Are you a medical professional who wants to develop a stronger relationship with your patients? Have you become concerned with the number of medical patients that end up suffering from chronic conditions that in some cases can be avoided and/or maintained to prevent further damage? Many primary care physicians have these same concerns. Though an influx of patients on the books equates to more money, the true significance of the doctor’s role is lost – treating patients so that they can live a long and healthy life.
Breakdown of Doctor-Patient Relationships
The truth is, if more medical professionals could get their patients active and involved in their health and personal care, there’d be a lot less chronic diagnosis, untreated illnesses, and out of control health management practices like the high cost of healthcare coverage and prescriptions.
There are a number of factors that cause this breakdown in the doctor-patient relationship including patients relying too much on the doctor, being skeptical of medical advice, or feeling overwhelmed by the advice provided to manage their health. Patients aren’t all to blame either as some doctors are stuck in old ways, have a horrible bedside manner, or seemingly don’t have the time to educate their patients as they should.
Ways to Make a Change
So, what can be done to ensure that doctors have a better relationship with their patients that, in turn, results in patients being more involved in the management of their health? Here is some advice for doctors listed below:
Make Time to Communicate
One of the first tips for doctors is to make time to communicate with their patients. Though days in the office can be hectic, individualized time gives patients the comfort zone they need to address their concerns and learn what they can to improve their health. If timing is a problem, you might consider scheduling appointments further apart or getting a nurse practitioner or another physician to help with the workload. When you have more time, you can not only communicate with your patients but listen to their concerns to come up with the best approach to caring for their health.
Offer Alternative Solutions
Every patient is different. Some, may put their trust behind their doctor and do whatever is advised. Others may prefer to look into solutions that are not as costly, invasive, or present fewer side effects. From chronic illness to mental health, it is imperative that you offer alternative solutions. For example, if you have a patient suffering from chronic pain, recommending painkillers is one approach, but offering other options like cbd gummy bears is ideal. This gives your patient a “non-scary” or potentially addictive approach to dealing with their chronic pain and shows that you’re not all about your bottom line. You can give them a CBD guide along with materials on prescription pain meds and allow them to make a more informed decision.
Gadgets and Mobile Apps
Modern technology has advanced the medical world by leaps and bounds and your patients could benefit from this as well. When talking with your patients about their health, don’t be afraid to recommend technological devices or mobile apps to help them along the way. From having a patient portal where they can get the latest information on their tests and exams to apps for tracking food, physical activity, and more, there is a lot out there your patients can benefit from. Even wearable technology like blood pressure monitoring or portable diabetes trackers makes it easier for them to stay on top of their health.
When a patient leaves your office your work as their primary care physician doesn’t stop there. If you want to keep them on the straight and narrow and ensure they’re involved in caring for their health, it is imperative to follow up. Whether this means sending out reminder emails and phone calls, responding to questions, or giving a bit of encouragement, it goes a long way to motivating patients to do better.
To reduce the amount of preventable medical illnesses being diagnosed every year it is necessary for medical experts to learn how to connect with their patients once again. Long gone are the days where doctors diagnose and advise and patients listen. Today’s patients can only be encouraged to get involved when they’ve developed a trusting relationship with their doctors. This means making the time for them, giving both medical and alternative solutions, providing recommendations on technology to use, and following up. If you can manage to do the following, you can seemingly get patients more involved in their own health and reduce the epidemic of so many life-altering diseases.