By Dr. Andrew Albert, Chief Medical Officer and Cofounder of Fibroblast
Here’s what frustrates me about healthcare. As doctors, we try to give our patients the best possible care. They come to us with their ailments, aches, and concerns, and they come to us for routine check-ups that sometimes result in less than routine discoveries. When they’re in the office, we help our patients as best we can, and we recommend further treatments or consultations, if necessary. But once patients leave our office, they’re on their own.
I’m sure I’m not alone when I say I wish I could do more. That’s why I’m happy to see a change in the way doctors are interacting with patients, and that making connections for them between ourselves and other physicians has become much easier.
For example, an increasing number of doctors have started communicating with patients via social media and text messaging. In fact, 67% of doctors say they use a social media platform for professional reasons, according to a survey of 4,000 physicians by QuantiaMD.
Patients certainly appreciate this accessibility: A 2012 PwC Health Research Institute report found that 61% of patients trust information posted by physicians on social media, and 41% of patients would be willing to share information with doctors on social media.
KEEPING PATIENTS IN NETWORK
Taking things a step further, we as physicians now have the power to make even stronger connections between our patients and care providers, and between ourselves and other doctors in our own networks.
I’m talking about new tools like Fibroblast, which makes scheduling appointments as easy as a couple of clicks. If we need to refer a patient to another doctor, we don’t have to stop at a suggestion, or a name and contact information. We can set up the appointment before the patient walks out the door.
We can direct our patients to another health care provider in our own network, thus preventing patient leakage and lost revenue. Since so much of our record-keeping has moved online (55% of U.S. doctors have embraced some type of electronic health record system, according to a study conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics), patient information can be shared — not duplicated — and the patient can get better care.
BUILDING BETTER RELATIONSHIPS
Doing all we can to assist our patients with scheduling follow-up appointments ensures that they will see someone we trust, and that they’ll do so soon. Facilitating this connection helps all involved, and helps build longer-term relationships that keep everyone healthier.