Speaking of Men
At the Institute of Podiatric Excellence and Development (IPED), we want to help our members elevate their practice and improve both patient outcomes and patient satisfaction. June is Men’s Health Month and a good jumping off point for a discussion about communicating with different demographics of patients—specifically, men. There’s no doubt that there are definitive differences in the way men and women see things and communicate. Achieving greater patient compliance with treatment plans improves outcomes. Below are some issues to think about when it comes to best serving male patients.
Marketing to Men
Research shows that men are less proactive than women when it comes to healthcare and also more apt to break appointments. Men need to recognize that putting off getting foot pain evaluated can result in being sidelined from the active life they love. Consider marketing to men in places where men hang out. Put informational materials about foot care and disorders in area gyms and sports shoe stores. Consider teaming up with a local 5K race or with a men’s civic organization to give a presentation about foot health issues that can affect runners or others with a shared common interest.
Talk the Talk
While it’s a generalization, most men are interested in immediate action and are results oriented. When discussing treatment plans, be direct, and focus on the specifics of what needs to be done to achieve healing and relief from pain and discomfort. If long-term action is required (i.e., wearing a custom orthotic in shoes or completing a full course of physical therapy for an ankle sprain), spell out the consequence to not doing so. Studies have shown that for men, once goals are perceived as being reached, they move on. They are more likely, for example, to stop taking antibiotics once they feel better, rather than completing the full course.
Of course, even within the sexes, each patient is unique, and as a good practitioner, you need to learn to read your patients and adapt your message to best reach the patient in front of you. At IPED, we offer members many opportunities to share and exchange ideas with colleagues at various stages of their careers, from new practitioners to veteran physicians on patient care and practice management. To learn more, contact our Executive Director, Ruth Ann Donahue by calling: 978-296-7634.
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