Effective, timely, and appropriate communication with the patient and within the practice team can make a difference in the success of your direct primary care (DPC) operations. Effective communication will help you grow your DPC practice and will help improve patient outcomes, the ultimate goal of quality healthcare.
When thinking about communication techniques for your DPC practice, it’s also important to remember that the communication should be encouraged to flow in both directions. Not only are you and your clinical team providing the information the patient needs to hear, you are also listening to the patient’s needs and concerns.
In terms of how effective communication can help you grow your DPC practice, consider that you are building trust with your patients. When the patient feels as though you are sincerely focused on their needs and are truly listening to them, they will feel as though you’re working in their best interest. Your level of communication can determine:
- Whether the patient comes back to your practice for treatment after the initial visit
- Your ability to accurately diagnose the patient’s health status, including any potential conditions the patient may be experiencing
- Whether the patient will properly follow directions and instructions for care.
On the other hand, poor communication can be detrimental to that all-important provider-patient relationship, which can be integral not only to the patient outcomes but also to the success of your DPC practice. When you communicate poorly, you tend to:
- Lecture instead of listening to the patient
- Fail to explain a diagnosis and follow up care in a manner that your patient understands clearly
- Not address the patient’s specific concerns.
Elation’s patient app is a secure and efficient method to communicate with your patients and to encourage them to communicate with you and your DPC team.
Research has shown that the three most important aspects of provider-patient communication are:
- Creating a good interpersonal relationship
- Exchanging information
- Making treatment-related decisions that involve the patients in decision-making.
Communication within a DPC practice also enables the patient to contact the provider outside of regular office hours, before and after the visit, to clarify information and ask questions. Providing open and available communication tools can help you grow your DPC practice as well. The patient who knows they will receive a prompt and specific response, rather than a hasty and canned response, will be more likely to continue with the practice.
Patients who enjoy quality communication will also become an integral part of your marketing team. Most potential patients will check online reviews before committing to a healthcare provider. Current patients who provide reviews about their positive experience, particularly highlighting the fact that you listen to their concerns and are open to various methods of communication, can help you attract new patients as an additional way to grow your DPC practice.
Remain consistent with the three basic elements of effective communications for growing your DPC practice:
- Asking for information
- Giving information.
Focusing on your patient, providing easily accessible options for sending and receiving messages, and communicating in a way that is meaningful and clear can help you improve patient outcomes as well as the potential for your practice growth.