If you work in the medical field, you already know just how much trust your patients and their families put in the professionals that treat them. For many people, visiting a medical office can be stressful, even if it’s just for preventive care. Anything your team can do to improve their experience and relieve their fears will be appreciated, remembered, and potentially rewarded in the future.
One of the best ways to keep patients at ease is to improve your office’s communication with them as much as possible. According to the International Journal of Clinical Practice, poor communication has been linked to several negative outcomes, including patient discontinuity of care and inefficient use of resources. To deliver important information effectively, we’ll recommend some useful print items that can significantly improve patient communication.
Perhaps the quickest and most effective way to broadly communicate with patients is to post printed signage at key points in your office, such as your waiting area and individual patient rooms. These kinds of prints are great for publicizing general information that all patients will want to know, including public health tips, safety information (especially if you’re still implementing COVID restrictions), and other materials that may be applicable for your particular patients. For example, a family visiting a pediatrician’s office may be more interested in diagrams about car seat safety, while dentistry patients may find information on the signs of tooth decay more useful. Even if your office generally stays on schedule, most patients will still find themselves occasionally waiting for a few minutes, which makes signage well-positioned to attract their attention.
It’s important to note that healthcare facilities must follow Joint Commission standards, which no longer allow paper signage to be posted on office walls. Before you start hanging your new materials, be sure to slip each piece in a plastic sleeve or print them on synthetic materials to adhere to these guidelines and pass future evaluations. If you’re interested in reviewing Joint Commission standards yourself, you can find them here.
Of course, it’s unlikely that every patient will see every sign hanging in your office during their visit. To make sure all your patients are well-informed on the most important topics, you can also create printed flyers that each visitor can take home with them after their appointment. Some of these flyers can include similar information to your in-office signage, particularly any general advice you can provide that is relevant to your specialty. However, flyers can also be a great way to distribute tips and reminders on timely issues, such as flu season, seasonal allergies, or common sports injuries for kids. With these materials conveniently within reach in their own homes, patients and their families can quickly reference the information whenever it’s needed.
For more personalized patient communication, nice, branded stationary is a must. Keeping stationary for your office on hand is helpful in a variety of circumstances. If you want to write a quick note or recommendation for your patient during an appointment, jotting it down on branded paper will help them remember who the advice came from days or weeks later. Additionally, including your office’s contact information on the prints provides an easy reference for patients if they decide to contact you again, or if they want to refer you to their friends and family. Personal stationary can also be used to write thank-you notes for both new and long-time patients to thank them for their trust in you and show how much you truly care for them.
In this day and age, many medical services have moved primarily online. To make it as easy as possible for your patients to access these helpful services, consider using QR codes that lead directly to relevant webpages. This strategy can be especially useful to communicate details of newer digital experiences, such as telehealth portals or MyChart records. To distribute the QR codes for these links, you might start by printing large versions of the codes, laminating them, and hanging them throughout the office. You could also consider including QR codes on your office’s appointment cards or on a refrigerator magnet to make it easy for patients to find and use the codes from home.