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How to take better care of your patients

Taking better care of your patients boils down to a handful of core ingredients. They need to feel safe, understood and values. But most importantly, you need to get results.

Man looking after smiling woman

Introduction: Why it's important to provide great patient care

As a healthcare provider, your primary goal is to provide the best possible care for your patients. However, in a busy practice, it's easy for this goal to be overshadowed by the thousand other things you’re juggling. 

The best way to keep your eyes on the prize is to build in systems and processes that make sure you prioritise patient needs, achieve the best health outcomes, and make it easy for your staff to meet those needs.

health care practitioners chatting in a hallway
Health care providers are solely responsible for delivering high quality care to their patients

In this article, we'll discuss a few ways that you can take better care of your patients. We'll cover the importance of effective communication, the benefits of using a patient portal, and the value of regular follow-ups. 

By implementing these patient centered care strategies, you'll be well on your way to providing the exceptional care that your patients deserve.

1. Effective Communication

One of the most important aspects of providing good patient care is effective communication. That might sound like common sense, but explaining every step of a patient’s journey can take a decent amount of effort.

physio and patient talking
Patient treatment is made easier by clear and honest communication

Patients want to feel heard and understood, and they also want to have a clear understanding of their treatment plan and what they can expect from their healthcare provider. Here are a few tips for improving communication with your patients:

Use clear and simple language 

  • Medical jargon can be confusing and overwhelming for patients. When explaining a diagnosis or treatment plan, use clear and simple language that can be easily understood. 
  • Avoid using technical terms and acronyms unless necessary, and be sure to define any new terms that you introduce.
  • Use a balanced approach, patient’s appreciate the specifics and technical terminology but also need it broken down into language they understand.

Encourage questions 

  • Patients may be hesitant to ask questions, so it's important to create a safe and welcoming environment where they feel comfortable speaking up. 
  • Encourage your patients to ask questions by letting them know that their input is valued and that you're there to help them. Be patient and willing to take the time to answer their questions thoroughly.

Active listening

  • Active listening involves fully engaging with the patient, paying attention to their words, and responding in a way that shows you understand what they're saying. 
  • Even though you may need to be multi-tasking, take the time to give your full attention after asking a question. 

 Provide written materials 

  • In addition to verbal communication, providing written materials can be a helpful way to ensure that patients have a clear understanding of their treatment plan and any instructions they need to follow. 
  • This can include handouts, brochures, or online resources that they can refer back to later.

 Be respectful of cultural differences 

  • It's important to be aware of and respectful of the cultural differences that may exist between you and your patients. This can include differences in language, customs, and beliefs. 
  • Take the time to learn about your patients' cultural backgrounds and any specific needs or preferences they may have. This can help to ensure that you provide care that is sensitive and appropriate to their individual circumstances.

Use visual aids 

  • Sometimes, it can be difficult for patients to fully understand complex medical information. In these cases, using visual aids can be helpful. 
  • This can include diagrams, charts, or videos that illustrate key concepts and make them easier to understand.

2. Dress up your practice with nice treatment tables

Your patient’s experience is broader than just the interaction they have with you and the team. They will often spend time sitting in the waiting room, laying on a treatment table, or in a range of unusual positions while being examined.

Alevo medical range
Alevo medical range is unrivalled in terms of quality and features

To make this experience as welcoming as possible, it’s your job to create a comfortable environment.

While we have some bias in this topic, we recommend your practice get fitted for a set of treatment tables specific to your modality

Even though the treatment process may be stressful and challenging for patients, making them as physically comfortable as possible can go a long way to helping them relax. They may not comment on the quality of your treatment tables but they will definitely notice.

This recommendation is especially important for massage therapists and any speciality where your patients will be face-down on a table, or spend a decent percentage of their visit on your table. 

Before you finish reading this article, take a quick look at our Australian made Alevo: Health range. Any of these tables would be sure to improve your patient’s experience. 

 3. Use a patient portal

A patient portal is an online tool that allows patients to access their medical records, communicate with their healthcare team, and manage their healthcare needs. 

