5 Ways Therapists Can Utilize Email for Better Care

To hear some online marketers obsessed with social media talk, you would think that email is dead. Yet it is not. Email remains a remarkably effective tool for communicating with people across a wide variety of demographics. It is a particularly useful tool in the medical arena, especially for therapists. Physical, occupational, and speech therapists can use email to provide better care.

The key to successfully using email is to come up with a defined purpose for doing so. Without a set strategy in place, email can quickly become just another way to send out meaningless information that people will never read. On the other hand, targeted use of email can produce excellent results.

Just to demonstrate the potential, here are five ways therapists can utilize email for better care:

1. New Patient Introductions

It used to be that a patient’s initial introduction to his or her therapist took place at the first visit. A lot of therapists still do that, but some are turning to email as a way of facilitating new patient introductions a few days prior to a patient’s actual visit. Email introductions can be personalized to each patient and, as an added bonus, they tend to be less intimidating to patients who already have a fear of healthcare services.

2. Post-Treatment Follow-Up

Even the most successful treatments do not necessarily guarantee satisfied patients. In light of that, medical professionals are beginning to adopt the customer journey principal developed by the hospitality sector. The customer journey model is encouraging them to send follow-up emails in the weeks immediately after the conclusion of treatment.

A follow-up email can take many forms. It can inquire as to how the patient is feeling. It can ask the patient to rate his or her satisfaction with the services received. Regardless of how it’s framed, a follow-up email accomplishes two things. It helps the therapist understand what is working and what is not, and it gives patients a sense of security knowing that their therapists are checking in with them.

3. Patient Reminders

Nothing is more frustrating to therapists than discovering patients are not being faithful to their home exercise programs. A lot of times though, it’s just an out-of-sight, out-of-mind sort of thing. Sometimes something as simple as an email reminder keeps patients on track with their exercises. They just need to be reminded so that the distractions of daily life do not sidetrack them.

4. Patient Education

Next is the idea of patient education. As a therapist yourself, you know that things in your chosen field are constantly changing. Many of your patients would benefit from new treatment modalities, a better understanding of their particular conditions, and so forth.

The thing is that patients will not have access to that information unless they make a concerted effort to stay abreast of industry news. Therapists can be educational advocates by using email to inform patients of new and relevant information.

5. Practice Updates

Finally, therapists can and should be using email to keep patients abreast of practice updates. For example, a physical therapist might be bringing in a locum tenens replacement so he can take a month-long leave of absence. Rather than leaving patients to be surprised at their next visit, he can send a quick email to let them know he will be out of the office. He can also use the email to introduce patients to the locum.

Email is a great tool for keeping patients informed. Used sparingly and with certain targets in mind, it can be more effective than any other form of electronic communication.

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