Healthcare is changing, and providers must focus their patient relationships on trust and understanding. In order to encourage patients to take a more active role in their own care, the provider must sell the idea of intervention and compel every patient to take control and implement changes. This must all be done while maintaining a relationship between provider and patient.
In this way, providers can be compared to great salespeople. Although healthcare may not have much in common with the sales industry, there are five ways that lessons learned in the sales field can be applied to healthcare in order to increase patient compliance.
Most providers realize that this is perhaps the most crucial part of any first encounter. During any sales pitch, the part of the human brain known as the amygdala will attach an emotional context to the initial encounter. The amygdala is also responsible for the fight-or-flight response, and if the encounter is deemed emotionally unsafe, the patient will respond accordingly.
In order to have any success at changing the lives of patients, providers must first establish a relationship based on trust. When psychological fears are triggered during an initial appointment, patients may flee before they give the provider a chance. Providers must be careful observers and perceptive listeners at all times.
Pinpoint the Real Need
Many patients are most unhappy because their provider failed to uncover what the real need or issue was during the visit. Although a straightforward approach may seem most effective, many details are gleaned through casual conversation with patients that can then be applied to future treatment or care.
Providers should speak to patients specifically about their view of themselves and where they hope to be in the future, and then pinpoint ways to reach that goal.
Dialogue Over Monologue
Providers that like to hear their own voices are off-putting to patients, while those with good dialogue skills are encouraging and comfortable. Explore values, ask questions and work hard to make a connection with each and every patient. Dig deeper into complaints to come up with the best solution for the situation. Express confidence in their feelings regarding their own bodies and listen closely to their internal knowledge.
Don’t Rush the “Close”
Providers must be careful not to push patients to give a commitment before they are ready. Mistrust and anger develops when patients are pushed too soon to make a decision.
Try a test close with every patient. Present a solution to a problem, ask the patient if the solution is acceptable and confirm. If the patient is uncomfortable, negotiate the solution to something that is acceptable.
Salespeople know the importance of follow-up, and providers can use this concept as a perfect way to connect and establish trust with patients. Physicians should always follow up with patients. One way to achieve this goal is to ask patients to email or phone within a week of any appointment with an update on condition or treatment. Providers can also request permission from patients if they prefer to contact them on their own.
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