Even though patient portals may feel like one more thing that you and your staff have to manage, they can cut down significantly on the overhead of patient management. Your staff will receive fewer “simple” questions, patients can do more of their own appointment management, and once the initial portal is set up it won’t require significant ongoing maintenance. 

medical staff working on ipad
A good patient portal can help achieve better clinical outcomes by removing "admin" from the healthcare equation

Here are a few other reasons why you should consider implementing a patient portal in your practice:

  • Convenience - A patient portal allows patients to access their medical information from anywhere, at any time. This can be especially helpful for patients who may have difficulty coming into the office for an appointment or who need to access their records outside of regular office hours.
  • Improved communication - A patient portal provides a secure and convenient way for patients to communicate with their healthcare team. Patients can send messages, request prescription refills, and schedule appointments. 
  • Empowerment - A patient portal gives patients access to their medical records and allows them to play an active role in their healthcare. From the patient’s perspective, they can often feel like they’re along for the ride with no control over the treatment process, so allowing them to call some of the shots is often appreciated.
  • Giving patients what they want - Patients appreciate having access to their medical records and being able to communicate with you and your team. 
  • Reducing administrative overheads - A patient portal can help to streamline administrative tasks and reduce the need for manual paperwork. This can free up time for your team to focus on patient care (or other activities that move the needle).
  • Saving money- This benefit isn’t always true, because patient portals carry their own expenses, however, there are times when you can save money. Printing and mailing paper records and paying staff just to manage patients isn’t cheap.

You might be on the fence about implementing a system like this for your practice, and you’re probably justified in this thinking. It costs time and money, plus you need to go through a patient education process. But if you set it up correctly then you won’t have to do it ever again (or at least for several years).

In case you’re considering it but just need a little push, here are a few tips to help you get started:

  • Research your options - There are tons of different vendors available, each with their own features and capabilities. Take the time to research your options and find a vendor that meets your practice's specific needs. We could go into more detail but it would derail this article. Google is your friend here, but make sure you look for online reviews from other practitioners in your position.
  • Involve your staff - Implementing a patient portal will require changes to your practice's workflows and processes. This will be met with friction. No one likes change, even if the outcome is beneficial. Get ahead of this issue by involving your staff from the outset and getting their opinions on potential platforms.
  • Let your patient’s know - Implementing a patient portal is a big change for your patients as well. Be sure to let them know you’re thinking about adopting a new system and the benefits it will provide. You may have to record a few videos or print out of “how to” manual to help with the onboarding process.
  • Monitor and evaluate - Once your patient portal is up and running, you need to make sure it’s making life easier. The best way to do this is by collecting feedback from your staff and your patients. Not everything will be positive or useful, but there may be problems you’re unaware of that can be straight forward to fix.

 4. Regular follow-ups

Setting up regular follow-ups allow you to monitor your patients' progress, address any concerns or questions they may have, and make any necessary adjustments to their treatment plan. 

Creating a longer-term plan for checking in with your patients can also vindicate their choice to see you in the first place. It says to them “yes, you have an issue that is worth solving and we’ll do it together”. 

patient conversing with medical staff
Postive relationships with patients take time to build, and can be helped by regular follow-ups

Here are a few tips to help you improve your follow-up process:

  • Schedule follow-ups at the time of the initial visit - When a patient comes in for an initial visit, take the time to schedule any necessary follow-up appointments. This helps to ensure that follow-ups don't get overlooked and that patients have a clear understanding of their ongoing care plan.
  • Use reminders - Remind patients of their upcoming follow-up appointments through phone calls, text messages, or emails. This can help to reduce the dreaded no-shows and volume of excuses when patients forget their appointments.
  • Prepare for the follow-up - Before the follow-up appointment, review the patient's medical records and any relevant test results. This will help you to be prepared and ensure that the appointment is as productive as possible.
  • Address any concerns or questions - During the follow-up appointment, take the time to listen to the patient and address any concerns or questions they may have. This helps to build trust and ensure that the patient feels heard and understood.
  • Make any necessary adjustments to the treatment plan - Based on the patient's progress and any new information, make any necessary adjustments to the treatment plan.
  • Communicate with other healthcare providers - If the patient is seeing other healthcare providers, take the time to communicate with them about the patient's progress and any changes to the treatment plan. 

    Medical treatment table in a chiropractor's room
    A well-fitted clinic makes your life easier when its time to treat patients


 Providing high-quality patient care is a top priority for healthcare providers. By focusing on effective communication, using a patient portal, and implementing regular follow-ups, you can ensure that your patients receive the care they need and deserve. These strategies can help to improve patient satisfaction, increase patient engagement, and ultimately lead to better patient outcomes.