When you start off in your journey as a registered dietitian or even along the way, when you feel stuck and in need of a refresh, strengthening your relationships with your patients is essential. Understanding them and knowing them will help you help them better. Hopefully this makes sense to you, because to support this effort, we came up with a little checklist on what you could and should do to earn your patients’ trust and really connect with them. It basically involves staying up to date and being passionate about your job and the people who ask for your help.

Make it About the Person

Personalized experiences never go out of style. Nothing makes people feel more comfortable in a doctor’s office than a friendly conversation and a professional who remembers and addresses their issues specifically. When you have many patients, it might be difficult to keep track of everyone in an organized manner. You need to have everything planned out and a clear inventory of your patients, preferably on your laptop or PC. This way, it will take only a few seconds to review their progress and medical record. You can use a desktop app to keep medical records for your patients and provide them with regular copies that will help them observe their own journey towards a healthy body, keep them motivated and list their meal plans. Treating your patients with respect, care and attention is what makes professionals great and creates strong reputations.

Embrace tech

Don’t steer away from technology. Screenings and elementary checkups via smartphone or tablet are starting to become a thing in the U.S. Psychologists’ doing sessions via Skype or apps that help people monitor certain chronic conditions are a thing of the present and despite the possible errors that can come up whenever dealing with new technologies, mobile health care is becoming a trend. Don’t ignore the trend and try to incorporate technology in your practice. Use your smartphone to stay in touch with patients and use apps to help organize your work better and offer your patients valuable information. You can even find a desktop app for registered dietitians that can instantly generate data regarding your patients’ progress and general condition. Especially when dealing with younger patients, you can easily win them over with tech-savvy consultations.

Ask for Feedback. It’s Essential

Ask for feedback via online surveys. As part of the digital revolution, online tools can help you improve your work and get previous data that will make your practice unique and modern. Use online surveys to get valuable, regular feedback from patients and use the results to improve and expand your services. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for feedback face to face, even though we all know that a PC/tablet/phone screen makes us feel more confident and makes it easier for us to express an honest opinion. Don’t make the surveys too long and keep them relevant. Nobody really has time to answer tons of questions on the web, but with a little motivation, it just might work. Offer a discount, a free session or a recipe book that helps with their meal plan to those that help you with your survey. Be open and see these tools as investments in your development and your practice’s development.

Customer Service is Key

Improve “customer service”. Though RDs don’t really implement customer service per se, you can still learn from companies that do. You can always make sure you listen to your patients, are open and give rewards to those who show consistency in their treatment or nutrition program. Make sure you answer their questions and requests. Also, social media interaction is a plus. While it can be a fuss, communicating via social media pages is fast and, many times, efficient. Create accounts on social media websites and use online marketing to promote your practice and the healthy lifestyle that you preach.

Make Use of Big Data

Use big data and research to find out as much as possible about your patients and their problems. In a world where access to information is so much facilitated, make sure you get the most out of this. Whether we are talking about public institutions, nonprofits or even private companies, there are numerous studies on healthcare and various health issues. Find what is most relevant for your field of activity and use the results to improve your practice and your relationship with your patients. Try to access research that reveals the most common reasons why people step inside the RD’s office, what are their most common issues connected to diet and nutrition, and what their expectations are. It should set the context and help you understand your patients even better. Focus on recent and relevant research.

You can add to our list by sharing your own tips and strategies for promoting your private practice in the comments section below.

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