Instant Messaging And Patient Psychology In The Medical Tourism Industry
Successful medical centers in medical tourism industry are taking a proactive approach in improved patient satisfaction by implementing effective psychological techniques of emotional validation and deep listening to build empathy with the patient.
Patient satisfaction is a prime success metrics for individual healthcare providers and hospitals. Apart from affordable treatment packages and superior medical attention, patients expect the following two things from the beginning of their inquiry:
Higher level of commitment
Sir William Osler (1st Baronet, FRS FRCP), a renowned Canadian physician and one of the four founding professors of Johns Hopkins Hospital once said: “The good physician treats the disease; the great physician treats the patient who has the disease”.
If patient satisfaction is on the top of a medical center’s priority list, it will certainly gain momentum in the medical tourism sector. As a matter of fact, patient satisfaction today is a prime indicator of how well a patient is being treated at a medical center.
THE INTERNET TRIGGERS PSYCHOLOGICAL BENEFITS ON PATIENTS
When Sally Wells, a 23 years old Software Engineer from California, was looking for a suitable Liposuction package for herself, she didn’t invest energy in writing an email to the provider and waiting for the reply! Instead, she had a direct chat on “instant messenger” with the provider and asked her queries.
The immediate attention that she received from the medical center made her feel valued. She not only received answers to her primary query but the ones those raised during the conversation. The prompt response to her routine request was greater than her stipulated expectation of quality medical care or affordable price.
HOW INSTANT MESSAGING HAS PSYCHOLOGICAL EFFECT ON PATIENT SATISFACTION
Medical centers have to convey the “we care attitude” to convert more leads into patients. The most promising way to show this attitude to a potential patient is by fast responding to the inquiries. This has a greater psychological effect on the patient and builds a positive emotional connection with them. This not only streamlines the medical inquiry process but also eliminates barriers between the patient and medical center.
WHAT LEADS TO PATIENT DISSATISFACTION?
The prime cause of patient dissatisfaction is when they feel unheard by the medical center during their initial inquiry to understand the clinic. Many a time medical centers unknowingly give patients an impression that they are not hearing them properly.
As per Dr. Anthony Dental Clinic, a dentist practising in Turkey, they have been misunderstood by their patients to be distracted as they did not read the questions rose by the patient as well as did not pay attention to the x-rays patient had sent. However, this could have avoided if the dental customer care department would have reviewed all the necessary details during the initial query raised by the patients. This would have helped the coordinator to pay undivided attention to their patient.
PSYCHOLOGICAL BENEFITS OF IMPLEMENTING INSTANT MESSAGING IN PATIENT COMMUNICATION
Better patient engagement: Instant replies to patient’s queries create better engagement with them. Patients feel much more valued and identified with the medical center.
A personalized experience for the patients: Direct messaging enables potential patients to get exact replies to their queries. It reduces the burden of drafting an email, sending it and waiting for a reply.
Patient satisfaction: Patients love the smooth informal interaction while asking for detailed information on treatment details.
Reduces the chance of coordinator burnout: Primary communication with a potential patient gives the center more time to listen to her as she speaks her heart out. Thus, the doctor can psychologically confirm her next visit.
Patients feel heard and understood: Continued on-going conversation via messaging gives a better understanding of patient’s concerns and build trust overtime.
Let us take the example of Natalie Leah, a 45-year-old childless aspiring mother, who lost all her spirit, patience and energy after 4 failed IVF cycles. She didn’t even want to pursue the treatment anymore. Surprisingly, she agreed for the next trial with greater enthusiasm and reliance as she met her new consultant. The consultant heard all her pains and told her these simple lines, “Mrs. Leah we understand your pain and can feel it. You are a fighter. Let us fight together once over again and leave everything else behind. Only you can help us in this challenge.”
Emotionally validating a patient by hearing, understanding and accepting the emotional experience can do wonders! In fact, it is one of the key factors in treating any ailment.
Doctor’s empathy increases patient satisfaction. They can simply do the followings to make the patient feel cared about and understood:
Small engaging exercise like learning more about patient’s personal situation, family and friends, their specific pain points.
Being attentive to the patient while she discusses her health issues.
Only an undistributed and vigilant consultation can be empathetic. Pre-consultation information collected through live chat gives this opportunity to the doctor to interact wholeheartedly with the patient.
EMOTIONAL MIRRORING OF PATIENT’S CONCERN
Dr. Christopher Grayson, a reputed Neurologist practising in New Jersey, USA use emotional mirroring while diagnosing his patients. One day while diagnosing a patient, who came with a complaint of vertigo and nausea, the patient suddenly said that her nose is running from the last few days. Instead of avoiding the issue, Dr. Grayson expressed his concern by hearing to her problem. After a few moments of narrating the problem, the patient was at ease and bought back to the primary discussion.
Emotional mirroring to the patient validates her discomfort. Validating the patient’s concern by emotional mirroring is useful while dealing with emotionally disturbed patients.
The difference between health and healthcare is a very personal one. It is important for the medical centers to give proper care and attention to the patients along with right medical treatment to help them get back to feeling healthy. A dose of empathy can turn the physician into a caregiver. Care, compassion and communication are pillars of modern-day medical tourism.
At PlacidWay, we believe in patient-provider relationship. Thus, we use direct communication to build up an immediate association between them. We have recently rolled out our messaging functionality to support this.
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