Primary care physicians should improve their patients’ health and well-being by creating a personalized treatment plan to address their underlying health issues. However, the patient must participate in developing this treatment plan in order for it to be effective for them. That is why patient engagement with their healthcare needs and decision-making is critical for recommending the best treatment options.
Here are the top six steps to getting patients and their family members more engaged with the patient’s healthcare needs.
1) The Doctor and Patient Must Share Information Equally
Primary care physicians and patients will often make the mistake of thinking the doctor has to provide the patient with all the information and recommendations regarding the patient’s health. However, the truth is that the patient understands their lifestyle habits and medication consumption a lot better than their doctor. So if the doctor doesn’t understand the full extent of the patient’s lifestyle habits and medication intake, they cannot recommend a suitable treatment plan for them.
Therefore, a patient and doctor need to share information equally. The patient must talk about their lifestyle choices and current medical issues with their doctor. In response, the doctor can make better recommendations while educating their patient about why their recommendations are necessary for combating those medical issues.
That way, both sides understand one another so that the patient can achieve a better health outcome.
2) Learn About the Patient’s Daily Obstacles
Show empathy toward the patient regarding their daily struggles and obstacles. That is one of the first steps in building trust with the patient. If you can show your patient that you understand their problems and the causes of their suffering, they may trust your advice on how to overcome them.
Your patients will want to know you actually care about their problems and health challenges. If they believe you care about them, your patients may be more willing to confide in you about their challenges and difficulties in both the past and present. Then you can come up with better solutions for treating these problems. And because your patients trust you more, they will likely listen and follow your advice.
3) Work with the Patient to Develop Realistic Health Goals
After you have diagnosed a patient with a particular health condition, the next step is to create realistic goals for treating and possibly eliminating the health issue. But you cannot simply present a list of clinical guidelines for patients to follow because they may not be interested in them.
A patient is more likely to work toward achieving specific health goals if they create them with you. Therefore, sit down with your patients and develop goals for their health together. If they feel more involved in the decision-making regarding their health objectives, your patients will be more likely to follow the goals you have created with them.
4) Request Periodic Progress Checks with Each Patient
Schedule your patients for periodic checkups to monitor their progress toward achieving their health goals. If you and your patient have set realistic goals for their health, you must continue the line of communication with them to learn about their progress.
The worst thing that could happen is to lose contact with your patient and not see them for months or years. Instead, you need to stay in regular communication with your patient because improving their health needs to be a team effort between you and them. It also allows your patient to ask you questions and get more clarity about certain aspects of their health goals.
In addition, regular checkups will help you see if their problems have gotten better or worse. Then you can modify your medical advice to address new health issues if necessary.
5) Better Encouragement
Sticking to a treatment plan is never easy for a patient or their primary care physician. At Primary Medical Care Center, we make it easy for patients to communicate with their doctors outside of office visits. Since each patient receives their doctor’s cell phone number, they can call their doctor at any time to seek advice, guidance, and encouragement. Patients no longer have to wait for their scheduled appointments to speak to their doctors.
As a result, the doctor’s and patient’s bond grows even stronger and encourages the patient to listen to their doctor’s advice and continue taking the appropriate steps to improve their health.
6) Compliment the Patient
When a patient completes a treatment or healthcare task successfully, acknowledge their success during a phone call or at their office visit. Positive reinforcement is a powerful way to motivate patients to stay on the right course if their achievements have been acknowledged and congratulated.
Don’t forget to celebrate with the patient’s family members too. If they have participated in their loved one’s healthcare journey, they deserve as much praise as the patient. Then the family members can continue to help their loved one to stay on the right path without veering away from it.
Do you need more tips on improving a patient and their family’s engagement with the patient’s healthcare needs? If so, Primary Medical Care Center can be reached at (305) 751-1500 to offer you guidance and advice on this matter.