As an ophthalmologist, you deal with something as sensitive as patients’ eyesight on a daily basis. You’re well trained in your specialty, with the right credentials and skillsets to back up your work. But one of the biggest challenges of being a healthcare professional in our modern landscape is how you convey your knowledge, diagnoses and recommendations to patients. You might know your subject matter back and front, but if you can’t make your patients comfortable, the experience may not be as impactful as it could be.
While it’s a no brainer that ophthalmologists need business insurance to protect their practice, medical equipment and employees, it’s also important to optimize how to communicate with and treat patients up front to prevent any misunderstandings before they occur.
Here are three key ways in which ophthalmologists can boost patient confidence before, during and after important procedures.
Be mindful of the language you use during the exam or surgery
Patients may be nervous during a procedure, whether it’s their first examination in a few years or a once-in-a-lifetime eye surgery. While you’ve performed these exact steps many times, it’s all new to your patients.
EyeNet Magazine from the American Academy of Ophthalmology outlines one case in which a doctor was performing cataract surgery on a patient and briefly mentioned the phrase “malignant glaucoma” as a remote possibility. The issue turned out to be nothing, but the patient came in for his one-month appointment insisting the doctor tell him more about his eye cancer. This example just goes to show that patients are listening at all times and looking for clues in your language, body cues and conversations with others in the room.
Make sure you’re instilling confidence in patients by running a routine operating room procedure without any hectic hiccups, plus taking the time to answer questions as you go.
Put yourself in your patient's shoes, then communicate
You went to school to specialize in eye care. Your patients didn’t. The Wall Street Journal reports that patients immediately forget up to 80 percent of medical information they receive, and up to half of the retained information is ultimately incorrect.
Not only is it helpful to provide written materials, but you can ask the patient to repeat back to you what they remember before they leave your office so you can be sure they have a working idea of how to take care of themselves moving forward. Avoid large chunks of medical jargon, and remember to let your patient know that no question is too simple to answer.
Treat patient confidentiality with the utmost professionalism
There’s no greater respect you can pay to your patients than taking measures to protect their privacy. As Healthcare Finance points out, many topics surrounding a patient’s visit are sensitive. While it may be just another medical issue to you, patients may be feeling shame or anxiety around their visit.
In addition to going above and beyond when it comes to HIPAA protections and keeping conversations discreet, your ophthalmology practice should consider cyber insurance to help reduce damages in case of a costly—and reputation-damaging—hack on your electronic records. After all, cyberattacks within healthcare organizations grew 63 percent in 2016 alone!
Your patients are at the core of your ophthalmology practice. That’s why you need to consider their wants and needs at every turn. Are you meeting patients halfway when it comes to communication? Do you have a plan in place for when everything doesn’t go according to plan, like after a data breach?
Just like you work hard to take care of your patients, it’s also important to look out for your practice, medical gear and staff members with business insurance for ophthalmologists. Compare quotes with CoverHound today so you can keep providing eye care that’s simply out of sight!