To promote more insight into patient outreach best practices, we will be writing a series of posts addressing specific topics related to our own experiences with patient engagement, enrollment, and relationship development.
With many patients less likely to come in for doctor’s visits or schedule elective surgeries because of COVID-19, the pandemic has profoundly impacted how doctors and care coordinators connect with their patients.
Through our own outreach over the past four months, we have learned that everybody has a story having to do with the pandemic. Many people express gratitude that we are reaching out to them, especially those who are struggling with their condition. The stress they have in their lives does have an impact on the state of their condition, so just having someone as a voice on the other end of the phone saying, ‘I hear you, I care’, goes a long way for them.
When talking to a patient who does seem to be having a hard time – whether it be with their condition, or in another facet of their life – it is usually best to just let them talk it out. In those situations, we try to make the calls as conversational as possible. We talk to them about their lives, ask them what they do for a living. It is always important to empathize with them as much as possible, and listen to their stories. Once patients know they have an ear listening to them, they are very grateful.
When you get down to the nitty-gritty, everything we do as care coordinators is about helping people. In our current chaotic climate, it is especially important to show patients that we care about them as human beings. Once we have established that rapport, they are that much more likely to open up to us on their condition, because they know we get it, and they know that we are there to help.