How to Use Technology to Engage Patients

One of the most important relationships a person has is with their doctor. A good physician-patient relationship leads to patients who are better informed about their health, more comfortable asking questions, and more likely to return for annual visits and checkups. Developing stronger relationships is on the top of every medical professionals’ to-do list, whether they are a doctor, a nurse, or a rheumatology practice manager. Luckily, there are many ways to engage patients, and one of the latest is through technology. Below are three ways to foster stronger relationships with your patients through technology.

Interact with patients outside of the office virtually.

Physicians and medical staff can use mobile technology, such as video chat and instant message, to communicate with patients between visits. If patients have a question or need assistance, but don’t have the time or ability to make an appointment, these visits can be held virtually. Some practices are even lending tablets to their patients, which can also be used to track stats, which are sent to the physician automatically. Finally, virtual visits are a great way to coach patients, educate them, and keep them motivated. Just remember that any platform you use must be HIPAA compliant to protect the privacy of your patient and your practice.

Connect with patients on social media.

Using Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram is a good way to connect with your patients and make them feel more comfortable with your practice. While you cannot and should not share personal medical information in a public forum, you can create a business page for your practice and share general health tips and information about your practice. Providing a behind-the-scenes look at your practice, along with some personal details about your staff, is a great way for patients to feel as if they “know” you. This increases trust and loyalty, and will make them more comfortable coming in for an appointment.

Monitor your online reviews.

World-of-mouth is still the best way to market your practice, and nowhere does news travel faster than on the internet. There are many sites, such as Facebook and Yelp, where patients will share their experience at your practice with other patients, for better and for worse. It’s a great idea to monitor those sites and address any negative feedback you receive quickly, thoroughly, and—if possible—publically. This will help preserve your good reputation, and help your patients trust you.

We hope these tips help you find new ways to connect with and engage your patients! If you have any other success stories, be sure to let us know via our Facebook page.

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  • As a speaker at the first ad hoc meeting of rheumatology practice managers gathered in a single small room at its infancy a decade ago, I’m amazed to see how NORM has blossomed into a high energy organization of depth and professional meetings with parallel break-out symposia between plenary sessions. NORM has truly come of age. This is where the “business” of rheumatology gets learned. The ”guildmanship” for rheumatology practice management is now strong.- Paul H. Caldron, DO, FACP, FACR, MBA, Arizona Arthritis and Rheumatology Associates
  • In a time of demanding changes in the management of medical practices in the US, NORM has been a lifesaver to the community of Rheumatology practices.  NORM has allowed our practice to stay ahead of the many demands of CMS and others payors and has ensured that our practice remains cognizant of new issues that arise in HIPPA compliance, human resources and medical billing to name a few. Sending our Practice Manager to NORM's conferences has been cost-effective and beneficial to our practice because she returns to our office with an abundance of information that otherwise would have taken months to compile. Every Rheumatology practice that wishes to stay on top of emerging issues in practice management should consider sending a member of their staff to NORM's conference.- Michael S. Rosen M.D., Chester County Rheumatology PC
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