Three ways to increase trust between doctors and patients

By Xtremax and Sitecore

Karen Lim, Marketing Director, Xtremax, and Alison Sainsbury, Senior Director for Digital Experience, Sitecore, share how healthcare providers can communicate better with patients to bridge the doctor-patient information gap.

The development of Covid-19’s vaccine in record time was nothing short of a medical marvel. Unfortunately, what followed was an epidemic of vaccine hesitancy globally that revealed public mistrust in medical institutions.

To repair this divide between doctors and patients, medical institutions need to first address the information gap that makes patients feel uncertain. Digital healthcare can do this by making information easy to find for patients, painting a clear picture of patient profiles for doctors, and providing consistent information.

Karen Lim, Marketing Director, Xtremax, and Alison Sainsbury, Senior Director for Digital Experience, Sitecore, share three ways digital healthcare can help doctors build trust with patients.

Make information easy to find for patients

From the moment patients begin researching healthcare options, they need to be able to find useful information on healthcare platforms.

Marketing teams for healthcare providers can use data analytics to uncover where patients might need more guidance, explains Sainsbury. For instance, which web pages do patients spend more time on, and which pages do they skip over? This may identify where communication is lacking.

Once marketing teams identify these pages, they can improve them by making information easier to find. Doctors and patients can use powerful search platforms to retrieve such information quickly, shares Lim.

“Businesses and citizens struggled with the mountain of data available on the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s (MAS) website, which made it hard to navigate,” Lim elaborates. So, Xtremax introduced a powerful search platform which included smart search filters and auto suggestions that helped citizens find what they needed better.

“Healthcare providers can also convey complex information through charts, similar to what we did for MAS,” shares Lim. This allows the citizens browsing the website to translate data into “compelling and easy-to understand formats” for themselves.

Xtremax’s digital consultancy team can help design a patient’s journey across digital services to improve their experience and engage them better. Previously, they developed a one-stop portal that brought together all of Singapore’s National Environment Agency’s digital services, transforming the way citizens interacted with the agency.

Paint a clear picture for doctors

When doctors have a clear picture of patient profiles, they can understand their patients better and provide better care.

Currently, patient data is siloed across various services, agencies, and clinics, note both Lim and Sainsbury. It is vital that these services are integrated so that a patient’s complete medical records are available for the doctor. This way, patients don’t need to repeat themselves, saving valuable time in the process.

Beyond integrating medical data across different health agencies, medical records should also integrate data from health apps such as Apple Health, shares Sainsbury. Such data can give healthcare providers a clearer sense of patient lifestyles outside of the clinic. In turn, they can suggest lifestyle changes to prevent future ailments, she adds.

Integrating data across these platforms will pave the way for personalised medicine, shares Lim. AI tools can use such data to predict potential health risks. This is a project that Singapore’s Integrated Health Information Systems is working on as well, shared GovInsider.

Provide consistent content across all channels

Healthcare providers should also strive to provide patients with consistent messaging across social media, health apps, and government press releases. This helps them remain more assured of their healthcare needs.

In turn, this encourages citizens to take care of their health long before they ever step foot in a doctor’s office. It is vital for healthcare providers to share engaging content to enhance patient awareness on key messages such as vaccination rollouts, shares Sainsbury.

Providing consistent information was key towards building citizen trust in Covid-19 vaccination campaigns, shared Professor Joshua Tucker, Co-Director of the Center for Social Media and Politics, New York University, with GovInsider.

When patients understand medical information, they are more likely to trust doctors and seek help early. In turn, when doctors have a clear understanding of patient lifestyles, they can provide more targeted information from the get-go.