By definition, empathy stands for the ability to understand and share the feelings of others.
Physical therapists spend most of their time with patients each of whom is a different person with different needs and burdens. Sharing and understanding those burdens is the secret why some PT clinics have countless patients ready to wait for weeks just to get seen.
While providing high quality treatment and professional medical care is the most important thing for a PT clinic, oftentimes, it’s taken for granted: it’s the physician’s job to treat and cure every patient that walks into the clinic, and make sure their needs are satisfied.
However, the ability to care and share the feelings of patients doesn’t come by default. It’s something that should be a part of the clinic’s corporate culture. In a study published in CMAJ, it was found that a simple gesture of empathy towards the patient can lead to tremendous results in terms of positive impact treatment.
It’s not empathy itself that influences the curing process: rather, it’s the motivation and positive attitude of the patient towards the treatment that helps make the curing process more efficient and boosts patient satisfaction after the treatment is over. Physical therapists are responsible for curing the physical pain, but it’s the ability to relate to the patient’s feelings that really makes a difference.
There are hundreds of PT clinics out there: how do you make patients choose your clinic over others? Surely, professional attitude and quality of treatment is important, but then, there are many outstanding PT clinics who can offer the same level of services as you.
What others may be lacking though (and which isn’t technically a part of a PT’s job) is the ability to really understand and sooth the patients when they are scared and afraid. This is your best chance to improve the reputation of your clinic in their eyes.
While it’s understandable that PT’s don’t have a whole day to sit and talk to each patient, it doesn’t have to be anything of that sort: A simple gesture of empathy (acknowledging that you understand the problems, ensuring patients that everything will be fine, etc.) can make all the difference. It will only take a minute or two, but will result in a great deal of word of mouth marketing for your PT clinic and boost your clinic’s reputation in the eyes of patients.
In business terms, better reputation means more profit. Empathetic brands generate up to 50% more profits and some of the most successful businesses in the world have a very high empathy score.
You might think that showing empathy is only possible in the physical world, but you can make it a part of your online marketing campaigns as well. Most PT clinics share content about the latest technological advancements in the medical industry, tell about their services, discounts, high quality professionals that work there, etc.
What you can do though, is share content that will show how empathetic you feel about your patients and the people in general. Sharing stories how your PTs (and the rest of the staff) soothed and cared for a patient and how it resulted in a positive outcome of treatment is a tremendous opportunity to grow your client base.
Empathy triggers the emotional side of people and makes them relate to each patient’s case, feel for the person and, naturally, consider your PT clinic a great one that truly cares for their patients.
It’s important to understand that it’s not just about treatment, low prices or faster service: it’s about being able to form a real relationship with patients on a very human level. The world has become very fast passed and it seems that nobody has time for anything anymore.
When visiting a PT clinic, patients are most vulnerable and need emotional care as much as they need their physical condition to be fixed. Giving them that small bit of care that they desperately need is the hidden success key for your PT clinic, both in the online and offline world.
At PatientSites, we understand the importance of empathy and help PT clinics create educational content for patients, which can be an important step in showing empathy. Here is how we do it.
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