One of the most interesting parts of the work of healthcare providers and healthcare communicators is that they have the chance to interact with different types of patients. This helps healthcare communicators to practice and improve their specialty. But at the same time, this requires healthcare communicators to be flexible when working with different patients.
So, why do we need to categorize our patients? This article will provide more insights into how many types of patients are and how to work with each type.
Why do we need to categorize patients?
Different patients have different behaviors and ways of acquiring knowledge. Therefore, we need to sort out patients to
- Provide the best support and care: Some patients do not know about the disease they are suffering from. However, some patients actively study their health problems before seeking help from physicians. For each type of patient, healthcare providers and healthcare communicators will adjust their support and treatment plan so that the support will be suitable and enough for their patients.
- Find out the best way to communicate and educate patients: Patients will acquire and understand knowledge differently due to the gap in knowledge and awareness. Some patients may not understand any healthcare information at all. Hence, understanding different types of patients helps us to have the best way to communicate and educate our patients.
4 types of patients we need to care about
The self-diagnoser (The researcher)
This type of patient will actively search for symptoms whenever they have health problems. They will take the time to look up information about the disease on the internet, the latest treatments, and maybe the medicine they need to take. This type of patient expects to participate in decisions, often due to feeling that their research has empowered them in the decision-making process.
- What you need to do: Educate them about the reality of misinformation spread on the internet and to look for trusted health information from Healthcare organizations. And as they want to participate in the decision-making process, let them do it. Once they feel engaged, trust will be created between both sides. Healthcare communicators will find it easier to educate those patients.
These patients are always looking for a second opinion. They may come to their appointment with medical knowledge after a little online research. However, this patient may not accept any of your explanations or advice, and they may even question your diagnosis. One of the reasons for this is that such patients often rely on their own opinions after learning of a diagnosis or treatment options.
- What you need to do: Understanding is the most important thing that builds up the relationship here. You need to let patients know that you understand their problem and are willing to walk through the hardship with them. And once again, educate them to look for trusted information since what they have searched for may be false.
The passive independent
The passive patient prefers to leave all aspects of healthcare decisions in the hands of their medical professional. This type of patient feels that their physicians know the best option for them. They will mostly rely on their physicians.
- What you need to do: This kind of patient may not need to be educated as they let their physicians do everything. However, fundamental knowledge on how to prevent disease or how they can do daily care needs to be transferred to them.
The open-minded “explorer”
These patients see diagnosis and treatment as bridges to connect doctors and their patients. They tend to explore more healthcare knowledge, and they view healthcare and medicine as an art more than a science.
- What you need to do: In addition to the support and care during the treatment and education process, healthcare communicators can provide them with post-treatment tips, maybe some extra information and knowledge about other healthcare issues. This is an excellent way to keep a relationship with patients.
The last word
Different types of patients will think and act differently. Therefore, healthcare communicators must understand their patients and categorize them into classes. You will know the best way to support and communicate with your patients with clear classification.