When implementing digital health tools like Ocean into your practice, you may have considered the impact and benefits it would have on you and your clinic staff, but what about your patients?
For tech-savvy patients, tools like online booking and appointment reminders greatly improve the healthcare experience by reducing the time spent waiting on phones, making it easier to access care, which then promotes better patient engagement. But for patient populations who don’t take to technology so easily, they may need additional help to overcome barriers. Consider the following tips to help your patients feel more comfortable and increase their use of time-saving tools:
Provide clear and detailed instructions
The first time patients interact with Ocean, they may understandably be confused.
“Who and what is Ocean?”
“Why am I receiving messages from my doctor?”
For Ocean clinics, we’ve filled our Brand Assets page with patient-facing content and resources like logos, wayfinding signs for check-in kiosks, and one-pagers that help explain what Ocean is. Feel free to use these for notices on clinic websites, print them out for use in waiting rooms, or as a foundation when designing your own posters. If some of your patients speak a different language, consider translating your materials so everyone can use them.
For patients, we’ve created the Patient’s Guide to Using Ocean. This free online resource includes an introduction to the Ocean Platform, FAQs, and short videos that show patients how to book appointments online, how to open secure messages, and how to securely share documents and photos with their doctors. For patients concerned about their data and personal health information, there is a section dedicated to our security and privacy measures.
Make Ocean work for you and your patients
Some patients may struggle with physical tasks like writing, which can make it hard to fill out forms on a clipboard in the waiting room. Instead of paper forms, consider using a tablet with digital forms. With brighter screens, larger font sizes, and simple navigation, it can be a suitable alternative for patients with poor eyesight or lower dexterity.
Ocean’s eForm editor provides many customization options when it comes to building easy-to-use forms. Adding pictures can help when there is a lot of text or where English isn’t the first language. Checkboxes and visible options can also be useful, as they reduce the amount a patient might need to type.
One feature of Ocean that stands out for healthcare providers and their patients is our no-login, no-passwords required approach. By requiring only information known by the clinic and the patient, it’s a much smoother process while still being secure. If the patient has a caregiver or family member, this also makes it much easier for them to help with their care.
Provide additional support and alternatives
It’s important to keep in mind that technology doesn’t come easily to everyone, and everyone learns at their own pace. Having patience and empathy is one of the best ways to support your patients while you implement new tools. If they run into problems and don’t know where to turn, it can be extremely frustrating, for both you and your patients!
Set up a dedicated helpline or support email address to help patients with technical difficulties, and make sure the support staff are knowledgeable, friendly, and quick to address patient concerns.
If digital health tools aren’t working for all your patients, that’s okay. Just make sure you have alternatives they can use in the meantime while they continue to build their skills. Even if some of your patients aren’t comfortable using something like online booking, your careful consideration and implementation may help other patients become more comfortable, which in turn frees up your phone line for patients with higher needs – a win-win for everyone!
By carefully considering the needs of your patients during a technology roll-out, you’ll see better communication, fewer missed appointments, and stronger relationships when investing the time and resources into helping your patients.