Eight Tips to Enhance Patient Communication

1. Build a Web site that represents your practice in a patient-useful manner. 

  • Update it frequently, especially when you open a new office, add a physician, or add or change hours. 
  • Create links to interesting and informative health care articles or specific procedures or treatments related to your practice.
  • Add capabilities that enhance the patient experience – personal health record applications, online appointment scheduling, online bill pay, and videos that humanize your practice and physicians. 

2. Prepare and distribute a patient handbook to introduce your practice.  This can be online and/or hard copy depending on your patient population.  Explain your office policies like prescription refills, appointment scheduling and billing up front in a patient-friendly manner, and list special services and procedures.  Be sure your receptionist shares this with every new patient 3. Periodically publish a patient newsletter to provide information about your practice, staff and patients.  Once again, this can be electronic and/or hard copy.  Be sure to provide access to it from your Web site.  Include plenty of photos, testimonials and news your patients can use.  Remember consistency is more important than frequency so start with a quarterly or biannual issue. 4. Develop a professional-looking, consistent stationery package that includes logo, letterhead, envelopes, business cards, appointment cards, note cards and envelopes, mailing labels, prescription pads, and referral pads and folders, if appropriate, for patient handouts. 5. Regularly review all patient materials, including patient education sheets, for accuracy and consistency. 6. Have personalized business cards printed for all your staff. Encourage them to use them with patients and everyone else they come in contact with. 7. Listen to what your patients ask you.  Always establish eye contact, and use their names to show your genuine concern for them. 8. Send a follow-up note to new patients, thanking them for choosing you and welcoming them to your practice.  Reiterate the importance of follow-up appointments (if appropriate) and regular check-ups.