Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it’s time to pause and reflect.
Mark Twain

Making your patient happy has become a motto for many healthcare organizations in the past few years. HCAHPs (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) are reported publicly and directly influence most hospital executives’ bonuses. They are used to evaluate provider performance and even affect reimbursement.

It all makes sense, right? Well, not to me.

Consumerism in healthcare, or any other regulated industry, has done nothing good to date. As a patient, if I come in and demand an MRI when all I need is an x-ray, I will probably get it. I will also get unnecessary tests that I read about in Cosmopolitan and I will most likely sign up for that elective surgery that my neighbor said is a must-have.

And even though my physician knows it is a waste of time and money, she will go with my wishes. All because she desperately wants me to be happy.

Just in the past year, the number of referrals increased by 26% nationwide. Unnecessary tests continue to contribute over 10% to healthcare costs. But more importantly, we don’t get any healthier. In other words, the clear controversy, excuse the oxymoron, is that patient satisfaction is improved but outcomes are not.

So, to avoid the situation where, pardon my comparison, the insane run the psychiatric clinic, a physician must develop a solid trusting relationship with their patients. “But how is it possible?”, you ask. “I see my patients once a year for 15 minutes. It is just not enough for a relationship building exercise.”

That is where technology comes into play. Using non-invasive workflows that allow your patients to report their questions and concerns directly to you in a structured way and without disturbing your schedule will make a big difference in building trust and good rapport with your clients. It will help your patients see you as an authority and will prevent them from seeking alternative opinions. And that way, it will improve patient satisfaction but in a much more meaningful way. How are you using technology to engage your patients and maintain that “doctor – patient relationship”?