by Scott Zimmerman
Conventional wisdom tells us that women take care of everyone else before taking care of themselves, and research, including our own, supports this. You do it all—own businesses while having kids, running marathons, making family decisions, and earning degrees. And because you’re busy taking care of everyone else, you tend put your own health last.
In a study conducted on behalf of the American Academy of Family Physicians, 90 percent of adult women in the United States are responsible for making healthcare decisions for themselves and their family members. This includes spouses, children, and other relatives, such as parents and grandparents. Unfortunately, while you make care and treatment decisions, most of you aren’t following doctor’s orders. In fact, 81 percent of the women we surveyed in our TeleVox Healthy World study, “A Fragile Nation in Poor Health,” admitted they do not follow treatment plans as exactly prescribed by doctors.
Luckily, we live in a technological age that enables patients to communicate with doctors and nurses more frequently and with greater ease. Through mobile apps, text messaging, email, and voicemail, patients now have the opportunity to stay connected with their doctors outside of the exam room, making location and lack of time both issues of the past. Today’s digital media is advancing wellness efforts and strengthening patient engagement — all while saving time and money.
Our studies showed that women requested the highest amount of between-visit care — and when you consider that they are the primary caregivers in most homes — this makes complete sense. So it follows that, as the decision makers when it comes to healthcare, you need adequate knowledge and tools to help you achieve success in that role. One of our TeleVox Healthy World studies, “Technology Beyond the Exam Room: How Digital Media is Helping Doctors Deliver the Highest Level of Care,” revealed that 84 percent of women said receiving digital communication updates from their healthcare professional, such as text messages, emails or voicemails, are as helpful, if not more helpful, than in-person conversations.
We found that when women integrate doctor-patient communication into their daily lives, they look for physicians who are attentive, receptive and accessible. You want to know that your doctor is listening. Some women reported wanting doctors to take a few more minutes to just ask them about their day — How’s the family? How’s the job? What’s new? Personalized engagement efforts go a long way. “Technology Beyond the Exam Room: How Digital Media is Helping Doctors Deliver the Highest Level of Care,” found that 55 percent of women want the communication they receive from healthcare professionals to be relevant to them as an individual, with 51 percent reporting that communication received from healthcare professionals should be personalized with information that is tailored to their specific needs. Thirty-four percent of women would like all communication from their doctor to be personalized with their name, and 11 percent said that they would ignore or refuse digital healthcare communication if it is not personalized. Another 23 percent expect the communication they receive outside of the exam room to help them become or remain healthy individuals.
It’s these small, but meaningful touches doctors can do to help you make your own well-being a priority. Whether it’s through emails that provide health and fitness tips, text messages that remind you to take medication, or voicemails reminding you to schedule a yearly exam, you want doctors who genuinely care about keeping you healthy. Doctors need to remind you that it’s okay to prioritize your own healthcare.
Originally published on Lipstick Economy, January 10, 2013