Bedside manner is a vital attribute for fostering patient relationships. However, as the walls of healthcare have come down, the traditional physical spaces that patients and clinicians intersect have been redefined. Patients are now surrounded by technology offering them access to health and wellness solutions at their fingertips. The growth of the telemedicine industry has led to a greater demand on a providers’ “webside” manner: their style of offering support and comfort to a patient remotely.
Webside manner is no more, or less, difficult or important than bedside manner – it just requires a different skillset. It is as important as bedside manner in securing open communication between patients and healthcare professionals in order to secure positive health outcomes.
While developing a webside manner may be difficult at the start, it can lead to impressive healthcare results, as David Steinhorn, MD told Wired, “My experience is that, once you get past some initial hurdles, you can maintain an intimate, immediate connection with patients that in some cases may be more therapeutically useful than even in-person interactions.”
Here are some thoughts and techniques to keep in mind to improve a webside approach:
A patient’s perception of care and experience matters. Being able to communicate to patients in an honest manner is a necessity, whether it’s face-to-face or online. Paying attention to webside manner with as much diligence as bedside manner is the key. The tools are here; it’s imperative they be put to use effectively.