Engagement is more than just a trendy buzzword. For healthcare providers, including direct primary care (DPC) physicians, engagement is the ability to connect with your patients in a positive and productive way that can benefit everyone concerned. Here are some tips for engaging with your DPC patients, to improve their outcomes as well as the success of your practice.
Patients who are engaged tend to make more informed decisions and become more involved in their own healthcare. The goal of engaging patients, and their families and caregivers, is to improve their health and well-being as well as their safety. And, in fact, most patients want that level of engagement that includes them as valuable partners in the healthcare process.
What are some steps you can take to engage with your DPC patients more effectively?
Show up on time. While this may sound simple – and obvious – showing respect to your patients by arriving on time for your appointment with them can make a difference in their engagement level during the visit.
Prepare for the visit. Take advantage of the electronic health record (EHR) information that is readily available to you before the visit to ensure you have the accurate medical history and visit reason you need when you enter the room. Add this step to your EHR checklist so you’ll be prepared to greet the patient by name and have a solid understanding of the patient’s situation and symptoms.
Take your time. In a DPC practice, you have fewer patients to see and more time to spend with each patient. The time you spend with each one can be used to develop that provider-patient relationship that is critical to engaging your DPC patients. Start the visit with a human touch, by asking about their lives, their family, or plans for the upcoming week or weekend.
Add membership management to your EHR checklist for a successful DPC practice. Elation’s all-in-one solution powers your practice with one system to manage your clinical records, membership recurring payments, and patient relationships.
Follow up after referrals and labs. One of the benefits of a DPC practice is the opportunity for your patients to communicate with you in between visits. To engage your patients more effectively, be proactive with your communications, particularly after you’ve referred them to a specialist or for lab work. Add this step to your EHR checklist to ensure that the patient feels your concern for their continued well-being.
Establish a culture of engagement in your DPC practice. When your staff experiences that same level of open communication, concern, and engagement internally, it can be more naturally conveyed to your DPC patients by all involved in their care. Encourage your staff to greet patients with a smile and practice politeness and patience at every encounter.
Additionally, it is important for you and your team to equip your patients to be engaged in their own healthcare through your interactions with them, their families, and their caregivers.
Leverage shared decision-making techniques
Provide education on conditions and treatment options
Ensure patients are knowledgeable and have the tools they need to stay engaged
Incorporate patient preferences into their care.
Making the effort to engage your DPC patients can make a significant difference for them, for their families and caregivers, and for your practice.