The challenges a physician must deal with are not simply limited to the proper diagnosis, treatment and care of patients. Add to that the stresses of managing a practice; HR, billing, operations, marketing…and it is understandable that important responsibilities that impact overall patient care can suffer.
Unfortunately, even the most skilled physicians are not necessarily good communicators. Add to that poor healthcare literacy from patients and a full waiting room and physicians can be pushed to the brink.
Recognizing this opportunity led former medical device executive Darik Volpa to start Understand.com in 2003. “Education is an important part of the patient experience. If this is done well the end result will be a more satisfied patient. Our approach is effective, saves doctors’ time and allows patients to be educated from the privacy and comfort of their own home. This is the proverbial “better mousetrap”, says Volpa, founder and CEO of Understand.
Understand uses 3D computer animations to explain hundreds of complex diseases, conditions and procedures. The information is provided in a visual, non-scary way that lets patients interact with the content. This is done directly from the doctor’s website, further giving the patient the confidence that the information is accurate. “We work hand-in-hand with board certified physicians during the development process to ensure accuracy. This co-development combined with meticulous research ensures quality content” said Volpa. Understand has also partnered with several medical organizations including the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), Skin Cancer Foundation, American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM) and the National Psoriasis Foundation.
“I refer all my patients to my website before a consultation so they can have a better understanding of the procedure and ask better questions when I see them in the office. It has become an integral part of my practice and patients love it”, says Scott Wrye, MD.
In addition to improving patient education, the animated libraries can also play a key role in differentiating a physician’s practice. “Plastic surgery is the most competitive specialty in medicine. Having a website that has engaging content helps your practice and website stick out from other practices”, said Wes Hall, MD.
This data is confirmed by a recent study conducted by Yahoo indicating that 84% of patients research a physician and the procedure online prior to choosing a physician. “The expectation of patients is that physicians will have a website that lists their credentials and information on procedures. It is becoming as common place as a business card, especially in elective surgery”, says Volpa.