Each Virtual Patient Center uses communication techniques popular on today’s social networks. These features include character videos, Q and A sections, photo reels, blogs, video tips, etc. Developers with Screen the Doc set out to address three critical areas overlooked by many entities in the current medical field.
- Patients rank bedside manner as one of the top deciding factors when choosing a physician.
- 80 percent of online searches are for health and provider information, according to data from the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project.
- Many existing hospital and practice websites lack personal, human-interest information on their physicians. Instead, they present medical credentials, a standard headshot of the doctor(s) and details about facility operations.
“There’s a growing trend of people turning to the Web for medical advice from practices and hospitals. Many times, they’re greeted by a static website with outdated communication styles,” said Stephen Bon, president of Screen the Doc. “The sites completely conflict with what they seek when making informed medical decisions.”
A survey by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) found that 95% of participants believe bedside manner or communication skills were very important or important as a key factor when choosing a doctor. This ranked ahead of board certification, hospital affiliation, place of training and office location.
“People want to ‘know’ the personality of their healthcare provider before committing,”
Development of the Virtual Patient Center model started some three years ago. Much of the concept’s infancy was spent researching online usage trends among patients and shifts to a more digital healthcare industry.
“The language of the Internet has changed leaps and bounds from even five years ago,” Bon said. “People want fast, personal interactions presented in an array of communication styles,” He said. “Back in the day, it was all delivered as the written word. Now, Internet users want video, visuals, responsive features, etc… The same goes when they’re shopping for a medical provider.”
The Virtual Patient Center model offers a “sneak peek” of how a physician looks, talks and acts when face-to-face with a patient. It also highlights the doctor’s personality outside of the practice or hospital. According to Bon, the segments aim to familiarize people with the physician’s communication style. More important, it allows patients to audition their future doctor from the comforts of home.
“Hopefully, this will help reduce some of the uncertainty and anxiety many of us feel when faced with a first-time visit to a new practice,” Bon said. “Now you know what to expect when walking through the doors.”
For more information, visit www.ScreentheDoc.com.