Ever heard of the saying ‘Doctors make the worst patients?’ Maybe it’s because they know too much.
Take Bill, for instance. He’s a surgeon. You’d think he’d go through any dental operation without worries. So, you assume he knows the drill. You explain the procedure, hand him a brochure, and send him off to your scheduler.
Guess what? He tells your scheduler he’ll call tomorrow, heads home, and has second thoughts about the whole thing. The next time his tooth aches, he goes to another dentist to seek a second opinion. The dentist explains to him what needs to be done, exactly the same thing you recommended for him a week ago.
But this dentist didn’t just hand him a brochure; she has a video that shows the step-by-step process. Bill realizes he had imagined it differently as a surgeon, i.e., far bloodier, with bigger cuts, and more stitches.
Had he taken the time to look at your brochure, he would have known otherwise. But he is a surgeon and thought he didn’t need to look at the educational materials for patients. And he missed the whole point of what you were trying to do.
So why talk about a different kind of patient here who’s not necessarily lacking in health literacy, but just missing vital information necessary to make an informed decision?
In our previous blog, we talked about health literacy and what you can do to make your patient understand the health information you give.
This time we look at fear factor as a human defense mechanism that can hinder communication even among the most health literate person.
Make Your Patients More Comfortable Using Patient Education
This fear can be related to invasive treatment or pain that the patient anticipates from the procedure. It can be the fear of losing control. For someone who is used to being in control, like in the case of Bill the surgeon, this dental experience can be an intimidating thing. Or it can be the physical sensation itself of having one’s teeth being worked on that can evoke fear.
Whatever the cause of the fear may be, your patient’s decision-making capacity might become impaired because of this.
Part of an effective health care marketing strategy is to always provide a great patient experience. Alleviating fear of the unknown is an important part of that strategy.
To do this effectively, you need to see your patient as another human being just like you with normal fear responses. No matter the background, military or medical, we all have our fears in general.
An article from the BMC Health Services Research recommended one reflective exercise to increase attentiveness and empathy for your patients.
Ask this question to yourself, “Am I seeing things through the eyes of patients?”
According to the article, this single question “can be revealing, opening eyes wide and permitting opportunities for any necessary improvements, making for a simple but powerful learning experience.”
By encouraging your staff to ask this reflective question often throughout the day will help them remain patient-centered and focused and lessen complacency, which can be detrimental to your healthcare marketing efforts.
In planning your marketing strategies, every small thing counts and adds up to the whole patient experience. For more tips and strategies (like using videos) on how to market your practice, read our blogs.
If you don’t have time to plan marketing for your medical practice, we can help! Schedule a FREE practice review with us today. We can help connect you to more patients with marketing strategies and much more!