12 Feb 4 Ways to Reduce Patient Stress in and out of the Office
As a physician, there are many ways that you can help to ease stress and anxiety for your patients — whether they are nervous about a cosmetic procedure or feel overwhelmed with a new skin care regimen. Start with these four tips on how to reduce patient stress both in and out of the office.
1. Provide Clear Written Instructions
Patients often find it difficult to remember and follow their prescribed regimen, which can be frustrating and cause them to stop using their treatment products altogether, or never start in the first place. Always provide clear written instructions for each patient before they leave your office to reduce stress and confusion when they get home.
In my practice, I use the Skin Type Solutions software to generate step-by-step instructions based on each patient’s Baumann Skin Type®. Patients can access their skin care regimen at home via the Skin Type Solutions mobile app, so they don’t have to worry about remembering every single step on their own. The app also allows them to read information about their skin type and reorder products with the click of a button.
2. Retail Skin Care
Patients are bombarded with choices when it comes to buying skin care products. Online shoppers can run into problems like “copycat” or expired products that could be both ineffective and unsafe to use. When comparing products in drugstores or department stores, patients may see similar ingredient lists, but do not know how each product was formulated, which can change its effectiveness.
Offering skin care retail products in your office or through your online store can eliminate these problems and save your patients time, money, and stress in the long run.
3. Try Aromatherapy before Cosmetic Procedures
Some patients feel anxious before in-office procedures like BOTOX® injections, especially if this is their first treatment. Due to the global shortage of lidocaine, many practices are looking for alternatives to help calm patient anxiety. A 2011 study found that exposure to lavender oil was able to reduce heart rates and ease anxiety prior to BOTOX injections in sample of 30 patients, although it did not appear to have an effect on pain perception.
4. Schedule Frequent Follow-up Visits
Train your office staff to schedule a four-week follow-up visit with patients before they leave the office. Not only does this reduce the stress and hassle of having to call your office later to make an appointment, but frequent follow-up visits also help to reduce patient concern about side effects from treatment products, such as flaking from retinoids. Scheduling a follow-up visit within four weeks or less allows you to catch these problems sooner rather than later and adjust the regimen accordingly, so patients can stay on track and see great results without worrying about side effects.
Set your patients up for success by helping to reduce stress and anxiety surrounding doctor’s visits, in-office treatments, and at-home daily regimens. Provide step-by-step instructions that patients can easily access at home, offer skin care products in your office, ease anxiety before in-office procedures, and schedule frequent follow-up visits.
Do you have other ideas to help reduce patient stress and anxiety? Feel free to share them with me (Dr. Leslie Baumann) via LinkedIn!
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