How to Maintain Trust With Patients During Uncertain Times

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During periods of uncertainty, communication is key. The spread of misinformation, false advice, and fake news is on the rise. The current COVID-19 health crisis has caused an increase in conflicting, unverified sources of information across the internet, and the popularity of social media has seen this grow into a widespread problem. 

To combat this, it's important to be transparent with your messaging. And aim to maintain clear communication with your patients to help combat any confusion they may be experiencing. 

Here are some ways you can maintain your patient's trust with clear and accurate communication. 

1. Regular Email and SMS Campaigns

Your email and SMS campaigns are a great way of sharing useful and relevant information with your patients. They let you promote up-to-date healthcare news, preventative advice, and more, with as little as a phone number or email address. With so much unreliable information out there, it's important to leverage your campaigns to build up a trustworthy rapport with your patients. 

An effective campaign tool can filter your patients into specific categories, allowing you to tailor your campaigns towards individual demographics. This is extremely useful for vulnerable groups, as it's important to ensure they have access to the information that could help protect them from harm.

By regularly sharing content with your patients, you can lessen the spread of misinformation and build up your practice as a source of accurate advice that patients can trust.

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2. Consistent, Clear Messaging

The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the spread of misleading healthcare advice nationwide. If patients are unable to separate fact from fiction, or navigate the minefield of differing opinions and misinformation, then they can be reluctant to seek treatment, or worse, will follow advice that causes more harm than good. With this in mind, try to remain consistent with your messaging and remain clear across all communication. 

Inside your practice, digital signage can be used to display helpful information that educates patients and dispels any false hearsay. Away from the practice, telehealth solutions such as video consultations and check-ups can be a great way for patients to interact directly with doctors and answer any questions they may have. 

You can also share information online via your patient portal. A simple Q&A can be incredibly useful at highlighting misinformation and presenting patients with concrete, reliable advice from official sources in its place. 

3. Easily Digestible Language

Ambiguity is often rife during difficult situations. Even if well-intentioned, poorly-worded guidance, and misinterpreted directions can be damaging, especially when it comes to healthcare. 

You can help to mitigate this by being transparent and pragmatic across all communications with patients. This involves sharing factual medical advice that is easy for patients to understand. Avoid using generalisations if you can, and aim to be as concise as possible, to avoid over-explaining. 

Lead with the facts, remain transparent, and proactively share new guidance if changes do happen, and you'll ensure patients come to you for the information they need not the internet. 

Keep Your Patients Informed

Communicating with patients through email, phone, or online services is essential during times of uncertainty.  With the right tools, you can keep your patients in the know and maintain their trust in your organisation, so they feel informed, safe, and secure during difficult times.

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