Successful Patient Relationships: Good for a Patient’s Health and the Health of a Doctor’s Business.
05.15.2012 - Posted By: Tiffany Vogel-Boots - Senior Copywriter
My last post took a look at how doctors can utilize patient-centered marketing (i.e., consumer relationship management, telemedicine, etc.) to build long-lasting relationships. Which would lead many people to reason, “Well, of course, that’s good for business.” But did you know that more and more studies are showing that good doctor-patient communication can positively impact a patient’s health?
Newsweek recently ran an article citing many studies that have found this all-too-often missing link can actually affect a patient’s sense of well-being, number of symptoms and overall health. Newsweek specifically noted a Canadian study which audiotaped more than 300 office visits by 39 primary care physicians. Afterward, patients were asked to rate the visit when it came to their doctor-patient relationship. The researchers then followed the patients’ health over time.
“When patients reported that their doctors focused on their feelings and listened to them carefully, they not only felt better, but objective measures showed they had fewer symptoms of the disease,” wrote Shannon Brownlee, Newsweek contributor.
These days, what used to be called a good beside manner is being referred to as a “therapeutic relationship.” Google it and you’ll see it’s often used in the context of psychiatry – engaging the patient, listening, empathy, support, sincerity, etc.
There are lessons here for us as healthcare marketers as well. Forging a relationship based on listening, engagement, empathy and support shouldn’t start with the provider, it should start with us – the marketers. If you think about it, a relationship is really what patients want from all of their doctors and healthcare providers, isn’t it? And establishing this tone in your marketing message right from the beginning isn’t just good business, it just might be good for the patient’s health as well.
In short, when it comes to patient communications, whether it’s doctor-patient communications or a communications plan, it all comes back full circle to one very important thing: trust.
Have you infused your healthcare marketing with this relationship-first approach? Have anything you’d like to add? We’d love to hear it.