Making your bariatric patient journey as simple and enabled as possible is the best way to ensure optimal results for both your patients and your business.
The way you communicate with your patients matters. Almost half of all patients use technology such as email, text messaging, or messaging via their electronic health record to communicate with their healthcare providers. Your ability to effectively educate your patients throughout their bariatric journey depends on providing convenient, accessible information to them at the right times and in their preferred formats. Getting it right can be challenging, but the benefits to your practice are clear.
- A simple and effective patient journey helps to improve health outcomes, reduce negative outcomes, and increase patient satisfaction.
- Providing the right information at the right time is key to successful patient education.
- Information needs to be accessible and convenient to suit modern bariatric patients.
The Advantages of Simplifying the Bariatric Patient Journey
There are several key advantages to simplifying the bariatric patient journey and ensuring that every patient is fully enabled. A smoother process can create better health outcomes, fewer negative outcomes, and higher levels of patient satisfaction:
Improve Health Outcomes
Better patient enablement leads to better health outcomes. When a patient is fully engaged and enabled in the bariatric journey, they can participate as partners in their own healthcare. This leads to:
- Better communication between the patient and their care team
- More compliance with the care plan, including preoperative preparation and postoperative lifestyle changes
- Improved decision-making based on the patient’s needs and preferences
- Better identification and mitigation of potential risks and complications
Overall, patients are more likely to receive the most efficient and effective care for them if they are fully enabled. This helps everything run smoothly and equips the entire care team with the information they need to plan and execute a successful surgery.
Minimize Negative Outcomes
Many of the potential negative outcomes of bariatric surgery can be prevented or reduced through good management of the patient journey. A simple, better-enabled patient journey ensures that patients are thoroughly prepared for surgery and what to expect afterward. Patients who are well prepared for their procedure are less likely to:
- Develop postoperative eating disorders
- Feel shame about loose hanging skin
- Become discouraged by postoperative weight gain
- Feel isolated after surgery
- Not know who to contact about postoperative complications such as low blood pressure
By helping your patients fully understand what to expect in advance, you can minimize the negative impact of these outcomes.
Increase Patient Satisfaction
With better health outcomes and fewer negative outcomes, patients are going to be more satisfied with your practice. High levels of patient satisfaction are critical to the ongoing success of your practice, and are associated with:
- A strong surgical reputation
- Higher patient retention
- Higher patient acquisition
- Increased revenue consistency
- Higher staff morale
- Increased professional satisfaction for staff
- Better accreditation
By simplifying and better enabling the bariatric patient journey you set your practice up for future growth and success.
How to Simplify the Journey and Better Enable Your Bariatric Patients
A smooth, simple journey for your bariatric patients relies on how and when you give them information throughout the process. It’s vital to provide your patients with the information they need in an accessible format that they can consume at times that are convenient to them.
Provide the Right Information at the Right Time
Giving patients the right information at the right time is key to creating a smooth experience. It’s easy to overwhelm patients by overloading them with medical information, which can be complex and jargon-heavy and lead to patients shutting down. It’s equally easy to withhold too much information for too long and fail to prepare your patients adequately. In a BMJ Open study, many patients felt that their providers failed to adequately prepare them for the first few weeks after bariatric surgery.
So how do you ensure your patients get the information they need without becoming overwhelmed?
- Start early. Early patient engagement helps to build a stronger surgeon-patient relationship. It gives you ample time to provide the information patients need in bite-sized chunks, and for patients to absorb all the information at their own pace.
- Maintain a direct line of communication. Patients should know who they can reach out to when they have questions. As they progress through their bariatric journey, each patient will have different needs, anxieties, and degrees of understanding, so it’s important to provide them with a contact person to address those things when they arise.
- Listen to their questions. The questions your patient asks can provide insight into how much they have understood and what other information they are ready to receive. A complete lack of questions can indicate that a patient is overwhelmed, and you need to slow down, whereas having many questions might tell you that the patient feels in the dark about the process. Use their questions to guide you in giving them the right amount of information at each stage.
- Send helpful nudges. Online patient education can easily get lost in the chaos of everyday life. Sending reminders and nudges at regular intervals helps to ensure patients see the information and don’t end up with a backlog of reading that will most likely be skimmed over or skipped entirely.
Make Information Accessible and Convenient
The accessibility of the information you provide your patients is just as important as its timing. Modern patients are accustomed to consuming information in a wide range of mediums, including through:
- Social media
- Short-form video
- Blog posts
- Patient portals
Providing patients with all their information through in-person consultations and handouts won’t meet modern expectations. It’s important to understand where and when your patients prefer to consume information and to provide them with a variety of options that suit their preferences and busy schedules.
That might involve creating a series of infographics that you can upload to several different social media platforms as well as printing out as a hard copy available during visits. Automated services like chatbots and patient portals are increasingly familiar to patients and are accessible 24/7. Thirty-seven percent of Americans listen to podcasts, which are easy to consume while driving or completing household chores. Providing your patients with a variety of options like these increases their chances of being willing and able to consume them.
Reach Your Patients with Wellbe
Wellbe’s solutions are designed to optimize your patient communication to help you create a smooth, simple patient journey for every person who walks through your doors. Automated reminders and convenient patient portals are just two of the many conveniences that help ensure modern patients stay engaged and well educated throughout their bariatric journey.
Contact us today to find out how Wellbe can simplify your patient journey.