As someone who is passionate about our company’s mission of helping our friends and neighbors live healthier through education, it is frustrating discussing patient education with most healthcare executives. Healthcare execs typically fall into three buckets:
1. Patients will never listen so why try? This defeatist attitude is the reason why patients fail. They can tell when their providers are indifferent and disinterested in them. The patients feel despair and tend to ignore their health.
2. Patients are sad, they need a break from their worries. That is great if you were providing patients with outlets to discuss their issues. Instead, patients are being placated with daytime TV which is full over sadness, political commentary, trashy shows, unhealthy commercials, class action law suits involving healthcare and commercials from your competitors whose patients look happier and healthier than your patient is feeling now.
3. Patient Education is nice, but it is too expensive. Without getting into the virtues of preventative medicine and how it helps reduce overall healthcare costs, would allow practices to operate more efficiently and would increase survey scores, let’s focus on the cost side. Halo Health, my company, provides customized, ad-free education in waiting and exam rooms for less than $5 a day. If you are seeing 50 patients (100 total people), the cost is $.10 per person. Where else will you get the opportunity to talk directly to your patients about how you make them live healthier for $.10?
These attitudes are the reasons why healthcare continues to be reactive versus proactive. A strong patient education program will:
1. Empower your patients. Patients will learn how to live healthier from the person they trust the most- you. Halo’s content focuses only on the disease states that you treat, your treatment philosophy, and how you are their solution. And don’t forget that they spend 5 times longer in the waiting room than with you.
2. Increase your provider-patient relationship. When you invest in the patient, they invest in you. They feel more comfortable discussing their issues, they are better informed on what you do so they ask better questions, and they see you in a humanized form. You become their partner in health, not this frazzled person who only gives them 5 minutes.
3. Increase practice or health system revenue. When patients are more informed, they tend to be more active in their health. This means more follow up appointments for diabetes prevention, obesity, and regular checkups. Patients focus on how you can help them and ask for referral partners who have the same beliefs. This keeps patients in network longer allowing you to manage more services and provide better outcomes.
Please contact me to discuss how we can work together. If for no other reason, I will teach you how to turn $5 into an additional $50.