The Importance and Benefits of Transparency for Healthcare Providers
The concept of transparency has gained quite a lot of prominence over the last few years, especially within the healthcare industry. But, what is transparency? And, how has it become so relevant?
What is transparency anyway?
Transparency is an open form of truthful communication between an organization, its employees, customers and potential customers, which doesn’t conceal any hidden agendas or conditions. It is meant to build trust that starts from within, then works its way out to the public so consumers can make better knowledgeable decisions.
It is a pertinent quality for any business to posses, especially healthcare providers. We are living in the information age, a time in which at any moment we can find the answer to a question within just a few seconds. With this type of instantaneous access to information comes a rise in feedback through ratings and reviews, comments on social media, and other forms of online content sharing. Whether it’s good or bad, right or wrong, it’s out there for consumers to see.
Because of this, it is imperative that healthcare providers utilize these outlets for themselves to apply transparency throughout their organization. With 74% of internet users engaging on social media, and 80% of those internet users specifically looking for health related information, it’s better to start engaging sooner rather than later.
How do you put it into practice?
As mentioned before, transparency should start internally with all employees. They should know about important matters throughout the organization currently, as well as what changes might be coming up in the future. Employees need to be kept in the loop and understand that they’re valued.
Then, employees can focus on patient engagement by keeping them informed during any face-to-face encounters. Make sure they know about their payments, upcoming appointments, and what goals they’re trying to accomplish. For example, if you’re currently switching EMRs and billing is backed up, you should let them know and remind them that it might be a few more weeks until they receive their bill.
Potential patients need to be able to find your website to understand who you are, what you do, and what you value as an organization.
Next, it’s crucial to implement a few marketing initiatives:
- A well-designed, responsive, up-to-date website – Potential patients need to be able to find your website to understand who you are, what you do, and what you value as an organization.
- An appropriate social media presence – Decide which outlets are best to reach current and potential patients, and provide them with updates, insights and responses to their comments (Important Notice: Patient information should always remain safe and secure. Make sure never to post anything interfering with HIPAA Compliance).
- A relevant blog – Publish articles that are applicable to your practice or organization. You should be a key source of information for any news, updates or questions pertaining to your specialty.
Possibly the most important suggestion is administering a third-party survey and posting provider ratings online. There’s no better way to demonstrate transparency in healthcare than by showing how your patients rate their experiences with you. Remember though, never post any form of personal patient information. The results you report should be anonymous and untraceable to any of your patients. You can always check out the HIPAA website for further clarification.
Now that you know what transparency is and how to attain it, here is some insight into its benefits.
Employees will be happier knowing where the organization stands, where it’s headed, and where they fit into that picture. If they’re well-informed about what’s going on internally, honest communication thrives and teamwork becomes more productive.
Current patients will appreciate your integrity and continued effort to keep them updated of any changes happening. They’ll know their healthcare provider cares about them and offers these resources as part of their loyalty to them.
Lastly, potential patients get to see the upstanding brand you have built through being transparent. If someone looks up a healthcare question related to your specialty, they might stumble upon your blog for the answer. If someone is comparing providers, they’ll likely come across the ratings on your website. Or, if someone searches for a healthcare provider on social media, they could find your organization at the top of the listing with engaging content for them to check out. They’ll trust you more than they trust your competitor, who hasn’t taken any initiative to become transparent.
Like any other business competing in today’s information age, healthcare providers must make the decision to be forthright with their audience. Be upfront about what you do and be proud to let the world know about it. Use transparency to build long-lasting relationships and a virtuous healthcare organization.