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The Post-Pandemic Patient: What Patients Now Look for in a Healthcare Provider

Key Takeaways

  • Patients want an easier way of communicating with their healthcare provider.
  • Patients expect fast responses from providers.
  • Every provider should use a communication platform to talk with patients and keep them informed.

COVID-19 has thrown a wrench in patient care. What we used to know about crowded doctor’s offices and long wait times to speak with a provider is now a distant memory. In a post-pandemic world, patients have different standards for their treatment and new expectations of providers. Although these shifts in health care were quick to evolve, such as telehealth visits and quick responses, it is unlikely that they will revert back to their old ways anytime soon.

Our WUWTA experts discussed the changing tides of patient care with board-certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon, Dr. Robert Bryan, to learn the two biggest changes he has seen with his patients and how he has adapted to meet their needs.

Change #1: Patients Want Easier Access to Their Provider

“After the pandemic, I noticed my patients are showing a genuine curiosity in their health. With the rise of social media trends, like spreading health hacks on TikTok, patients have more questions about trends that could be potentially harmful, not only to their oral health, but also to their overall health,” says Dr. Bryan.

Social media connects people together, but in terms of health advice and medical discussions, it may be too much of a good thing. Patients will see content for the latest and greatest way to lose weight, in one instance, and make poor health decisions based on their emotions instead of a professional medical recommendation. Some users are quick to purchase a supplement without knowing if it’s really safe just because an influencer said it works.

The internet is an endless source of information, but it can be difficult for patients to navigate the overwhelming amount of medical information.

“If a patient has a question on a health-related social media trend,” Dr. Bryan says, “I would rather have them send me a quick message asking about the trend rather than treating a preventable accident.”

Dental trends that circulate through social media are of particular concern.

Dr. Bryan explains, “The tooth filing TikTok trend using a nail filer to even out their teeth could cause irreversible damage that would compromise their teeth.”

These circumstances, and many others, can easily be avoided now that providers are easier to access. Instead of seeing patients come into his office with severe tooth pain and damage, his patients have easy access to him through an advanced communications platform, where he can answer their questions and prevent costly or painful choices.

Change #2: Patients Want Faster Responses From Their Provider

People have always had some demand for speed in any industry, from ordering food at a restaurant to having their concerns addressed immediately at a store. The healthcare industry is no exception.

“The customer convenience trend has quickly become the standard at our practice post-pandemic,” Dr. Bryan says. “People are used to getting a response from retail stores, restaurants, and primary care providers by sending a quick text message.”

COVID caused the world of healthcare to shift almost entirely online, and things happen fast online. When patients have questions, they want answers right away. By using a communications platform, Dr. Bryan can quickly address his patients’ concerns and provide support at every step of their care journey.

“At my practice, we want to deliver that same standard for all our patients moving forward and provide quick answers with the convenience of their smartphones.”

Through phone calls, text messages, and emails, Dr. Bryan and his team can communicate with patients when they need it most. This open channel of communication has become the standard for healthcare today, and practices have to keep up with patients’ evolving needs to provide top-notch care.

“Providers everywhere should be using a platform to talk with patients,” says Dr. Bryan. “It has continuously satisfied our patients’ need for information, opened a direct line of communication between patient and provider, and in a post-pandemic world, it’s exactly what we need.”

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