Doctors are in the business of making wishes. Not the ask-a-genie type, but rather the ask-a-patient type: “I wish for you to get this lab done.” “I wish for you to exercise more. Will you do it?” But how many patients voluntarily follow up with their doctors after an appointment to give an update on how a prescribed regimen is working? And how can clinicians keep tabs on their patients once they’ve left the exam room?
While all good doctors know that closing the loop with patients is essential to delivering excellent care, finding the time to do so can seem daunting: yet another task to add to an already overwhelming workload. But maintaining clear communication with patients can be simple and straightforward. Read on to learn how Elation can help you close the loop quickly, conveniently, and effectively.
It’s impossible for physicians to get the full picture of a patient’s health from an office visit. Yet it’s essential for them to understand the social or environmental factors that may inhibit patients from following prescribed medication and activity regimens. A doctor may not know that her patient can’t afford or can’t remember to take medications. Being able to communicate with patients outside the office and in the context of their day-to-day lives can go a long way toward enhancing patient-provider understanding and helping doctors course-correct if necessary. When doctors know more about their patients’ circumstances, they know how best to help them and personalize care. It’s the antithesis of cookbook medicine: tailoring a prescription to an individual’s unique needs.
There’s a misconception that following up with patients is all about enforcing adherence to a doctor’s wishes. But closing the loop doesn’t require punitive measures; in fact, guilting patients into compliance can be counterproductive. Think about it: would you rather do something because you were shamed into taking action, or because you were encouraged to follow through? At the end of the day, the best doctors simply want to support and educate patients to have a higher quality of life. live healthier lives.
Many in the medical world think that closing the loop requires throwing more staff time at the patient-adherence problem. That’s exactly what we shouldn’t do. Technology certainly plays a central role in patient-provider communication, but it must fit into a clinician’s existing workflow, not disrupt or reinvent it.
To that end, we’ve designed Elation with features to help you keep the lines of communication open with your patients, at your convenience. Want to know if a patient’s filled a prescription? Use our Medication History download to see what she’s picked up at the pharmacy. Need to follow up with a patient in a month but don’t know how you’ll remember to do so? Just write yourself a post-dated reminder, and the follow-up message will be sent automatically to the patient next month. Elation will even notify you if the patient hasn’t viewed the message, so you can keep the lines of communication open and help your patients stay on track with their health goals. Use the same feature to check in with specialists about referrals for mammograms, colonoscopies and other procedures. Just a few clicks and you’re done. No extra work for your office staff, no headaches for you.
How do you close the loop with your patients? What do you do to support patients in meeting their health goals? We’d love to hear from you! Share your tips and stories in the comments.