For the last several years, virtual visits have slowly been tiptoeing their way into the healthcare industry. But now, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, they have burst onto the scene in a big way – giving patients and providers a convenient way to connect while maintaining social distancing.
Unfortunately, there is still considerable uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, making it difficult to know when – or even if – in-person visits will once again take center stage. In the meantime, healthcare organizations and providers need to continue offering quality care in the virtual environment. But without in-person interactions, there are concerns that the all-too-important personability factor in the doctor-patient relationship could fall by the wayside.
For helpful tips on how to make healthcare more personable – even when it’s virtual – just check out the insights below!
• Don’t just rely on audio. Use video, too.
As comforting as it can be for patients to hear their doctors’ voices, it’s even better when they can look their doctors in the eye. For this reason, opt for video visits when possible so patients can enjoy closer connections and a more personable experience.
• Camera angles matter.
We’ve established that eye contact is important in a virtual visit, so make sure your providers’ cameras are positioned correctly. A video visit won’t do a whole lot of good if the caregiver appears to be looking elsewhere throughout the consultation.
• All the usual rules of etiquette apply.
It probably feels natural for providers conducting in-person visits to say hello, introduce themselves and ask the patient a few questions to build rapport. But discomfort in a video setting can cause some providers to forget these basic rules of etiquette. Remind providers, if necessary, that they should still greet the patient by name, introduce themselves, smile and try to build a connection during a virtual visit.
• Pay attention to the setting.
Whether your providers are working from a clinic or at home, patients still expect a private visit without background distractions. Make sure all providers offering video visits have a professional space in which to conduct their visits where patients can feel comfortable confiding in their provider as if it were a one-on-one clinic appointment.
• Take the time to listen.
Communication lag times can sometimes cause providers to jump the gun and inadvertently interrupt patients during virtual visits. To ensure the patient feels that he or she is being heard, you may want to remind providers that it’s especially important during virtual visits to be patient and be certain the individual is done speaking before responding.
As patients become more comfortable communicating with providers outside of the traditional clinic setting, electronic communications via online patient portals may increase in volume as well. In these cases, too, it’s important for providers to be both personable and professional. Use the patient’s name in the beginning of the message, try to write briefly but warmly (a simple “good afternoon” or “good morning” can work wonders), proofread before sending (this is very important!) and end the message with some sort of closing remark, such as “Best” or “Kindly.”
Looking to promote your virtual care offerings? Look to image.works! We’ll help you share all the new and innovative ways you’re serving patients outside the clinic doors. Contact us today to get started!