efforts and reach patients who are most likely to benefit from your services, engage with them on a personal level and build strong, long-lasting relationships, and identify areas for improvement to stay ahead of your competitors. Finally, you can use insights and analytics that help you make data-driven decisions and maximize the impact of your marketing and reputation management efforts.